Opt out register a hit

I’m doing some research on defamation cases against bloggers in light of the blogger Donn Edwards being sued by Quality Vacation Club for complaining about the lack of transparency in the company’s direct marketing efforts, and have found a great resource in the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa‘s ‘opt out’ register. According to the DMA, the service enables consumers ‘to have their details removed from mailing lists used by marketers to promote goods and services’.

I’ve complained consistently to companies who call or SMS me about where they get my details, so I really hope that this works. It’s really simple to do, just go to this link on the DMA’s website and add your details.

I know that the Electronic Commerce and Transactions Act enables people to send communications to individuals but that there must be an opportunity to opt-out of further communication. We really need to put pressure on companies to implement opt-out instructions on SMSs and emails because it seems that so many are not. I also found this great email to send to companies who send unsolicited mail on internet.org.za:

On [insert date here], I received the following message from you:

| Blah, blah, blah

Since this is a commercial message, and since I have not requested to
be placed on your mailing list, this message constitutes an unsolicited
communication in terms of section 45 of the Electronic Communications
and Transactions Act (Act 25 of 2002).

In terms of section 45(4) of this Act, this message serves as
notification that I do not wish to receive any further communications
from you. Failure to comply with this request constitutes a criminal
offence in terms of the ECT Act.

Additionally, I hereby request that you immediately disclose where you
obtained my contact details, as per section 45(1) of the ECT Act.
Failure to respond to this request also constitutes a criminal offence.

 [ Optional paragraph:
 I note that your original message did not provide me with an option to
 cancel my subscription to your mailing list, as required by section 45(1)
 of the Act. This means that you may already have committed an offence
 in terms of section 45(3) of the Act, and may be subject to prosecution.
 ]

Should you wish to familiarise yourself with the relevant legislation,
or check my facts, a copy of the ECT Act is available on-line via the
Government's web site: http://www.gov.za/gazette/acts/2002/a25-02.pdf.

Your co-operation in this matter will be appreciated,

2 thoughts on “Opt out register a hit

  1. I have long wanted to invoke the ECT Act, but can’t find out how to prosecute someone for breaking it. MTN, QVC, Experian and TransUnionITC would all be in jail by now …

    Any ideas how to activate the ECT act?

  2. ISOC SA actually has a Spammer Bounty Project – you can find more about it on their wiki, but basically here’s a couple of steps to follow:

    1. Report the incidence to the police (make sure that you have all the details including the email headers and an explanation of how the spammer has broken the law and be ready to make a clear statement). Keep in mind that the police officer that will take your statement will most probably have little idea of these laws and what spam is (do not be put off by this).

    2. Follow up and ensure that you obtain a case reference number (make sure that you get a contact number when you report the spammer) and a contact number for the detective assigned to the case.

    3. Contact the detective and ensure that the commercial branch and Cyber crime specilists are involved

    4. Continue communicating with the detectives to ensure the proscecution is completed

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