DMA warns against 'hysteria' - TechCentral

DMA warns against ‘hysteria’

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) of SA on Monday defended its ability to manage the national opt-out registry the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires after coming under extensive fire last week.

CEO Brian Mdluli says the organisation has been the “target of malicious attacks on its credibility with outside parties making claims in a bid to compromise the DMA’s good standing with the National Consumer Commission (NCC) ahead of a hotly contended tender process”.

Mdluli says the DMA exists to “protect the interests of consumers against unwanted and unsolicited direct marketing”, adding that the association has played an “important role in finding a balance between the interests of business and the right to market products and services that is both in line with the interests of consumer protection and to the satisfaction of the consumer commissioner”.

The DMA says it developed an opt-out registry five years ago, long before there was a legal requirement to do so. “This was done entirely at a cost to the association and its members and at no stage has the consumer ever had to pay for the use of the system – something that is highly unlikely to be achieved by any other party,” says Mdluli.

“It is a telling sign of the calibre of the people behind the attacks when, up until now when the vast amount of the work had to be done at our expense, that they are now such vocal proponents of consumer protection when there is the chance of a financial benefit for them doing so,” he says.

In terms of the DMA’s security — its systems have been breached in the past — Mdluli says the national do-not-contact (DNC) database is hosted securely on a dedicated server, and so “any attempts to breach our information website or network will in no way compromise the DNC registry”.

He says the DMA website is “purely a marketing tool which is entirely separate to the secure server for the DNC registry”.

“Any attempts to compromise the DMA’s website and claims of malware being found on the site have absolutely no bearing as the DNC system is securely managed and hosted off site.”

The DMA intends taking action against what it calls the “purveyors of these false claims and accusations that are based in wanton defamation”.

Mdluli says that those levelling criticism are doing so out of “self interest” and consumers and the media should exercise their discretion in separating “the hysteria from the facts”.

“We will not be drawn into this quagmire of slander as it does absolutely nothing to further the interests of consumers on such an important matter. We trust that the NCC will let the law run its course and do what is best for the SA public.”  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

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