Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The VVM TV License Scam and How to Defeat It

Recently I received SMS messages, phone calls and finally an email from "VVM Debt Collectors" in Randburg. They claim to be collecting money on behalf of the SABC TV License department. Well, it's illegal. Firstly, they are breaking the ECT Act by sending me unsolicited SMS and eMail messages, and by making unsolicited phone calls to my wife and myself. What they didn't know is that I had recently logged in to the TV License website to check my balance. I have recently paid my license now that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been fired.
When you sign in to the TV license website there is a link where you can give feedback on the "new payment site" which is dreadful because it doesn't show a statement or any info apart from the (incorrect) balance. So when I wrote to VVM I sent a copy of the email to these people.
Dear VVM
The matter of my TV license is between myself and the SABC. You have no right to interfere and you have violated the ECT act by sending me unsolicited messages without my permission.
Kindly cease and desist from further harassing my wife or myself.
Donn Edwards
I got an automated reply from VVM:
Due to us having to take instructions from our client, it could take up to 30 days for us to respond to your email. Please be guided accordingly.
I also got a reply from one of the people at the SABC, asking me if they could assist. I sent the following:
You can assist as follows:
  1. Remove my details from the VVM database.
  2. Instruct VVM not to contact me in future, since they are in violation of the ECT Act and other privacy legislation.
  3. Fix up the TV License website so I can see my statement online
  4. Send me a receipt for the money already paid.
  5. Transfer the arrears penalties to the account of Mr Hlaudi Motsoeng and the other corrupt (former) officials at the SABC.
  6. Offer an amnesty to other TV License holders who refused to subsidise the maladministration and theft that has taken place at the SABC. You know it’s the right thing to do.
Best wishes
Donn Edwards
They replied:
Dear Mr. Edwards,
We have already instructed our service provider (VVM) to stop contacting you as we are dealing with this matter internally.
You can use our correct website indicated [below].
I trust you will find the above in order.
TV Licence Division
T: 011 330 9494
F: 011 330 9560/1
At the beginning of October I paid the 2017 license (I had paid the 2016 license in June of 2017) but I refuse to pay the penalities and interest. In the reference number for the online payment I included the words "Full Final" and sent the "" email address the following:
Please find attached proof of full and final payment for the 2017 license.
I will not be paying the arrears penalties, since my taxes have been used to bail out the SABC. I suggest you contact Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the other corrupt officials at the SABC for further payments.
Kindly send me a receipt for both this and the previous payment.
Thanks in advance
Donn Edwards
I expected to hear nothing further, other than perhaps an automated reminder of the balance outstanding. I saved the receipts that arrived via SMS, in case I ever had to go to court. To my delight and surprise I received the following:
Good day,
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your TV licence payment.
Please be informed that we have reversed all the penalties on your TV licence account and your account is valid until 30 June 2018. Attached please find your TV licence statement.
Please also note that your renewal month is July annually and payments should be made before the end of July to avoid penalties being loaded onto your TV licence account.
So I guess I must thank Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng for creating such a cash crisis for the SABC that they are willing to be reasonable. I wish them well, and hope they eventually get a competent board. I haven't heard a peep from VVM, partly because I have blocked their numbers: 0877401213, 0110621972 and 0110623650. My ESET Android antivirus software enables me to block these numbers.