OUTA challenges ‘bullying’ debt collection for unpaid SABC TV licences

0

OUTA challenges ‘bullying’ debt collection for unpaid SABC TV licences

Kgaugelo Masweneng | 2017-01-25 13:35:05.0

Wayne Duvenage‚ OUTA’s chairman‚ said: “As Pritchard & Associates was not registered with the proper authorities‚ OUTA contends that the company misrepresented themselves‚ rendering all collections conducted by them in the past unlawful.”
File photo

Image by: Supplied

The lobby group campaigning against e-Tolls is now also fighting “threatening SMSs” being sent to South Africans to make people pay their TV licences.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) says it has laid charges at the Council for Debt Collectors of South Africa against Pritchard and Associates‚ the debt collection firm that is collecting TV license fees and debt on behalf of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The SABC‚ however‚ says it is not aware of complaints from customers regarding controversial messages received from debt collectors on TV licence debt.

“No one has complained to us about being harassed by debt collectors‚ they probably would not because they owe the entity. The SABC has given out a tender for the debt collection of TV licences and it does not get involved in who is sub-contracted for the mandate under their main debt collecting client. Our directive is to collect the money owed by customers. When people do not pay their TV licences they affect the corporation’s revenue negatively‚” said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

OUTA is questioning the status of the debt collection firm as well as their methods.

According to OUTA’s project manager‚ Julius Kleynhans‚ “We have received quite a number of complaints regarding the illegal threats posed by debt collectors towards SABC customers. An influx of complaints came around October 2016.” It provided a photo of a SMS that warns a customer they have been “handed over” and non-compliance will result in further action being taken‚ leading to a possible “adverse consumer listing”.

Kleynhans alleges that “Pritchard and Associates were not registered with the Council as debt collectors prior to 23 December 2016 and were operating as the SABC debt collection agency‚ despite registration being a legal requirement for all debt collectors.”

Wayne Duvenage‚ OUTA’s chairman‚ said: “As Pritchard & Associates was not registered with the proper authorities‚ OUTA contends that the company misrepresented themselves‚ rendering all collections conducted by them in the past unlawful.”

Duvenage added: “We will not stand back whilst those who abuse authority bully the public.”

He said if the Debt Council investigation found in favour of OUTA‚ the company could face fines of up to R100‚000 for any threatening SMS or email sent before the date of registration with the Council of Debt Collectors.

Kganyago criticised OUTA‚ saying that it is misleading in its reports about the SABC. “Unfortunately we refuse to take OUTA serious. They have misled the public about the SABC before‚” he charged.

“Realise that the people who run to the OUTA with complaints are the same people who owe the SABC‚ and will later complain about the quality of the content broadcasted. They run to these organisations to cause public mockery of the SABC.”

Pritchard & Associates could not be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.



rn rn

You might also like

Leave a comment