E-toll terms and conditions are fair, says Sanral

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) denied on Tuesday that its e-toll terms and conditions were either unfair or illegal.

Responding to media reports, Sanral said that 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.”

Criticism had been levelled at Sanral that identity information could be confused.

“The identification of users by way of e-tag is clear in that it is the e-tag affixed to a specific motor vehicle which is identified at an e-toll plaza. In addition and notwithstanding that the e-tag is the method initially used to identify the vehicle, the e-tag cross references the number plate of the vehicle registered with Sanral.”

“The use of both identifying methods and by further identifying the vehicle itself [which will take place by virtue of the vehicle being photographed] will greatly assist in preventing fraudulent transactions. Information is therefore available to assist in identifying vehicles and preventing fraud. The mere copying of a licence plate will not result in a user becoming liable for another party’s toll charges,” the agency added.

“E-Tolling and the systems implemented will, to the contrary from that stated in the article, greatly assist in preventing fraud and, in particular, the cloning of number plates. Sanral denies that this provision is contrary to the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act or any law,” Sanral said.

It’s not illegal
Sanral said supplying the agency with back account details giving it access to debit money from one’s account was not illegal.

“The user contractually agrees to this and regulates its requirements by setting pre-determined top-up threshold levels. Sanral does not determine these levels. This is no different to the way in which many accounts are dealt with such as municipal accounts and cell phone accounts where the service provider is instructed to debit monthly charges from a user’s account. There is nothing controversial or illegal in such a provision. Please note that automated top up is only one of the options available to the user. Other options such as cash payment and electronic funds transfer are also available and are controlled by the user.”

Another criticism levelled at Sanral was the road users not registering for an e-tag would have pay for the toll within seven days or be punished. Sanral said: “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. Conditions to be published by Sanral in terms of section 27(1)(b) of the Sanral Act will make this clear in respect of users who elect not to register with Sanral for purposes of payment of toll.”

The agency pointed out that it will, prior to the commencement of tolling, provide guidance on the applicable procedures at the time of commencement of tolling and when amounts become payable.

“Administration fees will be identified on Sanral’s website and are not unusual for these types of transactions and are most certainly not unfair or illegal. The charge of R5 for posted statements will only apply where users elect to have their statements posted to them. SMS and email notifications will attract no charge. The exemption granted to public transport services is not discriminatory and is granted by virtue of the public service which they provide. Due administrative process has and will be followed in this regard,” the roads agency said.—I-Net Bridge

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