With the Zimbabwean economy in tatters for the second time in two decades a lot of companies are facing a big problem. More and more debts are becoming bad as debtors fail to settle due to economic woes. Usually you would take your debtors to court and demand compensation but sometimes that is simply not possible. Either because your debtors have nothing for your to take or because they are simply too many or maybe it’s because you are a state affiliated entity and the government would never allow you to do that.

So what is a company to do? Well, TelOne has been using blacklisting as a way to prode their debtors to settle their dues. Here is the latest statement from the State owned Telecoms company:

So far, 48000 people have been blacklisted.
Don’t be the next one!

Pay your outstanding telephone bill today.

We have so far blacklisted 48 000 individuals and companies who did not heed our warning to settle their outstanding telephone bills. If you have not paid off your TelOne phone bill, avoid being backlisted by making your payment to TelOne right away.

No further warnings will be issued

If you are blacklisted, you will not be able to open a bank account, access loans, or get credit approved for clothing or furniture amongst many other inconveniences that come with a bad credit rating,
Settle your bill immediately at any TelOne Service Centre or online through ourTelPay facility.

TelOne Voice

This isn’t working

In normal economy blacklisting would probably have more effect than this. The fact that 48 000 people have already been blacklisted shows the strategy is not work and does not carry the threat TelOne thinks it does. That’s a lot of people and it points to something fundamentally wrong within the economy rather: it’s not that debtors don’t want to pay, debtors simply cannot pay.

There are no credit facilities either and so people will happily brave the threat of blacklisting than sacrifice their little earnings to pay legacy debts. With the poverty line now above $10 000 people would rather not pay than starve so they can pay. The government forgave the debts of bigwigs who couldn’t pay their Farming Equipment loans surely they can forgive these debts too.