The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA) reports that it currently investigates an average of 500 potential contraventions of its Code of Conduct monthly, which is a significant reduction from July's peak of over 600 contraventions.
In line with the industry's commitment to protecting the interests of consumers, WASPA even created an independent Media Monitor to proactively watch over a multimillion rand industry that provides mobile applications and content to both corporate customers and individual consumers.
Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA, comments: "One of WASPA's most important roles is ensuring that WASPs treat consumers with the respect that they deserve. For that reason, one of the most important services we offer our members and the public is a public complaints mechanism managed by persons trusted by both WASPs and the public. The complaints process is transparent and all adjudications are published on the WASPA web site."
All South African WASPs and their information providers subscribe to the WASPA Code of Conduct, enforced through their WASP agreements with the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), which outlines in detail how the organisation's members should conduct themselves in their interactions with the public.
It covers issues such as spam (unsolicited commercial communications), subscription services, advertising and pricing, competitions, complaint resolution and adult services. The Code of Conduct outlines a complaints procedure for members of the public who believe that a member of WASPA is violating the Code.
In most cases, WASPA is able to resolve complaints to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Informal complaints comprise 90% of the complaints WASPA deals with and these are usually resolved in 48 hours. Formal complaints requiring an adjudication process comprise just 10% of the complaints handled by WASPA.
Perlman says that an increase in WASPA's national profile and its success in protecting consumers had put some pressure on WASPA's resources, with the result that average time for resolution climbed to just over 60 days in August, compared to the target of 30 days. By September, WASPA managed to get the resolution time down to 42 days.
The procedure to follow if one has a complaint about a WASP's conduct is as follows:
* Go to http://www.waspa.org.za/code/complaint.shtml;
* Fill in the complaint form and follow the instructions;
* Submit the complaint form after giving as much information as you can, including the full text of the message that offended you. The more information you provide, the more likely it is that WASPA will be able to assist you;
* WASPA will forward a copy of your complaint to the service provider. If the matter cannot be resolved with the service provider, an independent adjudicator, a lawyer, will make a finding;
* If the service provider is found in breach of the code, the adjudicator can issue a reprimand, fine or suspension and can order compensation to be paid.