POPIA Q&A: Dealing with Unsubscribes from Your Direct Marketing

ubscribes from one mailer, does that mean we have to opt them out for all the brands?

This will depend on how your consent and unsubscribe is worded. A granular consent and unsubscribe process ensures that contacts are more likely to stay for the content they like, rather than opting out of everything if there’s only parts of the content that they don’t want.

Can you opt everybody in by default and allow them to opt out per brand / product/ channel?

It will depend on the context, but generally, if you don’t already have a relationship with the person, you’re going to have to get them opt in first.

If you do have a relationship with them, it’ll depend on what consent they gave you, if you gave them the opportunity to unsubscribe, and if you’re still giving them the opportunity to unsubscribe. This is where a preference centre comes in handy as it enables the contact to be specific about the types of communication they want to receive from you.


What are the rules on opting out free of charge?

This comes from the Consumer Protection Act. You can’t charge for an opt-out from direct marketing and the process must be easy.

What about unsubscribe on email if they’re using their data to reply or respond to the email. On SMS, we give people the option to SMS to a short code to opt out which is free of charge. but if they reply to the marketing SMS, standard rates apply.

Data cost hasn’t been spoken about at the CPA. People usually only get into trouble if there’s an additional charge and for the costs of an SMS. It’s not impossible, but it’s rare.

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