E-tag conditions are illegal, unfair

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etolling feb 6 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The SA National Roads Agency Limited remained silent on Monday on questions about the terms and conditions for motorists registering for e-tolling. Photo: Mujahid Safodien

The terms and conditions motorists have to sign when registering for an e-tag to use Gauteng’s toll roads are illegal and unfair – not in line with the Consumer Protection Act.

Today The Star can bring its readers a full response to the terms and conditions written by the Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala.

This follows a dismissal by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) of a story published in The Star two weeks ago. Sanral said the story was “emotive journalism which not only lacks substance but fails to provide any reasons for the allegations made”.

We asked the Consumer Commissioner for a full analysis of the terms and conditions, which Mohlala said were “excessively one sided in favour of the supplier, and as such are not in line with the spirit of the act”.

The Star reported that it was unfair that the e-tag conditions stated: “The user hereby irrevocably authorises the Agency (Sanral) or its duly authorised agent to obtain from any institution where the user may have an account, or from any credit bureau, any information concerning the user. This clause constitutes consent and an instruction to each such institution to disclose such information to the Agency or its agent”.

Sanral’s response:

Nowhere in the conditions does it indicate that Sanral would obtain more information than it otherwise needed. The information required may differ from person to person and accordingly the reason for the provisions of the clause. As to whether Sanral obtained more information than may be permitted is a factual issue which can be addressed at the relevant time. Such clause would not allow Sanral to transgress the requirements of legislation and Sanral would not seek to do so. Sanral and the institutions or credit bureaux from whom the information may be obtained are all subject to the laws of our country.

Commissioner’s response:

It is a gross violation of a consumer’s right to privacy if a service provider is allowed unrestricted access to a consumer’s accounts without any limit. There should be some restriction to the kind of information that a service provider may have access to as long as it relates to the nature of the account or to the core business. To be granted access to information beyond the nature of business amounts to abuse and is against the spirit of the legislation.

The Star reported if an e-tag account is not in credit it can be suspended or red-flagged without notice to the user.

Commissioner’s response:

It would be unfair to the consumer to have their accounts suspended or red-flagged without giving them notice and an opportunity to top up the account. The act promotes consumer rights to information; it requires suppliers of goods and services to always disclose information to allow consumers to make informed decisions. It is not enough that there are facilities where consumers can check their balances; it is the supplier’s responsibility to inform consumers about the status of their account before any action is taken. Suspension or red-flagging an account should be the last resort after the account holder has been notified about consequences in the event of failure to comply.

This point appears to also contradict Sanral’s response that road users without an e-tag must pay their tolls within seven days.

Sanral’s response:

A user who elects not to register has the responsibility to go to a customer service centre, after use of the toll road (but is granted a grace period of seven days within which to do so), and make payment of their toll charges. Users should not wait for a notice to be posted to them.

The Star reported that Sanral may change the terms and conditions and the user must be bound to the changes.

Commissioner’s response:

Terms that require consumers to waive their right are unfair and unreasonable and against the spirit of the act. To expect consumers to be bound by future terms and conditions is unfair and unjust and defeats the purpose of the act, which is to protect consumers against unfair business practices.

Under these terms and conditions consumers are left at the mercy of the supplier who can change conditions at any time; they have no recourse as they have committed to these terms. - The Star



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Anonymous, wrote

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12:32pm on 10 February 2012
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@Sir Nyathi: If they link the vehicle registration system to eToll accounts, we will not renew our discs and they will have no money to sustain the metro police for long. We will have to resort to organising to park out cars on the highways and people will not go to work. That will be the begining of trouble in SA.

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Doubting Thomas, wrote

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07:56am on 9 February 2012
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200 000 already registered ... I wonder how true this figure is - as SANRAL appears to have lied frequently about the entire e-Toll system to date...What exactly can we believe????

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:42am on 9 February 2012
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Taxis are exempt

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:40am on 9 February 2012
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@val. Why dont you leave?

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val, wrote

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05:28am on 9 February 2012
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Brasco. We ARE living in another african dictatorship. NOT a Constitutional democracy. And no, you will never vote the ANC out of power. They will make sure of that.

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Ruan, wrote

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09:25pm on 8 February 2012
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I laugh at the stupid cows who has bought into this whole scam. I call you a cow because you willingly let the government milk you even more.

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suck it, wrote

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08:51pm on 8 February 2012
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Simple....don't buy an e-tag. Don't pay their illegal charges and don't respond to their rubbish notices to pay for something we already pay for!!!!!!

