How to manage telesales calls & great news: robocalls will be outlawed from July

21 May 2021 - 15:44 By wendy knowler
You can’t object if you get a call from someone selling insurance, day or night, as they are not bound by any laws on that score. But that only applies to the first call. Stock photo.
You can’t object if you get a call from someone selling insurance, day or night, as they are not bound by any laws on that score. But that only applies to the first call. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Cathy Yeulet

Insurance companies were the worst offenders when it comes to making unsolicited calls in SA in 2020, according to call screening app Truecaller — and no other country in the global top 20 has as many unsolicited calls from the insurance industry as South Africans.

Consumers get particularly irate when those calls come early in the morning or well into the evening. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) only allows marketing calls to be made from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

David of Durban, who has an account with Markham’s part of The Foschini Group (TFG) — but has not spent on it in a while, was very unhappy about being called on successive evenings this week by a TFG telemarketer trying to sell him an insurance product on his account.

Due to a clerical error on our side, his request to be opted out of telemarketing was not recorded correctly.
TFG

The second call was made at 8.45pm and after he’d told them not to call again just the night before.

When I took up the case with TFG, quoting the CPA telesales call time limits, I was reminded that the CPA does not apply to insurance sales.

The company said David had opted in to receive telemarketing calls, and that’s why he was contacted on May 18.

“Regrettably, due to a clerical error on our side, his request to be opted out of telemarketing was not recorded correctly, and as a result he was called again on [the following night] regarding our optional insurance products.

“This is an error that we profusely apologise for. The actions of the representative in question are being investigated.

“Despite the fact that the Consumer Protection Act does not apply to insurance marketing, we always consider customer convenience before contacting our customers, which is a standard required by the applicable insurance legislation.

“We have found that many customers prefer calls outside working hours, where they are not interrupted during their work day and we don’t phone after 9pm.

“We are always open to customer feedback and are currently reassessing the times of our calls to be most convenient to our customers — that is what is of utmost importance to us.”

So you can’t object if you get a call from someone selling insurance, day or night they are not bound by any laws on that score.

But that only applies to the first call. If you tell them not to call you ever again, legally, they can’t.

Good news for those who hate answering a call to a recorded marketing message: robocalls will be outlawed from July this year, thanks to the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.

But there will be no such outright ban on marketing calls, which aren’t electronic.

CONTACT WENDY: E-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za; Twitter: @wendyknowler; Facebook: wendyknowlerconsumer


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