VVM Attorneys under fire

Numerous consumers are using online platforms to complain about communications from VVM Attorneys. These complaints typically relate to debt collection e-mails and SMSes.

There has also been a spate of online bulletin board spam posts, in which the spammers post messages regarding VVM Attorneys.

Complaints about VVM Attorneys debt collecting SMS messages and e-mails

Popular consumerism website HelloPeter contains numerous complaints related to VVM Attorneys’ debt collecting communications.

“My wife and I have been harassed by VVM via SMS, phone and e-mails for the past year, and although we’ve contacted the VVM call centre explaining the situation the harassment has not stopped,” said one HelloPeter commentator.

“We are debtors with a payment arrangement with VVM Attorneys. We have paid the arranged amounts at month end however they still continued bombarding us a Ridiculous amount of SMSes, phone calls and emails,” said another HelloPeter user.

Many MyBroadband users also complained about VVM Attorneys. One user complained that he received SMS messages from VVM Attorneys to settle his Edgards account. However, according to this consumer he does not have an Edgars account, and never did.

“I also used to get calls and SMSes from VVM Attorneys about a TV License I had cancelled years ago because the TV was stolen. They stopped harassing me after I threatened them and the SABC with legal action,” said another MyBroadband member.

“I received SMSes from VVM about my TV licence. I don’t have one and never had,” said yet another consumer.

Forum spam using VVM Attorneys’ name

Over the last two weeks there have been complaints about spam messages regarding VVM Attorneys posted on MyBroadband.

Some of the messages posted on MyBroadband are listed below (without any editing)

VVM Attorneys

This is a kind of company which aim is to help people. Thank you for giving tips and also in giving some tip to start a business. Continue providing a good service and I hope your effort will be appreciated by people.

VVM Attorneys, Education

Not only will new and existing staff be subjected to ongoing training, a training program for residents will also be established to assist with disseminating a better understanding on the purpose of the collection,whilst at the same time educating people.

VVM Attorneys: Clients

VVM’s vast experience in legal assistance runs across a wide range of industries that includes major domestic corporations, financial institutions and state authorities. In its twenty years of operation, VVM has made extensive pioneering work in order to provide a fresh and distinct alternative for clients who need more from their lawyers to address their unique business challenges and other strategic issues.

These spam forum messages were posted from international IP address, including:

  • 173.44.41.49
  • 108.177.165.16
  • 216.155.155.103

It is not clear whether VVM Attorneys are involved in these forum posts, or whether the posters are acting alone.

VVM Attorneys respond

VVM Attorneys said that they are not aware of any spam or otherwise being sent to the public.

“A full audit trail of transmissions and interactions is held at VVM,” the company said.

For the sake of accuracy, the full response from VVM is provided below.

VVM is in its 23rd year of operations, specialising in credit management and debt collection.

Our clients are leading credit providers, across a multitude of industries and accordingly very clearly defined processes are followed prior to handing an account to VVM for rehabilitation/collection, not withstanding our actions which comply with prevailing legislation.

Contact information is obtained from our clients as well as credit bureaus in an attempt to make contact with account holders.

It is common knowledge that there is a high churn and recycling of numbers, by the South African telcos, thus making contact with arrear account holders ever more challenging.

Arrear account holders, or those people who may have received an sms or email in error, have numerous options at their disposal to resolve and or update information:

All our communications are clearly branded and contain the appropriate contact information, including to whom the correspondence is addressed.

We are not aware of any spam or otherwise being sent to the public, again in the absence of examples we cannot comment, all communications are transmitted for a very specific reason – the collection of arrear monies.

A full audit trail of transmissions and interactions is held at VVM.

Of course, should the ‘many consumers’, who believe they are not the intended recipients or otherwise, not find success using our widely used channels, they are welcome to communicate directly through my office so that we may assist with resolution of such accounts.

The process of updating contact information is both easy and quick, despite such queries being small in relation to our total inbound call volumes.

More on SMS messages, email

Killing spam softly: POPI in South Africa

Should you pay to stop SMS spam?

Internal spat at the DMASA

Spamming hall of shame in SA: good news

How “SMS spammers” get your number

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VVM Attorneys under fire