I continue to get a steady stream of emails from the owners of medical practices and small businesses across the country who were duped into signing a two-year contract for a listing in an obscure online business directory‚ believing they were being asked to confirm or update their existing listings in the white and yellow pages which are run by Telkom’s directory partner‚ Trudon.
The latest crop includes a jeweller in Brits‚ a Port Elizabeth guesthouse and a towing company in Mpumalanga. And now they’re getting harassed by a debt collecting firm to pay up‚ and while the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the approach which the company calling itself Directories Services 2 makes to businesses is totally misleading‚ business owners are terrified of being blacklisted.
The amounts being demanded are not small - R7‚200 upfront for a R300 per month contract over 24 months‚ inflated by interest if not paid.
I have established that the debt collections agencies used - DDR Legal Collections‚ and more recently‚ NCR Legal Debt Collections - are owned by the same person who own the “not Trudon” directory listings operation - Ashwin Dwarika.
The one department tricks small business owners into committing to a two-year contract‚ and the other then badgers them to pay.