TV owners see red as SABC gets heavy-handed
THE NATIONAL broadcaster is still not making friends as frustrated customers on its database continue to see red, claiming to be “hounded” by the SABC’s lawyers and debt collectors trying to reclaim alleged outstanding penalties.
Pensioner Barbara Figueiredo is among those who claims she is constantly harassed for what the SABC says is an outstanding amount of R981. Figueiredo moved to England two years ago to find work and says she’s had no joy cancelling her licence.
“I keep getting messages to pay via e-mail. I’ve told them I don’t have a TV and that I don’t live in South Africa, but no one will listen. They (collection companies) are like bulldogs, they never let go.”
The last straw was when the tenant who lives in her South African property informed her SABC inspectors had been knocking on her door.
According to the SABC, a television licence is not required when a person is no longer in possession of a TV set. If a licenced TV set has been sold or donated, particulars of the new owner must be logged with the SABC. If a TV is stolen, a police case number and details must also be given to the SABC.
The corporation says no licences are cancelled while fees are still outstanding on an account. A monthly 10 percent penalty fee is charged on outstanding amounts.
Trevor Hattingh, National Consumer Commission spokesman, said that between April last year and September this year it registered 13 complaints against the SABC relating to TV licence debt collection.
Complaints are either about a dispute over TV licence fees, or harassment from attorneys acting on behalf of the SABC.