We have all received the unwanted unknown caller phone calls and answered it thinking “what if it is an emergency of a family member etc.” only to be pestered by the unwanted direct marketing calls. These days, one can install an application on your mobile, to identify spam and/or marketing calls, but it seems that the marketing companies have multiple numbers from which they phone and all of them have not been blocked on these applications.
There are a few things that you should know as a Consumer with regards to direct marketing.
What Is Direct Marketing?
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) defines direct marketing as:
To approach a person, either in person or by mail or electronic communication, for the direct or indirect purpose of –
- Promoting or offering to supply, in the ordinary course of business, any goods or services to the person; or
- Requesting the person to make a donation of any kind for any reason.
The Right To Privacy
The CPA makes provision that a consumer may refuse to accept direct marketing, or to require a person to discontinue marketing and to pre-emptively block any attempt at direct marketing.
It is, furthermore, not allowed for a direct marketer to charge a fee to cease the direct marketing and they should confirm in writing that they actually received your request to cease contacting them for the purpose of marketing.
When May You Be Contacted?
Unless express consent is given no one may contact a consumer on:
- Sundays or public holidays (as contemplated in the Public Holidays Act 36 of 1994).
- Saturdays before 9 am and after 13 pm.
- All other days between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am the following day.
Future of Marketing
The National Consumer Commission (NCC) may establish a registry on which a consumer could register to ensure that they may not be contacted for certain and/or any direct marketing purposes.
This would place an obligation on any company who does direct marketing to ensure that they do not contact anybody on the registry. Time will tell when or if this registry will be implemented but there is certainly a high demand for it.
Cooling Off Period
If a direct marketer convinced you to enter into an agreement and you have buyers remorse do not despair, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Section 16 of the CPA determines that there is a cooling off period of 5 days (after receiving the goods) in which a consumer has the right to cancel the agreement without penalty, return the goods (on your own cost) and receive a full refund on any amounts paid.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Christensen is a SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI Legal Advisor since February 2016. She obtained her BComm Law and LLB degrees from the University of Stellenbosch.