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Here's how to stop dodgy subscription services from depleting your airtime

29 July 2020 6:44 PM

Unwanted charges on your cell bill? Struggling to unsubscribe from rogue content services that you never signed up for? Here's what you can do.

Many South African cellphone users have complained about losing airtime and falling victim to hidden charges for unknown subscription services.

Wireless application service providers (Wasp) subscriptions often bill users for content without their consent or knowledge.

Wasp subscriptions offer subscriptions to ringtones, games, and other content ranging from porn to sport.

The subscriptions either deplete pre-paid airtime and data or land up as “content” charges on the cellphone bills of contract holders, explains consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

They’ve stung millions of cellphone users with rogue subscriptions to games, videos; even porn.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

RELATED: Unsolicited mobile subscriptions chowing your money? Here's what to do

It's been reported that rogue Wasps secretly subscribe thousands of cellphone users to their content subscription services every month.

Mobile operators supply these Wasps with the ability to bill subscribers’ accounts for services, and this access is allegedly exploited to bill subscribers without their consent.

Here's how to opt-out of these dodgy subscriptions:

Information courtesy of the Wireless Application Services Providers Association (Waspa).

The Wireless Application Services Providers Association (Waspa) says all Wasps are required to provide a double opt-in process for consumers to confirm that have voluntarily subscribed.

The association's operating manager, Ilonka Badenhorst, has advised consumers to report unauthorised subscriptions to Waspa. Click here to lodge a complaint.

Visit the Waspa website here for more information and advice.

We've got very strict rules that are set out in our code of conduct that basically creates the landscape in which our members have to operate when they provide these services.

Ilonka Badenhorst, Operations Manager - Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA)

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler dives into the issue of WASPs and mentions two case studies involving MTN in the audio below.

Listen to the in-depth discussion during this week's ConsumerTalk feature:

Every Wednesday, on Lunch with Pippa Hudson, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email:, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.

29 July 2020 6:44 PM

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