Take on spammers, SA urged

2012-08-02 07:30

Cape Town - South Africans who are fed up with companies targeting them with spam SMSes should go on the offensive and use social networks to express dissatisfaction, an expert has said.

"There's quite a lot of recourse that consumers have today; the whole communications landscape has changed. Today, with social networking and with Twitter, every consumer can potentially broadcast their message to the entire world," managing director of Dr Pieter Streicher told News24.

He said that the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was not very effective in protecting consumers from spam

"The Consumer Protection Act came into effect in 2011 and it makes provision for people who receive unsolicited messages to opt out, but does not impose any liability on the sender of the marketing material."

The CPA was intended to provide for a mechanism to prevent companies from sending spam or unsolicited messages to consumers and protect identities, but the national consumer commission (NCC) has been dogged by problems.


An internal report submitted to the trade and industry ministry has raised numerous matters of concern pertaining to the conduct of the NCC.

The NCC is tasked with carrying out legal action on behalf of companies, but Streicher was sceptical about its ability to fulfil this mandate.

"The legislation is reasonably good, but when it comes to enforcement, there are many problems."

He said that companies had realised that they could get away with spam as a result of the dysfunction in the NCC.

"Unfortunately it seems that companies are realising that they can get away with anything and your ordinary consumer is going to suffer as a result," Streicher said.

He advised consumers to publically name and shame companies on platforms like Twitter or HelloPeter to get brands to change behaviour.

"My advice to consumers is that if brands behave in a way that they regard as unacceptable, to simply tweet about that. Consumers have a lot of power today because new communication tools allow them to tell everyone what is happening."

The Protection of Information Bill is designed to give the public greater protection of privacy but Streicher warned that moves were afoot to water down the intent of the proposed legislation.

"This legislation is very promising; unfortunately there are parties that are trying to water it down to change this legislation to an opt out basis as well. It's being done in very sneaky ways: The latest trick that they're trying is to change the definition of consent in the bill."

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  • john.halfpenny.395 - 2012-08-02 08:07

    Your tears feed my cause.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-02 14:53

      The "OPT OUT" must be charged to the company that sent it. Let them pay for pay for it, at present I have to pay to opt out when I did not request the sms. It may stop the spam

      heinrich.spreeth - 2012-08-02 15:05

      @fussed.anderson Dude i've OPT OUT so many times for that "are you blacklisted" sms thing it's crazy. They don't care anyway. I still get the sms's

  • lawson.lutchman - 2012-08-02 08:15

    Good luck with that, as long we have people in charge of systems , that care barely spell I.T, we will always be behind

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-02 14:54

      @ lawson.lutchman I see you must be doing some spam yourself then.

  • fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-08-02 08:30

    They just don't stop. I make a point of it not to buy anything from a company that spams.

  • carolyn.myburgh - 2012-08-02 08:39

    I recently changed my cell phone provider and I now receive sms messages all day every day from insurance to new contracts requests I never had that before so guess who gave my details out????

      richard.townleyjohnson - 2012-08-02 09:11

      Our beloved cell phone providers, how I wish you would go bankrupt.

      leanne.baatjies - 2012-08-02 09:36

      Add your name and details to the Direct Marketing Associaition of SA's 'National Opt Out Register'. It only stops companies who belong to the DMA from contacting you but that alone drastically reduces the number of unwanted calls and sms's.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-08-02 10:17

      Leanne, the "Opt Out Register" is another scam by the Direct Marketing Association and their members to collect your details. I created an email address especially to test them. I have never used this email address and never gave it to anyone. But as soon as I added it to the Opt Out Register, I started getting spam on it. The DMA cannot be trusted - they exist only to promote the interests of their members.

  • nick.parker.7186 - 2012-08-02 09:16

    Vodacom has a page for reporting SCAMS, why not SPAM? Opting out doesn't work and the spammers are getting very sneaky now, don't put in their company names, you have to reply for more details.

  • jaco.badenhorst.50 - 2012-08-02 09:18

    "managing director of Dr Pieter Streicher told News24." This is the man who makes money from sending spam...

  • isabellameyer - 2012-08-02 10:41

    Unsolicited spam can also be reported at All service providers have to adhere to their code of conduct. The DMASA also has a "Do not contact me" database that you can add your name to if you want. Consumers need to know their rights better. Unsolicited spam breaks the privacy and CPA. Waspa has to address concerns with the provider and if they spam you again, they can run the risk of being banned from the networks.

  • Hermann - 2012-08-02 11:14

    Just love the spam as it allows me to exercise the power of delete!!

  • stephan.wolhuter - 2012-08-02 19:35

    If anybody wants a better deal on home and car insurance, drop me a comment! Whaa haaa haaa haaa!

  • acl.mnatives.9 - 2012-08-03 08:36

    Mnatives Offers price send Bulk SMS to Oman, Afganistan & Bangladesh starting at 0.006 Euro for more details send email or skype - acl_int visit our website :

  • acl.mnatives.9 - 2012-08-03 08:37

    Mnatives Offers price send Bulk SMS to Oman, Afganistan & Bangladesh starting at 0.006 Euro for more details send email or skype - acl_int visit our website :

  • anthony.m.sheffield - 2012-12-04 10:24

    What really pees me off is that all these spammers glibly ask you to reply to opt out. As a pensioner, that means that all these replies cost money. It's bad enough getting your mail box filled with junk by the Post Office, but at least that you can throw on their floor for them to clean up, but it's about time that spamming by email was banned.

  • Tyrone Binder - 2013-06-27 15:06

    MTN. vodacom and CELLC are just as guilty as the companies sending the sms's this is an invasion of privacy. I deal with customers and other people via sms and sometimes i am studying and need my focus or even try having a nap and i get interrupted by this BS that companies keep sending me and its rather annoying. and sometimes i get 3 sms's within 2 minutes and its really pissing me off

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