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POPI and Telemarketing

A recent article in Times Live contained some interesting views on the impact of the Protection of Personal Information Act, once it comes into effect.

Telemarketing expert and CEO of the Marketing Association of SA, Lovemore Mushayanyama, said companies that relied on telemarketing would be stifled by the new law and would incur costs in order to comply with it.

“Consumers, on the other hand, are going to benefit from this as their privacy will be protected.

“If companies comply with the law it will benefit them because consumers will be more receptive to calls as they have given their consent to be contacted,” Mushayanyama said.

“If the consumer believes their information is being processed in contravention of the act or that their right to privacy is being unlawfully infringed by an organisation, they could submit a complaint to the information regulator,” said Nikki Pennel of the Corporate and Competition Law Advisory Practice at KPMG.

Economist Mike Shussler said that, as much as telemarketing was annoying to consumers, it played a significant role in the economy as sectors such as insurance and time-share holidaying relied on it.

“Telemarketing stimulates the economy and creates jobs. Once the Protection of Personal Information Act is effective … these sectors will be affected and jobs might be lost. The telemarketing industry employs young people who are in their first or second job and if jobs are cut it might affect the number of young unemployed South Africans,” said Shussler.

We recently came across a comprehensive update on the current state of POPI on the Michalsons website. The following comment sums it up nicely:

The majority of POPI (especially the sections that create compliance requirements) will only commence on a later date to be proclaimed by the President. The sections that have commenced are not of great significance. The wheels have started to turn, but not much has changed.

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