The "Do Not Contact Me" Database
As all and any South African will tell you, we have a real problem in this country with phone pest marketers. No company is willing to admit to where it is that they actually got these numbers, other than to blame it on the mysterious National Consumer Database. It's true, I consume right up there with the best of them but I have never once agreed (to my knowledge) to be pelted with such a volume of telesales calls, or any at all for that matter.
Now, I realize that it is not a big deal to simply tell the poor sap on the other side of the phone doing their low-paying job that I'm not interested. In a parallel universe where I am a better, purer being I'm sure that this is what I do. However, the biggest offender so far has been Vodacom, and reasons that belong in a post of their own this company strips straight through any amount of composure and patience I have.
Most recently I had a cold call from Virgin Mobile, offering me a Special Deal! for new customers.
Me: But I am already your customer.
Her: *silence*..... Oh, o-raait.
Me: Why are you phoning me? Where did you get this number?
Her: It comes from the National Consumer Database.
Me: I want to be taken off this list. I never signed up for it
Her: You can't come off the list. There's no hope. Perhaps you should change your phone number.
I have had this same phone number for a long, long time. I'm coming up for my 11th year, and I'm not about to change my number so that these fools stop trying to sign me up for new phone contracts. The irony sickens me.
Refusing to believe that this was indeed a hopeless situation, I googled it and as it turns out, there IS hope! I found this discussion forum. Sweet, sweet music to my eyes.
The Direct Marketing Association of South Africa has arranged a service for you to bulk opt-out from all of it. There are many companies who are members, some big ones being Vodacom, Cell C, Edgars and Absa.
Dubious? I was too. One has to fill out registration form brimming with the personal information that you are trying to hide. Also, the form is hosted on a different domain, and not secured (https). They have a phone number so I called to figure out whether they seemed legit or not, and they do.
The dude I spoke to seemed professional, and he did not try to coerce me into filling anything in. He said that it takes 4-6 weeks before companies pick up the updated circulated list. If after signing up for that Do Not Contact service one of the member companies still spams you, you lodge a complaint with the DMA and they take matters up with the company.
I've now filled it in and am hoping for the best. Still a little cynical - this does sound too good to be true. If I now start getting an unholy amount of spam I will let you all know.
And probably change my phone number.