Cell C: Slam banner matter 'closed'

Johannesburg - Mobile network Cell C says the matter regarding a controversial banner slamming its services is now closed.

Cell C earlier this month lost an urgent court interdict against businessman George Prokas to take down a banner that described the mobile network as the “most useless service provider in SA”. The banner, which has appeared on Johannesburg's Beyers Naude Drive, cost over R61 000.

Subsequently, Cell C last week told Fin24 that the company was in discussion with Prokas’ attorney regarding settling a disputed unpaid amount of R5 754.

Prokas said he found out earlier this year that he was listed as a slow payer on the TransUnion Credit Bureau because of the unpaid amount. Cell C moved last week to remove Prokas’ status as a slow payer on the credit bureau in a move that it described as "good faith". But the mobile operator told Fin24 on Friday that if Prokas did not pay the "outstanding usage fees", it would then move to re-list him as a slow payer again.

Prokas, though, told Fin24 on Monday that he paid an amount of R1 270 relating to usage on the Cell C SIM card that was linked to the dispute. However, Prokas also said that he refused to pay the phone repair cost, which he claimed made up the rest of his phone bill's balance.

Neither Cell C nor Prokas, though, have provided Fin24 with the detailed phone account.

“Cell C can confirm that the outstanding amount for usage was paid in full and we regard the matter as closed,” the company’s senior communications person Karin Fourie told Fin24 on Monday.

Prokas’ attorney, Raymond Druker, told Fin24 at the time of writing that he had not received communication from Cell C confirming that the matter is closed.

But he said that Cell C's latest statement is a victory for consumers.

“It's a pity that it took a such a big ‘to-do’ to get to this,” Druker told Fin24.

“They (Cell C) tried to hold a gun to his head by listing him on a credit bureau,” Druker added.

Druker told Fin24 that he plans talking to his client Prokas further regarding Cell C's statement on Monday.

'Banner stays up'

In the meantime, Prokas - reacting to the Cell C announcement on Monday - told Fin24 that the banner will remain where it is on the wall of the WorldWear Mall in Johannesburg.

This is despite a statement from the City of Joburg last week that said the banner is illegal because neither Prokas nor the WorldWear Mall applied to have it put up.

“My billboard stays,” Prokas told Fin24.

“I stand by my views that I still think that Cell C is wrong,” Prokas said.

Prokas further told Fin24 that he sympathises with consumers who can’t afford to fight the battle he did.

“What happens to a consumer who couldn't fight it like I did,” Prokas said.

“That's the million dollar question. Do you succumb to the blackmail?” he added.

* Follow @GarethvanZyl on Twitter. For more tech news, follow Fin24tech @Fin24_Tech.

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