New rules to stop SMS marketing scammers

Topic: Industry News

In June, a new code will come into effect that will serve to protect mobile users from mobile premiums SMS scammers. In an attempt to avoid SMS marketing scams, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have announced that a new code will come into force from the 1st of June this year. The new version of the Mobile Premium Services Industry Code, which reveals a number of measures to prevent SMS scams, has been developed by the Communications Alliance. This new rule will be mandatory and will replace the current code that was established on the 1st of June 2009. Originally, the code was created following the high level of customer complaints about mobile premium services. The implementation of the code in 2009 helped to reduce the mobile users’ complaints by 90%.ACMA said that the current modification of the rule will introduce a requirement for mobile carriers to monitor and report to the ACMA on content providers’ compliance with the code. In addition, it will also make the prices, terms and conditions of these services clearer to mobile users.

Key changes to the current Australian code:

  •  Firstly, mobile providers of reverse charge services will need to give users details of call costs, terms and conditions before charging.
  •  Likewise, service providers will be asked to let users know all the information about the cost of service close to the number used to request a service in an advertisement.
  •  Additionally, the new code will require subscription service providers to use the terms ‘subscription’ or ‘subscribe’ in sign-up messages, as well as to inform customers of the ongoing nature of these services and related charges.

The aim of ACMA with these modifications is to improve the current code and make it more effective. Mobile providers failing to obey these requirements will be persecuted and face Federal Court penalties of up to AUD $250,000.Since the use of SMS is gaining importance as a communication platform within the world of business, it is hoped that this new code will benefit both, customers and companies legally developing SMS marketing.

29/12/2020 Edit: Please note this was written in 2012 and the information above may not still be correct. Please review the ACMA website for up-to-date information.

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Liz Wilson