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The Wireless Application Service Providers Association (WASPA) has been quick to align its code of conduct to the new legislation that recently came into effect. The organisation’s Management Committee has now ratified Version 11.0 of the WASPA code of conduct, bringing it broadly in line with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). It has also been crafted to align to the overarching principles outlined in the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill.
WASPA’s aim has always been to represent the interests of both its members and the consumers who use members’ services and to protect against bad practices, says Head of the Code of Conduct Committee Russel Stromin. With this in mind, the latest version of the code of conduct will provide additional protection to consumers around issues such as direct marketing, advertising and promotions.
“For starters, the new code clearly spells out that members have to provide customers with the option to reply “STOP” or to provide an alternative opt-out procedure. This needs to be offered in all instances of direct marketing communications. Furthermore, should a customer make use of the stop facility, this will be considered to refer to all direct marketing communications from the message originator,” he says.
“The code also highlights that direct marketing messages may not be sent on Sundays or public holidays, nor on Saturdays before 9am or after 1pm, or between 8pm and 8am on all other days. Furthermore, should a customer send an unsubscribe request and the request cannot be acted on immediately, member is obliged to inform the customer via a notification such as one stating that ‘this may take up to 24 hours’, and such a request must be acted upon with two working days.”
Other changes to the new version of the code that Stromin says are pertinent include the fact that content that is promoted in marketing campaigns must be the same content that is delivered and that the total cost for any entry into a promotional competition cannot exceed R1.50.
“Another new aspect is that WASPA may now employ a Media Monitor, whose role it is to monitor members’ advertising and services for compliance with both the code of conduct and the advertising rules. The Media Monitor may lodge complaints with WASPA either through an informal or a formal complaints process or via a ‘Heads Up’ process. This is where the Media Monitor sends a notification of the problem directly to the relevant member; the member then has two working days to respond to the complaint.”
In closing, Stromin indicates that WASPA can sanction members who break the rules with penalties that range from hefty fines to suspension from the organisation. “The new code indicates that if a sanction specifies that a member be suspended from WASPA for a defined period, then the Secretariat must update the member’s status to reflect as ‘suspended’ on the WASPA Web site. In addition, they must notify the relevant network operators of the suspension and recommend the suspension of WASP services to that member for the period specified and also notify WASPA’s general membership of such a suspension.”
“It is WASPA’s goal to protect consumers to the best of its ability, which is why we regularly revisit the code of conduct and make changes such as those outlined above. By staying on top of changes in legislation and constantly adjusting our code in order to remain relevant to the industry, we are able to provide the levels of protection that give both customers and our members a real sense of security,” concludes Stromin.
A version of the code showing the changes from version 10.0 along with an annotated version are available for download via the code archive on the WASPA