This week, Sanral launched a new tactic of intimidation by sending SMS messages to motorists with outstanding e-toll bills. These messages were split into three parts:-
- 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-Toll will result in a loss of this discount, vehicle listing, and collection action being commenced against you for the full amount due”.
“When enquiring with the Sanral call center about what exactly “vehicle listing” and “collection action” means, we received no clear indication from three different staff members,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s Chairperson. “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.
OUTA’s legal team is investigating the possibility that Sanral or their agents might be transgressing section 45 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act by sending unsolicited communications to persons without giving them the option to opt out or being able to confirm where they obtained their personal details.
“ As per the act, ‘communicating with persons in this manner could be a criminal offence with a fine or prison sentence of up to 12 months’,” says Duvenage
OUTA have informed their members to not be intimidated by these SMSs, as members enjoy protection under OUTA’s e-Toll Defence UMBRELLA, should Sanral issue summons against them for the non-payment of e-Tolls. To become a member of OUTA, click here.