Econet demands cash payments from airtime vendors

Econet demands cash payments from airtime vendors
Published: 25 October 2017 (643 Views)
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe, the largest mobile network operator in the country, is demanding cash payments only from airtime dealers in a move that has sparked outrage from airtime vendors in Bulawayo.

Airtime vendors who spoke to The Chronicle said the move by the telecommunication company was unfair on them as they use cash for buying basic commodities which cannot be purchased using plastic money.

Econet used to accept part payment in cash and the other half using Ecocash or swipe but has since started demanding the whole payment in cash from airtime dealers.

Econet spokesperson and media relations executive, Mr Fungai Mandiveyi, said the company was simply asking airtime dealers to pay using the same form of payment used when the dealers are being paid by their customers.

He said individual customers are not affected by the changes and hence are free to use any form of payment.

"Econet Wireless accepts payment from its bulk airtime dealers or resellers in the form that the dealers are paid by Econet customers. Where the dealers or resellers are paid in cash, Econet expects to be paid by the dealers in cash. Where the bulk airtime resellers are paid by electronic transfer or by Ecocash, Econet expects the same mode of payment from the dealers. All our individual customers may make payment for individual airtime, data or any other Econet products and services by Ecocash, Point Of Sale devices or by direct bank transfer," said Mr Mandiveyi.

A vendor who operates in the Central Business District (CBD) who spoke on condition of anonymity said Econet has made her life difficult.

"This is very unfair and we want to know if it is legal. At first they used to say pay half in cash and the rest by Ecocash or swipe now I can't do that. So what it means is that I have to give them all the cash I get, meaning that I have to go and queue at the bank for cash to use. People are just taking advantage of us," she said.

A well-placed source in the company said the move was also introduced as a measure to curb illicit practices by people who claim to be dealers and use airtime as a way of getting cash.

"The company noted that there are people who come here and buy airtime as dealers then go and resell it in rural areas below the actual value for them to get cash. They then come this side and buy using Ecocash or point of sale machines which is not fair on the company," said the source.

- zimpapers

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