Waspa SMS blocker tool

In a time of increasing scams and cyber-criminal activity, consumers want to know who sent them that tantalising offer by SMS. Now, thanks to WASPA’s Codes Project, they can.

Everyone who owns a cell phone has likely received unwanted messages advertising products that they do not want or need. Or alternatively, one offering something that they do require, but no way of determining whether the sender is reputable or not.

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has played a key role in regulating the provision of mobile applications and services in South Africa for almost two decades. Now, thanks to its new Codes Project, consumers have access to a platform that enables them to identify the owner of a short, long or USSD code.

According to Ilonka Badenhorst, Managing Executive at WASPA, unsolicited direct marketing messages may create frustration for the recipient, especially if they are unable to identify the originator of the message. Consumers can now visit the WASPA Codes Platform – smscode.waspa.org.za – and enter the number to obtain more information on the sender of the marketing message.

“This will make it easy to identify where the SMS came from, although of course, the platform will only contain information about service providers that are registered with WASPA. If the sender is identified, consumers will have the additional peace of mind knowing that they are communicating with a reputable player that is bound by the WASPA Code of Conduct,” she explains.

“If the company that sent the SMS is registered with WASPA, their contact details will be provided, allowing the consumer to contact them directly to obtain more information on the originator of the message, to request to be removed from the database or to lodge a complaint.”

The Codes Project is an extension of WASPA’s Do Not Contact (DNC) initiative, explains Badenhorst, which is a list that consumers can add their number to, in order to avoid unsolicited SMS advertising. Designed with consumers’ protection in mind, WASPA members engaged in direct SMS marketing campaigns are required to check the DNC list on a weekly basis.

She adds that in a situation where the organisation sending the messages fails to comply, the consumer can then contact WASPA directly, as the organisation has a well-established complaints process. 

“It is worth noting that the Consumer Protection Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act contain specific provisions regulating direct marketing, and that WASPA’s Code incorporates all of the requirements of these laws. Moreover, this Code is binding on members of WASPA and any companies sending messages via a WASPA member.”

“This means that consumers that make use of the DNC and Codes facilities can rest assured that WASPA’s members – and their clients – can only send marketing messages to them if they are already a customer or have specific permission to do so, as well as being easily identifiable as the sender,” she concludes.

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