Using cellphone SMS messaging in debt collection is proving to have a better success rate than conventional telephone calls or correspondence, says Beget Solutions talking to Iain Scott of ItWeb.

"Possibly debtors who receive a personalised SMS gets a feeling of being tracked down with no place to hide as a cellphone is generally always in close proximity to the user, almost an extension of their person," says Delmé Hawkins.

Legal firm Willemse Benade Venter Davis, which collects debt for companies such as Edgars and Joshua Doore, has switched its main debt collection focus to SMS.

"On 6 June we sent out 45 SMS messages on behalf of a client, of which 43 received the message," says lawyer Coenie Kukkuk. "Within 15 minutes seven debtors contacted us and a total of 19, or 44%, responded.

"One person with outstanding debt for four years made a payment of R4,000 immediately. The response represents an increase of 200% in reactions to letters and even summonses."

Prosperitas Debt Collectors says the recovery rate for doctors using SMS technology as opposed to letters or telephone has improved from 70% to 90% in the three months since the company adopted the system.

Beget Holdings listed on the JSE last December, the first technology company to go public since August 2000.

Since then it has expanded into several countries, partly aided by the acquisition of Namibia’s Ianitor, later renamed Beget Connect.

Earlier news releases from the company indicated that Beget Connect had appointed André Grové as its CEO. However, Grové says because he and Beget Connect could not agree on technical and commercial issues he declined its offer.