The Non-bank Credit Department has seen a tremendous increase in the number of disputes opened, with 1 984 disputes opened to date. This is a 72.82% increase when compared to the previous year. Staff in the department have been hard at work finalising disputes, resulting in a 118.8% increase in closed disputes when compared to the previous year. The fact that we also hired additional staff contributed to the increase in closed disputes.
On an ongoing basis there are accounts that are being assessed and re-calculated, over-payments are rectified, in-duplum breaches are corrected and some accounts are written off in totality due to some or other irregularity. The money recovered in this manner for consumers has almost doubled since the last quarter with our office having recovered a total of R 2.45 million to date.
We have also noted a considerable increase in the number of service dispute matters. The number of service disputes has almost doubled thus far for 2013, and accounts for 16% of disputes closed to date. Complaints in this category from consumers include not receiving statements, settlement letters or paid up letters from credit providers or not receiving assistance from the providers in respect of some or other query.We have also dealt with complaints from consumers in respect of paying for accounts where they have not received the goods or are still awaiting replacement of damaged goods.
In order to avoid some of these issues relating to service disputes, we would recommend that service and credit providers always aim to provide the best service by attending to consumer queries and requests timeously. The requirements of the National Credit Act relating to sending regular statements of account should also be strictly adhered to. This will go a long way in ensuring that consumers receive the treatment they expect and this will in turn enhance overall consumer satisfaction.
The majority of disputes dealt with by the department still consist of complaints about statements of account and garnishee orders.