It's one of the biggest lies we tell when signing on the dotted line for a new service - 'Yes, I have read the terms and conditions.'
But failure to read the small print could result in you signing up for more than you bargained for.
Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler highlights a common scam in South Africa in which unscrupulous fraudsters are targetting SMEs by pretending to be Telkom’s directory service.
An outfit calling itself our Client White Business Pages Pty Ltd or White Pages Business Listings gets their hands on phone directories and phones companies with bold listings, saying “We just want to confirm your details for the telephone directory for 2019 to 2020” and please can they have an email address.— Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
The scammers then follow up with an email asking for confirmation of the company details, adding to the impression that it’s a confirmation of the business’ listing details in the phone book.
Knowler says it's our reluctance to read the small print that allows the scammers to include onerous clauses in the terms and conditions.
The small print, the very small print says “I am aware that this is a twelve/twenty-four-month contract (total value of contract, Eight Thousand Three Hundred and forty rand -R8340.00 Only. Delayed payments will incur penalty fees after 30 days and will be handed over for collection…’— Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
If you don’t pay, then comes the email from the “debt collectors”.— Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
And Wendy's advice for those who've been lured into such a scam?
Ignore those “pay up” calls and emails. Just disengage. Do nothing unless you get a summons with a court stamp and date. And I don’t know of a single case where judgment has been sought or companies “blacklisted” for non-payment.— Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
If you have received one of those demands from a “debt collector”, lodge a formal complaint with the Council for Debt Collectors. Go to www.cfdc.org.za for details.
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Why you should ALWAYS read the Ts and Cs - #ConsumerTalk