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Does POPI mean the end of Telemarketing?
04 October 2021  | Marié Combrink

A lot of us couldn’t wait for the POPI act to finally come into operation as we thought it was the end of endless telemarketing phone calls.  Unfortunately there are always exceptions and unfortunately this means the answer to the question is no….  You can still be contacted by telemarketers.

The act clearly states that no direct marketing messages may be received via e-mail or electronic communication but telephone calls are not referred to. 

You would have noted that you received a whole lot of e-mail correspondence for instance insurance companies, medical aid funds or even businesses you previously had transactions with in the past.  The main message in these messages was that you were informed that these businesses comply with the POPI act as far as when it comes to your personal information and the safe keeping thereof.  The ending of the messages gave you an option to opt-out and click on a link if you no longer wish to receive further correspondence from the sender in future.

Although the main focus of the POPI act was mainly to give consumers the option to rather “opt-in” to receive marketing information, most of the messages focused on the option to rather not receive any further information or correspondence. 

Direct marketing can be sent to any-one classified as a client / customer of the business.  Unfortunately the definition of client is so broad that this does not solve the problem regarding endless e-mails, but you do have a full right to request to terminate all communication with you at any time. 

Let’s however look at some rules that you can make use of regarding telemarketing and that can hopefully be of some use and if all else fails, install true caller:

  1. POPI ensure that you are not to receive automated or so called “cold calls” anymore
  2. Telemarketers are not allowed to call you more than once.For now to avoid it you can register at the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa's opt-out registry.Companies that are members of the association will no longer be allowed to contact you. It won’t block all direct marketing, but could reduce the number of calls, sms's or emails you receive.
  3. Specific days and times of days have been prescribed.No promotional calls may be made during the prohibited periods :Sundays and public holidays;Saturdays only between 9h00 and 13h00 allowed and all other no calls are allowed after 20h00 or before 8h00. Again except if the customer / client agreed otherwise or gave permission.