Two years ago, after I moved out of my parents’ place and into digs, I started getting these text messages on my cell every month, warning me to pay my TV licence or legal action would be taken against me. Now, this would be fine if I wasn’t paying my TV licence but I didn’t even own a television and never had!
I was still a student, so between classes and my super-busy social schedule, I really didn’t care about the messages. Once I replied to say I didn’t own a TV and from then just deleted them. After a year, I suddenly got a new SMS: I was in arrears for R2 000 and would face criminal proceedings if I didn’t pay up. Hectic.
By now I had pretty much had enough and phoned the number. I struggled to convince the rep that I didn’t have a TV or a licence in my name but eventually she claimed she understood, apologised and promised that they would stop sending me these messages and clear my name and record.
So much for that. A week later I received another SMS, threatening me again. But, this time, my name was Mrs A Scott! Not sure when I got married or had a sex change... After a huge fight on the phone, I asked my dad to help me. Turns out that a debt collection firm had not captured their data correctly so, instead of targeting someone who really wasn’t paying their licence, they had been harassing me.
Ironically enough, I’m moving in with my girlfriend next month and, since we’re both movie junkies, we’ve decided to go halfies on a big screen... but she can have the licence in her name!