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Consumer Commission Calls for Comment on Opt-Out Registry

July 14, 2011

National Consumer Commission

The national consumer commission (NCC) has published a notice in the Government Gazette calling for comment on a report on an expression of interest to operate an opt-out registry.

The expression of interest is published in terms of section 11(3) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2008.

It was sent out earlier this year requesting a response from potential service providers to run the registry.

The notice indicates that the direct marketing association is being considered as a preferred service provider to operate a registry “in which any person may register a pre-emptive block against any communication that is intended for the purposes of direct marketing of goods or services”.

Written comment is invited until 29 July 2011.

Direct marketing is defined as advertising in which messages are sent directly to consumers and where consumers are invited to take specific action in response.

The notice explains that the NCC is in the process of identifying a service provider that can operate an opt-out register.

The act mandates the NCC to set up a registry in which consumers can register to prevent unwanted marketing material from being sent to them.

The registry is expected to be “reasonable” and must be able to receive, compile and utilise direct marketing information.

The registry also has to be available to all consumers in South Africa.

According to the NCC, three entities had responded to its expression of interest in terms of the registry.

The three entities are:

• Direct Marketing Association of South Africa
• Stephen Logan Attorneys
• Delloitte Consulting

The regulations to the act set out how the relationship between the NCC and the administrator of the registry is to be maintained.

The administrator will only receive a payment from the NCC for running the registry. It may not benefit financially in any other way from the running of the registry.

The NCC and the trade and industry department will also have full access to the registry at any time.

The administrator also has to put adequate controls and oversight mechanisms in place.