Why are SMSes and mobile advertising not recognised, by law, as harassment and infringement on your privacy?
It is a pity that we don’t have laws against companies sending *unsolicited bulk SMS’s to private mobile phones in this country. In a case that reached the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, plaintiffs agreed to pay $175 to each spam recipient.
If you have a close relative – who is knocking on Death’s door in hospital – receiving an SMS in the middle of the night, bodes no good.
Lately, both my wife and I have been on the receiving end of Pick n Pay’s SMS’s from Hell. Three to four times daily we get SMS’s advertising their “specials.” Half lamb, potatoes, oranges, cheese, jam Swiss rolls, and “many more in store specials.”
Some of the SMS text adverts get sent at night; making me think my relative in hospital has passed on. What makes the idiots at Pick n Pay think that anyone would be interested in the price of their bloody bulk chicken, at two o’clock at night?
I sent various emails to Pick n Pay to complain about receiving spam for them. Within hours, they replied with the usual robotic line: “Thank you for your comments. We value your support and appreciate your input.”
Three people from Pick n Pay then phoned in succession to say how sorry they were about the whole matter. They promised to delete me from their records and would never bother me again. One individual, sounding as if he was just about to commit suicide on my behalf, even promised to add a bribe of 1 000 points to my **smut shoppas cut. (1 000 points = R10. Yippee, I’m rich!)
The manager of the store then phoned to say that the problem was with their advertisers. These guys apparently worked on a “fire and forget” system. Once Pick n Pay has given them your number – similar to a Mafia contract – you are doomed to SMS Hell. “Sorry, not our fault,” was her final remark.
Then, another lady, who said she worked for Pick n Pay (but sounded as if she was in the escort business) phoned to find out if the problem was solved and whether there was anything (anything?) else that she could do for me. (Sorry, babe, I’m married.)
And on that note, last week, we parted company. Everything forgiven and forgotten.
Until last night. Then, like the final minutes of a cheap Hollywood thriller, the Horror started again. Last night I received another SMS from Hell.
Comparable to a scene from the movie “Poltergeist,” I woke my wife and screamed, “They’re here! Castle Lager, Coo-ee, and that bloody bulky chicken again! I’m losing it! Help me!!!”
*unsolicited – from the ancient Greek, meaning: “to make someone the moer in”
**smut shoppers cut – smart shoppers card