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In the fight against spam, TrustFabric, South Africa’s first independently run direct marketing opt-out list is getting traction, having now grown to 305 000 users.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) gives South Africans the right to block direct marketing by adding their contact details to an opt-out list, but an official national opt-out list is yet to be appointed.
The free TrustFabric service, launched in 2011, hopes to become the official national opt-out list, which would see direct marketing companies become legally bound to check if a number is on the list before they are allowed to phone or SMS citizens.
“Most people are frustrated with rising levels of spam. Especially unwanted phone calls and SMS messages which are very intrusive and a big waste of productive time. It’s sad that the National Consumer Commission (NCC) has not made any progress in helping citizens enforce their right to privacy. We hope the DTI and the NCC will give serious attention to this matter as soon as new leadership takes over at the NCC in September,” says Botha.
TrustFabric also operates a Child Protect service which offers marketing companies a way to avoid sending adult content like alcohol and tobacco marketing to minors. This service works in a similar way to the opt-out service, but simply checks if a mobile number belongs to a user over 18 years old.
“Ethical marketing companies which want to respect people’s right to privacy and want to exclude minors from their marketing can filter out about 4 million numbers using the current TrustFabric database,” says Botha.