South Africans need to be vigilant when filling out phone book forms that appear to be from Telkom or Trudon, as this is not always the case.
Other directories or scammers sometimes use subtle techniques to make their forms appear to be from these companies at first glance.
A MyBroadband reader recently received one of these forms and mistakenly signed up for a new directory rather than renewing his yellow pages list, which he supposed to do.
It cost the reader over R 8,000 and put him in a directory he did not want listed on.
The form stated that when completed, it should be sent to a “telkomsa.net” email address, which could easily pass as an official Telkom email address to the average user.
The form is also labeled several times as “Telecommunications Directory”.
It includes a small print “Agreement” section, which points out that this list is in fact not affiliated with Telkom or Trudon – but many readers might not take the time to read this wall of text.
Visiting the directory’s HelloPeter page reveals pages of complaints from users who said they were led to believe it was an official Telkom document.
Telkom said scams where parties pretend to be Trudon or Telkom, such as the one described by reader MyBroadband, are common.
“We get quite frequently requests from customers who believe they have dealt with the yellow pages or Telkom or have a problem with their ad not appearing in the official yellow pages when they receive a copy,” Telkom said.
While it is legal for other entities to offer business listings in print or digital format, Telkom has stated that if they give the impression that they are doing so on behalf of Telkom, Trudon or Yellow Pages , this can potentially be considered a fraud.
This is unless they specifically state that they are acting as an individual’s agent to place ads in published directories.
“There have been cases of operators trying to use company or product names similar to those for which Telkom, YellowPages or Trudon hold valid trademarks. When we become aware of these cases, we take legal action against the alleged offender. “
The company said it has made an effort to educate its clients about the risks of dealing with those claiming to be agents of Trudon, Telkom or Yellow Pages.
“Where possible, we provide a list of companies that have claimed to be an agent but are not on our list of accredited agencies and advise our clients to be very careful when dealing with any of the above. these companies, ”Telkom said.
“Additionally, if it turns out that individuals have defrauded a potential customer using an ISP Telkom address, we will forward that to Telkom’s forensic team for further investigation and action.”
Beware of other directories
The company said the law makes it difficult to resolve issues with using telkomsa.net email accounts in scenarios such as the MyBroadband reader because these entities have not infringed the Telkom or Trudon trademarks.
However, the company cautioned that while these directories are legitimate, they do not offer the same capabilities as the Telkom and Trudon options.
“These small operators usually don’t have a large enough distribution network or significant website traffic to benefit their customers. Additionally, many online directory sites are not well maintained and poorly designed, resulting in the display of incorrect information that could harm the advertiser in the long run.
“As Yellow Pages, we invest significant sums in the constant modernization of our online directory and in ensuring that the information is accurate and complete,” Telkom said.
“We even provide tools for customers to ensure that the correct details are displayed on a multitude of platforms, including Google and Facebook.”