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eyes wide shut, wrote

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04:48pm on 8 February 2012
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200 000 registered vehicles for e-tag... Well, well, well. Lets see how stupid they think we are. 200 000 would equate to all Provincial Government fleet management vehicles, all City of Joburg fleet management vehicles, Eskom will be on board as they are a State utility as well, National Government Ministerial vehicles, all of my neighbour's taxis, all SAPS fleet management vehicles and so my friends the list goes on...

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TOKYO3991, wrote

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03:43pm on 8 February 2012
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SANRAL = ANC CRIMINAL SCUM!

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Anonymous, wrote

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03:42pm on 8 February 2012
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Hahaha......the united people of Mzansi! the gov. has gone to far this time, the more they F-up the united we get. Well you can't use the name of the Lord in vein expect things to run smoothley! ANC (titanic) is sinking can't wait for elections.......viva

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Anonymous, wrote

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03:07pm on 8 February 2012
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Ummmmm just stop yourself and your cadres from stealing evgery cent you can, this will sort out everything, you shouldnt be need to told this, idiot Zuma. I dont want to see his fat, greedy face on tv.

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:58pm on 8 February 2012
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getting rich very fast

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:47pm on 8 February 2012
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People need to be prepared for SANRAL to allow our roads to fall apart and sabotage highways. They are SCUM and dont care about the economy or the people only their own back pockets! Wether we dont pay now or when they increase fees by 100% like eskom thewy will sabotage our roads and blame lack of funding but we need to stand up and say no! WE will not bow dowen to some greedy monkeys who cant manage their own budgets.

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:43pm on 8 February 2012
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When corruptions stops and we are assured that these guys arent pocketing this money then maybe. But the way it was introduced screams corruption and fraud in the establishment of the toll system. Then there will be increase after increase, they wont fix the roads and say if you dont pay more we wont fix the roads and the public will be held to ransom once again, mark my words. We need to stop this now!! say no to SANRAL, say no to public blackmail by the ANC. We as South Africans have had enough of your corruption and theft of our beautiful countries riches, minerals and people. WE wont stand for this, you will simply steal the toll money and not do anything for the roads. The ANC has proven itself to be inept, corrupt and dishonest. They have proven that they have no idea how to budget or manage finances, this includes of lovely finance minister. When something is done about corruption then try ask for a new tax but not when you stealing the billions we pay in tax on a monthly basis.

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rob, wrote

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02:31pm on 8 February 2012
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The only way around this is for all motorists to use taxis, i know i know, we have nice cars and fancy aircon's, and don't want to die; but hey if anyone thought this was ever a democratic vote think again! Use taxis, finish en klaar!

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:16pm on 8 February 2012
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SANRAL is now starting to deliberately close off two lanes on the N3N12 to make early morning commute a nightmare after putting up with 4 years of building,who is going to copensate the motorist for their pain and suffering and why should we pay for a public road they do not own it because they have added an extra lane ,nobody ask if we are prepared to pay.

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brasco, wrote

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01:40pm on 8 February 2012
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SANRAL is going to wake up very quickly to the demands of the public . They will find out the hard way that ...we are not living in another african dictatorship , and the people are tired of their fraudulent dealings . Used the money stolen to build houses for the ANC voters to repair the roads ...we have paid enough !!!! and we have had enough !!!

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:06pm on 8 February 2012
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Really makes no difference, the tolls are going to be a failuire regardless and besdies throwing the whole of Gauteng besides the 10% of idiots who already registered what are they gonna do to force 90% of the people to pay? The taxis are free then so is my car and it willstay that way. These fools think they can threaten and force their way in, I think the ANC and SANRAL are really going to feel the power of the people when these tolls come in. Maybe this will be the start of Egypt and the end of ANC rule. I think this is going to push people over thge edge. We are basically paying for the money they have stolen and now cant afford to fix roads.

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madoc, wrote

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01:01pm on 8 February 2012
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yeah may those that registered rot in hell!!!!

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Absolutely Hopping Mad Enraged with SANRAL , wrote

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12:51pm on 8 February 2012
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Who needed e-toll in the first place? I have not registered and i will not register. In a country as free and democratic as SA, i should have a right not to pay for a service that does not add value to me right? SANRAL you are on your own - absolutely trypical of........i like Sputnic's idea. May all the drivers stick together on this one please! reject e-toll until THERE IS NO CORRUPTION in our beloved SA.

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