The Non-bank Credit Department has continued to receive a significant increase in the number of disputes it has handled. We have had an impressive 53.54% increase in disputes when compared to the same quarter for the previous year, having recorded a total of 3 002 disputes year to date. In the same vein, we managed to close an increased number of disputes. We have recorded an 89.38% increase in disputes closed this quarter as compared to the same quarter last year and an increase of 108.07% for the year as compared to the previous year!
Attorneys in the department remain committed to assisting consumers to receive refunds when due or to correct any discrepancies relating to their accounts.
A big achievement for our department this year is that we have achieved a phenomenal 204.75% increase in savings this quarter as compared to the same quarter the previous year – this equates to a 151.64% increase as compared to last year. The rand value of these recoveries and savings is more than R3, 3 million
We continue to see a steady influx of complaints regarding statements of accounts. The most common being consumers complaining about the interest charged on their account, or querying the outstanding balance, which sometimes does not decrease or in some instances even increases despite regular payments.
Other trends during the course of the year were those of consumers complaining that they are struggling to obtain monthly statements, paid up letters and settlement figures for their accounts.
Garnishee orders remain a big problem in our industry and we have seen complaints in this regard continue to increase. It is clear that it remains a massive problem for many consumers. The complaints our office have dealt with centre around the signing of the consent to judgement forms, legal fees that are being charged and the lack of any information regarding the current status and balance of the account. This is due to the fact that consumers do not receive any regular statements from the collecting attorneys and at times this results in consumers paying for years without any idea as to what the outstanding balance is or what other additional fees and charges were being added to their account.
We have emphasised the issues pertaining to garnishee orders in our consumer education and training initiatives in order to better inform consumers. We hope that this will make a difference in empowering consumers with the knowledge on how to deal with garnishee orders and what to look out for when faced with this manner of collections.
2013 was a year our department excelled in assisting consumers. We have formed very good working relationships with most of our members with regard to dealing with complaints and this has assisted in our department dealing swiftly and efficiently with consumers’ disputes. We wish to strengthen these relationships in 2014 and continue to provide an outstanding service to all our stakeholders.