Our department again received an increased number of disputes in this last quarter, having opened a total of 1228 disputes. This resulted in an increase of about 20% when compared to the same period in 2013. The number of disputes closed also increased by 10%, representing 2 370 disputes closed when compared to the same period in the previous year.
We have thus far saved consumers a total of R1.99 million, a decrease of about 18% when compared to the same period in 2013.
The issues that stood out in the past quarter confirmed the trends that we have seen and highlighted in the past months. The ever increasing number of disputes about ‘unlawful’ emoluments attachment orders resulted in consumers approaching our offices on a daily basis with varied complaints relating to ‘garnishee orders’. These include complaints regarding the amounts they have to pay in terms of these orders, the fact that they deny ever signing the consent to judgment documentation, or the fact that they feel that the outstanding loan amount should have been paid off a long time ago.
We also still continue to receive a large number of disputes about inaccurate statements of account, a topic which we have addressed in previous newsletters.
We have seen a slight increase in the number of disputes regarding prescribed debts and we expect this figure to increase substantially once the National Credit Amendment Act comes into force, as it touches on prescribed debt amongst other issues. We also expect a lot of publicity around this issue of the collection of prescribed debts, which will raise the consumer’s awareness about this topic once the Act is promulgated.