Sanral’s “threatening” etolls payment SMS not a surprise

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Sanral is back to its old revenue-collecting ways again, with reports of SMSes allegedly being sent to Gauteng motorists reminding them to pay their bills, and the possibility of legal action should they fail to do so.

Outa – the Organisation Uniting against Tax Abuse, formerly known as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance – today released a statement saying three-part SMSes were sent containing the following:

  • Listing user’s current outstanding e-toll balance.
  • An indication of the discount they will receive if they settle now, during the 60% discount period.
  • A message of intimidation which says “Failure to settle outstanding e-Tolls will result in a loss of this discount, vehicle listing, and collection action being commenced against you for the full amount due.

Though it may be seen as intimidation, it’s a strategy the agency has used before to send out warnings. It’s used email, letters and even roadblocks in recent years.

Outa has reassured the public that the SMSes are no cause for concern as sending them is illegal.

“When enquiring with the Sanral call centre about what exactly “vehicle listing” and “collection action” means, we received no clear indication from three different staff members,” Wayne Duvenage, OUTA Chairperson said in a statement.

“This is clearly an intimidation tactic but what’s more, the fact that Sanral are sending questionable unsolicited messages to people, without an “opt-out” option from receiving further intimidation messages, could be deemed unlawful.  There is no qualification within these messages that this debt belongs to a specific person or vehicle registration number,” he added.

The alliance said its legal team is investigating the possibility that Sanral or its agents might be transgressing section 45 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act by sending not including the option to opt out in the SMSes or being able to confirm where they got motorists’ personal details.

[Source and image – Outa]

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