Waspa tightens mobile regulations in South Africa

Digital Content

Mobile content service providers will now be required to explicitly notify customers once their service bill exceeds its limit.

The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (Waspa) has amended its code of conduct to improve its consumer protection measures and tighten the consumer notification standards of its 147 members.

Neil Hutchinson, vice-chairman of Waspa, explains this consumer protection strategy was necessitated by recent trends, saying: “We were finding that people were finding large debits against their accounts at the end of each month – their billing was exceedingly higher than what they thought it was. We came to a conclusion that consumers need to be told about the status of their bill and asked if they would like to continue with the service.”

Waspa has made amendments to the value of account thresholds and reminder messaging for customers. Service providers are now required to notify customers who have joined a service when their billing exceeds R300. The customer will also have to confirm whether they would like to continue with the service or not.

Michael Hainebach, chairman of the code of conduct at Waspa, warns that contravention will be punished. “Service providers will be fined significant amounts or face shutdown if they fail to adhere to these measures.”

A second change introduced by Waspa refers to the reminder messaging system which service providers are required to use to notify customers. “We were finding that some service providers were getting very liberal with their messaging, so we have tightened the requirements to make sure the customer always knows how much they are getting billed and what their current bill is,” explains Hainebach.

He notes that Waspa is continually improving customer protection measures as consumers are exposed to new technologies. “New products always lead to problems as there are always things customers don't understand. By continually improving rules, we will be ensuring there will always be good customer experience.”