Americans may be used to telemarketing, but thanks to Telkom’s monopolistic pricing, it’s been simply uneconomical to do such things in South Africa. This has started to change… My friends don’t seem to get them, but over the last 2 months, I’ve received at least 6 automated phone calls.
They go something like this: Here’s a rough transcript the one I got at 20h46 today, from
+ (i.e. withheld caller ID):
etc… round and round we go…
I started getting the feeling that the poor salesman was rigidly sticking to a script…
Eventually, I got hung up on. And I didn’t manage to find out a single bit of information about these bastards. Maybe I should have pretended to buy…
So I phone Vodacom Customer care
111. And after working my way through the IVR menus (no there isn’t an option for abuse anywhere, you just have to keep hitting
0), I sat on hold for half an hour. After 20 minutes, a callback feature was advertised, if I pressed
# they’d call me back. I pressed
#, repeatedly, but nothing happened… Maybe the bad reception was interfering with the DTMF tone…
While I was sitting on hold, listening to horrific music emanating from my speaker phone, and browsing the web, I came across the WASPA code of conduct. It seemed interesting.
My reasoning is that the telemarketers must be using cell phone networks, or some other commercial gateway, because they could hide their number. AFAIK you can’t hide your number when calling from a Telkom line. That means that Vodacom could actually do something about this. The code of conduct states:
5. Commercial communications
5.1. Sending of commercial communications
5.1.1. All commercial messages must contain a valid originating number and/or the name or identifier of the message originator.
5.1.2. Any message originator must have a facility to allow the recipient to remove his or herself from the message originator’s database, so as not to receive any further messages from that message originator.
5.1.3. Where feasible, persons receiving commercial messages should be able to remove themselves from the database of a message originator using no more than two words, one of which must be ‘STOP’.
5.1.4. Any mechanism for allowing a recipient to remove him or herself from a database must not cost more than one rand.
5.1.5. Upon request of the recipient, the message originator must, within a reasonable period of time, identify the source from which the recipient’s personal information was obtained.
5.1.6. Commercial communications may not be timed to be delivered between 20:00 and 06:00, unless explicitly agreed to by the recipient, or unless delivery during this period forms part of the up-front description of the service.
Hmm. Quite a few violations…