Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cell-C Marketing Fiasco

Spam alert: I got my second unsolicited marketing call from someone claiming to work for Cell-C today. The caller line ID shows a Durban number, 031-333-6700. I explained that I have already put my number on their "Do Not Call" list and the agent asked me to hold and then hung up.
When I called the number back I was told that the number belongs to Elite Mobile, a large Vodacom supplier, and they assured me they have nothing to do with Cell-C. They did, however, explain that there is a Cell-C office in the same building, but couldn't explain how or why the call would show with their number.
The lady at Elite Mobile who took my call seemed to know a lot about Cell-C using a database of randomly generated numbers, however. Presumably she had had to deal with complaints before.
I contacted the Cell-C Media Relations manager, Vinnie Santu on 011-324-4919 and explained that the call violates the ECT Act because I have already informed the previous Cell-C agent to put my number on their "Do Not Call" list. My guess is that the agent had no idea what I was talking about and so exposed Cell-C to the legal risk they now face.
Either Cell-C is putting a false number on their caller ID, or Elite Mobile is partnering with them, or it is going to get a nasty shock when their phone bill arrives. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on a company that my brother used to rave about and is now completely fed up with.
It took a bit of research and dead ends to get through to the person in Cell-C Head Office who handles direct marketing. I kept getting referred to the Cell-C Service Provider, which is not what I wanted. Later "Marlow" from the Cell-C head office phoned to say that Cell-C doesn't do any direct marketing and she would contact "Sue Kennedy" to sort this out. It seems that very few people in this voice-mail organisation have any idea about the ECT Act or what a "Do Not Call" list is. Surely they have contractual arrangements with the people who sell their products? It appears not. I guess an organisation this big simply has no idea what it is doing, other than losing customers.
Update: I got a lame apology to my HelloPeter complaint, but no particulars on who is legally responsible. Why am I not surprised?


Jane-Anne said...

Excellent sleuthing - well done. I am equally infuriated by MTN's willy-nilly handing-out of my cell phone number. I recently received a similar call from someone who claied to be an MTN 'affiliate'. When I asked her where she obtained my number she 'reassured' me that she had ONLY my number, and none of my personal details, because MTN 'only sell us the numbers, not the names'.

I am speechless at the temerity.

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

I also got a call from the same number, claiming to be an agent from Cell C telling me about some new Cell C product...

I was quite short... I had SPAM!

Thanks for the great blog!


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