Have you ever wondered how you could stop that direct marketer from making cold calls to offer you life insurance cover, (which you already have), or a cellphone contract for the latest iPhone (got that too!), or just from calling you at awkward times of the day?

The CPA and Cold Calls :

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) comes to the rescue by establishing an opt-out registry to enable consumers to remove their names from the list of direct marketers.

It defines 'direct marketing' as :

  • A form of either personal or electronic communication;
  • To promote any good/s or service/s,
  • Or requesting a consumer to make a donation of any kind for any reason.

Section 11 of the Act

Section 11 of the Act made a promise of the establishment of an opt-out registry that will enable consumers to protect themselves 'against any communication, (i.e. Cold Calls), that is primarily for the purpose of direct marketing', by the Consumer Commission.

This comes on the backdrop of consumers' right to privacy and a right to protect themselves against direct marketing.

In the same breath, consumers must be aware of what they are signing.

  • Have you consented to Company A to inform you of their new services?
  • May they distribute your contact details to other subsidiary companies to whom they are linked?

It further states that no person may charge a consumer a fee for enforcing the above-mentioned rights or registering with the opt-out registry.

Section 12 of the Act

Then, Section 12 on the other hand regulates the specific times consumer's may be contacted for purposes of direct marketing. These times are prescribed by the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette. As it stands, direct marketers cannot contact consumers at home on Sundays and public holidays. Or on Saturdays before 9am and after 1, and on weekdays between 8pm and 8am the following morning.

How to get onto the Registry

Unfortunately, the Consumer Commission has so far failed to establish this registry and the Direct Marketing Association of Southern Africa (DMASA) is your next best option.

And thankfully, the process is simple:

  1. Go to http://www.nationaloptout.co.za, after reading the information on page, click 'Register to opt-out'.
  2. You fill in your details and after submitting these details;
  3. You receive a email with a link to click to automatically register your details on the opt-out database.

Should you wish to remove your details from this database you may call 0861 362 362.

If you are still contacted after registering, you may lay a complaint with the National Consumer Commission on 012 428 7000 or complaints@thencc.org.za.

Originally published May 2nd, 2017

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.