TelOne completes writing off $79m debts

TelOne completes writing off $79m debts
Published: 03 December 2013
FIXED telecommunications operator Tel-One has completed writing off more than $79 million from about $276 million that it is owed by its customers.

In October, the parastatal said it would embark on a debt relief package deducting $257,82 from every account giving a total of more than $63 million subscriber's debt.

In addition, it also said it would write off $16 million for rentals accrued on all lines that had been disconnected for non-payment or were not working.

Some of the company's subscribers told Business Chronicle on Saturday that their debts to TelOne had already been reduced by $257. "We really appreciate what TelOne has done. Before paying for my telephone bill for November, I owed $624,74 and after paying $40 today on (Saturday), the account reflects that my debt now stands at $327,74," said one of the subscribers Mrs Nomvelo Dube in an interview at the TelOne main office in Bulawayo.

The telecommunications firm has an estimated number of 330 000 registered lines while 93 112 client accounts have outstanding bills.

A subscriber who preferred not to be named said they appreciated efforts by TelOne although their billing system was questionable.

"We appreciate that they have reduced the amount that they say people owe them. But we also query the figures that they say we owe them; some of the figures are outrageous. For example, in my case I have been regularly paying for my account but I was surprised to be told I owe them about $940," said the subscriber.

Another subscriber, Mr Peter Marimo, said before paying his telephone bill for November, he owed $764,82.

"I have just paid $20 for my November telephone bill and it is indicating in my account that I presently owe TelOne $487. In October, I checked with the company and I was told my bill was $764,82. I am really excited that TelOne has honoured what we read in the paper few months ago," he said.

A cashier at TelOne main office in Bulawayo said they started writing off debts for subscribers last week.

"We have reduced every debt by $257 on all those accounts that were not disconnected. The exercise was not being done in phases," said the cashier.

Contacted for comment TelOne spokesperson Ms Rosemary Sande confirmed the development.

"It is true that we have implemented the debt relief package and the exercise cut across the board," she said.

Recently, a majority of landline users have said it was unfair for the parastatal to expect them to pay bills because they were "dubious."

There has been an outcry from landline subscribers who accused TelOne of inflating bills at the time of the changeover from local currency to a multi-currency system in February 2009.

The parastatal has argued that the bills were not inflated threatening to take legal action against subscribers who resist paying the debts.
- chronicle
Tags: TelOne,


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