No end in sight for Please call me inventor’s battle with Vodacom

Please call me creator, Nkosana Makate's mammoth battle to receive compensation from Vodacom has hit another brick wall

In papers filed at the Constitutional Court this week to seek clarity on the court’s previous order, Makate says that negotiations with the network giant have deadlocked as Vodacom claims that it’s unable to determine the revenue that was generated from the Please call me concept.

According to court papers filed by Vodacom in January, the company never treated the concept as a revenue generating tool in its income statements and because it can’t be determined exactly what calls were made as a result of a Please call me being sent, therefore it’s hard to say what money was made from it, Moneyweb reports.

READ MORE: Makate fights back

But Makate is disputing this, saying that revenue could be calculated with a “simple computer programme” that tracks calls made within a certain time period from the Please call me being sent.

“While Vodacom and I might need to negotiate the precise response time to be used (for example ten minutes after the Please call me message) this demonstrates quite clearly that the revenue records can be obtained,” Makate said in court papers.

Makate’s response was backed up by a supporting affidavit by a former employee, Andrew Hendricks, who stated that Vodacom is in possession of financial records that can determine the revenue generated by the concept.

“In addition, they (Vodacom) know exactly how much advertising revenue is generated off the tagged-on advertisement to the Please call messages,” Hendricks said in court papers.

In an interview with Fin24, Vodacom said Hendricks had no evidence to support his assertions.

READ MORE: Makate on lessons corporates can learn from the Please Call Me case

“The true position, as stated in our responding affidavit to the Constitutional Court dated 24 January 2017, is that the PCM product was never treated in our income statement as revenue generative. Moreover, it is not practically possible to distinguish which calls were induced through a PCM message from those not so induced,” Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy said.

“Under the guise of seeking clarification on the order, Mr Makate is in effect asking the Constitutional Court to issue a new order in the form of a share of revenue as the sole methodology for determining reasonable compensation.”

Vodacom said it was however still committed to negotiate with Makate when he was ready to get back to the table.