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Myntra using transaction pipe for promotional SMS

Flipkart owned e-commerce company Myntra appears to be getting rather desperate when it comes to pushing promotions over SMS: Just over the past couple of days, as a DND customer, I’ve received seven promotional messages over a transaction pipe from Myntra, and eleven since they began. Transactional messages (which have a header like LM-MYNTRA) are meant to be sent by companies to their customers following the completion of a transaction, and are typically related to ticketing, bookings or purchases, or a users account status. In some instances, where consumers choose to opt-in, customers can get messages for a period of six months, as long as the telemarketer can prove opt-in.

Screenshot_2014-09-11-19-42-36

Note that some Myntra messages that I received also do provide an opt-out option, but and there is no way they prove that I opted in for these messages: I last purchased something from Myntra in 2012, and messages can only be sent for a period of six months, even if you take a the purchase of a product as an opt-in. 

Two messages were received on 10th of September, two on 11th, three on 24th and four on 25th. So, 11 promotional SMS spam messages over a transaction pipe. This means the telemarketer being used by Myntra, if regulations are followed, should be banned. Note that we had informed Myntra about this after the first few messages (on September 11th), but it appears they’ve decided to continue with spamming. We haven’t received a written response from them yet.

Complaints had been filed with my telecom operator (Airtel) in each instance, in any case. This is a situation similar to July last year, when we’d written about Jabong, Myntra and Yebhi spamming, again, using the transaction pipe for spam.

Telecom operators have become ridiculously slack in addressing SMS spam complaints: In my case, a conversation I had with an Airtel customer case executive a months or so ago revealed that hardly any of the last eight complaints (then) I had filed had been acted upon:

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Screenshot_2014-09-26-06-51-30

– Some were not deemed to be spam by Airtel because they didn’t appear promotional in nature to them
– In some cases, they hadn’t heard back from the originating telecom operator, so no action had been taken. In some cases, the originating telco was Loop mobile, which Airtel is acquiring.
– One complaint was against a number that had sent a promotion for Hike, a company with the same promoter group as Airtel, and it’s funny how an Airtel customer case executive went to great lengths to explain how Hike promotion works. Do they do this for every spammer? No.
– In some cases, Airtel has responded saying that no action was taken because the reported promotional call/SMS was found in the records of the other operator.

In case of Myntra, the telemarketer should be banned, given the nature and number of complaints.

Given that Airtel is being particularly slack when it comes to enforcing SMS spam complaints, though, to be fair, in a few instances, they have disconnected telemarketers, I think it’s also time we filed an RTI with TRAI to get data on SMS spam, and also get them to explain policy gaps in enforcement. Maybe it’s time that marketers that buy SMS for spamming are also held accountable.

Also, please feel free to post screenshots in the comments, in case e-commerce players are spamming using the transaction pipe. Also, in case you need to file complaints, India Against Spam is a really simple app to use.

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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