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Standard Bank Spam: The Unusual Suspects

Standard Bank seems likely to come under fire in the near future for an interesting interpretation of data privacy laws.


In a recent email sent to what looks like the entire Internet Banking customer base, Louis Blom, head of online banking at Standard Bank says, “We are obliged to send this email to you as an Internet banking user, even if you have unsubscribed to our emails…”

Reading between the lines, we started wondering if it really meant… it’s more cost effective to break the law than it is to handle all the telephone calls we’re getting! Louis. We understand people are “concerned” when an SMS doesn’t arrive and your customers are unable to use certain Internet banking functions. But, hell man…

Every digital marketer worth his salt HAS to be wondering what damage this might do to the Standard Bank brand. They’re invading a personal medium. Picture the customer segment who have expressly gone through the process of opting out… and then been summarily ignored. How loyal do you think they’re feeling right now?

Should the blog community let Standard Bank get away with something like this? At Cowboys, we’re definitely keeping an eye on those spam filters to see which of the unusual suspects are slipping through.

In the mean time, we’re going to try and track down Louis Blom and his team for their side of the story… watch this space!

Comments

  1. UPDATE: We've sent a mail to Louis Blom, head of Online Banking, asking for his comment on the blog. Brett managed to figure out Standard Bank's naming convention :) (ah, thank goodness for IT protocols).

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  2. I also got that mail. Disrespectful and, yes, damaging to the brand. Looking forward to seeing how Lois responds.

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  3. Ahh yes - the subject of a several-month run-in I've had with Standard. Eventually Louis Blom to phone me, and instructed him in terms of the ECT Act to stop sending me the emails.

    Got another one. Threatened them again. Eventually got to speak to someone in the Email Division (or whatever) and explained that these spams are /not/ the same as a confirmation email (which are, arguably, solicited) and that the ECT Act does NOT give Standard the latitude to decide whether or not to comply with a client's instruction to "stop sending these spam emails".

    So far it seems to be holding... Next one I receive /will/ result in a charge being laid at my local SAPS Community Centre.

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  4. Having had a chance to think a bit more about this (and as I see the story start to spread) - I wonder if they might hide behind a FICA / financial / security law. Perhaps we have conflicting laws in this country - one which prevents you from invading personal media without permission, and others which force communications through?

    Even so... SURELY the way to do that would be to announce it, in big bold writing at the front of email - apologise for contravening the opt-out and explain clearly why this is necessary.

    And even THEN... it's a bit of slippery slope, isn't it? It's like precedent... If this gets through, then what else is deemed "important" enough to get through the privacy laws. Like that vehicle deal I REALLY think you need to see :)

    UPDATE: Also sent a mail to the marketing team. No word as yet. Brett and I will chase further.

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  5. also received that e-mail - will stay tuned for the outcome of your investigation. thanks guys

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  6. UPDATE: Standard Bank gave out Louis Blom's cell number like it was the gold price. We've decided to be the bigger people and track him down through proper channels. Hopefully a post tomorrow. (Thanks to Biz-Community for showing interest in the post - we'll be writing an article for them soon).

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  7. UPDATE: Proper channels proving difficult. A copy of the email that just went. I'm a little tired of getting transferred around Standard Bank and then hung up on by telephone machines.

    ---

    Hi Louis…

    We’ve tried really hard to reach Standard Bank for comment on this article published:

    http://cowboysengines.blogspot.com/2006/11/standard-bank-spam-unusual-suspects.html

    Biz-Community has asked us to turn this into a column – which we’ll do shortly. I really would like to hear the bank’s side of the story. But after 2 emails, being transferred around SBank and hung up on twice by machines – I’m beginning to doubt my chances!

    Would really appreciate a response before the Biz-Community article and follow up post goes to “print”.

    Regards,
    Andy

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  8. The fact they acknowledge that they are sending it to people who have unsubscribed is disturbing for me as a Standard Bank customer, firstly it means they do not in actual fact have respect for peoples privacy and secondly that they still have the data of people who have unsubscribed.

    It is also clear that they have no channels in place to handle comments from the online community, in fact it does not even look like they have online reputation monitoring practices in place, one only has to look at cases such as SAA and Telkom to see that organisations can not ignore this medium any more.

    Standard Bank do not send out their e-mails, this is handled by a service provider, who should actualy have advised them on coorect course of action.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. Having had a chance to think a bit more about this (and as I see the story start to spread) - I wonder if they might hide behind a FICA / financial / security law. Perhaps we have conflicting laws in this country - one which prevents you from invading personal media without permission, and others which force communications through?
    agree with Andy Hadfield

    USA Banks Directory

    ReplyDelete
  11. "So far it seems to be holding... Next one I receive /will/ result in a charge being laid at my local SAPS Community Centre."

    I understand that this type of thing is a pain in the ass, but don't you think the SAPS has bigger fish to fry, like trying to catch real criminals? The country has enough problems without wasting time with petty issues such as this.

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  12. is it legal to write this kind of mail ? and to send to user who already unsubscribed to it

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  13. i truthfully enjoy your own writing kind, very remarkable,
    don’t give up as well as keep writing due to the fact that it simply just worth to follow it. looking forward to see a whole lot more of your current well written articles, enjoy your day
    London Chartered Accountants

    ReplyDelete

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