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Cell C banner: Angry customer vindicated after court ruling

George Prokas put up the 'bad service' banner on Beyers Naude Drive last week.

The banner erected by a disgruntled Cell-C customer outside the World Wear shopping centre on Beyers Naude drive in Fairland, Johannesburg was altered after the cellphone company sought legal advice on the matter. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - An angry customer, who erected a banner slamming Cell C says he feels vindicated that the High Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an application for an interdict by the service provider to have his banner removed.

George Prokas put up the banner on Beyers Naude Drive last week after he had received bad service from a branch in Sandton City.

The court has found that this was not unlawful and was fair comment.

It also ruled that Cell C will have to carry the legal costs of the application.

Speaking through his attorney Raymond Druker, Prokas says he is satisfied with today's outcome which he believes sends out a strong message to companies.

"They must be careful, they must tread wearily. They can't bully people anymore."

Prokas says many people have been bullied by businesses with people not having the chance to voice their frustrations.

"People who are in the same position, and they don't have the money to go to court and protect their rights like this haven't been able to do so."

The banner has since been defaced and changed by an unknown person but Cell C says its image has already suffered damage.

The banner had cost Prokas over R60,000.

Prokas has indicated he plans to re-erect a new billboard but is not clear when this will happen.

BANNER ABOUT MAKING CELL C ACCOUNTABLE

Prokas's lawyers say the action by its client is purely about making a company accountable.

He has refused to remove the banner saying he is exercising his freedom of speech.

His lawyers say a move by Cell C to take their client to court was merely an attempt to block criticism.

It's understood Prokas, who was not present in court today, took his phone in for repairs at the branch last year, but the phone was returned to him still broken.

The service provider continued to bill him despite him not using the phone and also after he cancelled a debit order.

Prokas's lawyers say he complained about this several times with no success and erecting the banner was merely taking the company to task for bad service.

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