by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African cellular consumers have been alerted to the dangers of engaging in mobile-based communications with non- members of the country’s Wireless Application Service Providers Association (WASPA).
Financial loss is the major risk.
WASPA warns that using contract or prepaid mobile devices to transact with a mobile content or applications provider that is not one of WASPA’s over 400 local and overseas-based members is tantamount to engaging in unprotected mobile communications.
Many WASPA members are overseas-based mobile firms who are attracted to the growing South Africa market.
“Mobile consumers have very limited recourse in dealing with non-WASPA members based locally or abroad,” says WASPA General Manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.
Badenhorst says if consumers are based locally, approaching the Direct Marketing Association or the National Consumer Commission are two remedies available to consumers when dealing with non-WASPA content and applications firms.
Consumers can also approach their local mobile network operator for relief although this might not be practical where an overseas SMS gateway is being used to spam consumers who have no way of identifying the sender.
WASPA requires consumers to explicitly opt-in and opt-out of any mobile communication transmitted by its members.
This is in line with South Africa’s Consumer Protection Act and the Electronic Communications and Transaction Act.
WASPA’s Code of Conduct is vigorously enforced and has been revised several times since 2014.
“WASPA’s world-leading Code of Conduct sets the standard for responsible self-regulation and is regularly fine-tuned to better protect the mobile consumer,” says Badenhorst.