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Sending Promotional Messages to Users Without Their Consent to Attract Penalty in Tanzania

It is now an offense to send a person a text message of a commercial nature without their consent in Tanzania. Sending SMSs containing advertisements or commercial services will attract a penalty of a fine of not less that Tsh10 million (About Kshs 480,000) or jail for one year or both. This is according to the Electronic Transactions Act of 2015 Tanzania.

Tanzania has put more stringent measures on its SMS services since last year’s general election which saw the current President, John Magufuli, emerge as the winner.

Promotional and Betting SMSs are common in Tanzania, just like in Kenya. However, Vodacom, Airtel Tanzania and Tigo, the country’s mobile service providers, will now have to reign in on the delivery of such messages which many citizens have complained to be a nuisance given their bulk nature.

Read: Communications Authority Wants To Bar Operators From Sending Promotional Messages After 7pm

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) released the Consumer Protection Guidelines 2010 for Public Comments and review in October, 2020.

The draft rules seek to protect consumers from exploitation by operators. According to the proposed regulations, companies should send promotional texts to your phone strictly between 7am and 7pm with your consent.

“No service provider shall employ any opt-out process in the delivery of marketing communications in Kenya. The following approach shall be used in seeking consent to subscribe any consumer into any SMS-based marketing scheme” the document states.

It has become commonplace for marketing institutions to bombard subscribers with promotional messages late into the night.

Read also: Data Usage Grows by 5.1 percent During Pandemic

The draft guidelines recommends that all service providers set up a “Do Not SMS, Do Not Call Register, Do Not Spam and Do Not Disturb” option in their systems.

They have also been asked to desist from delivering any spam or telemarketing calls from itself or third parties to any number in the register.

“Put in place a mechanism and procedures by which means Content Service Providers identified by its customers can be prevented from spamming the customers that object to receiving calls or SMS from those providers.” the draft reads.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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