World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) was established in 1983 to promote the basic rights of consumers everywhere. Every year on 15 March, the global consumer movement unites around a common theme to deliver an exciting array of campaigning activities. The theme for WCRD 2019 is ‘Trusted Smart Products.’
The Credit Ombudsman, Mr. Nicky Lala Mohan said: “WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.” The Credit Ombud –tasked with enforcing fairness in the credit industry – is one of the bodies in South Africa which continues to play a significant role in the South African credit landscape to assist consumers to know about and exercise their credit rights.
Many consumers phone or write to us complaining about their unresolved disputes pertaining to credit bureau and credit agreement related matters where they receive assistance FREE OF CHARGE. Many of these credit related complaints are mostly pertaining to the rights of the consumers being undermined.
“Many consumers are not aware of their credit rights, which is an important element of their human rights and are often left at a disadvantage,” said Lala Mohan.
The National Credit Act was introduced to create a fair and non–discriminatory marketplace for access to consumer credit, by – among other provisions – prohibiting certain unfair credit and credit-marketing practices and promoting responsible credit granting.
The Act also introduced a number of important consumer rights. These include:
• Right to apply for credit – Every adult person has a right to apply to a credit provider for credit. Being granted the credit is however not an automatic right.
• Protection against discrimination in respect of credit – A credit provider must not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against a person applying for credit.
• Right to reasons for credit being refused – On request from a consumer, a credit provider must advise a consumer the reason for refusing to enter into a credit agreement; offering a lower credit limit; refusing to increase a credit limit; or refusing to renew an expiring credit card or credit facility. Too few consumers know about this right to make use if it when they are denied credit.
• Right to information in an official language – A consumer has a right to receive any document that is required in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA) in an official language that the consumer reads or understands e.g. Consumers who are not fluent in English could exercise this right, but unfortunately they don’t know about it and therefore they do not request the translated documents in their chosen language.
• Right to receive documents – Every document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of the NCA must be delivered either in person at the business premises of the credit provider by ordinary mail; prepaid registered post; fax; email; or printable web-page.
• Right to access and challenge credit records and information – When a consumer requests a credit report, the report must disclose the same information that will be displayed to other parties when such report is provided. If the accuracy of the consumer credit information has been challenged by a consumers, the person whom the challenge has been made must take the steps set out in the National Credit Act within 20 business days after the filing of the challenge.
Consumers can contact the office of the Credit Ombud for FREE assistance if they experience any issues relating to credit agreements with non-bank credit providers such as the clothing and furniture retailers as well as micro-lenders, fraudulent listings, emolument attachment orders (“garnishee orders”) or general complaints about their credit bureaux listings. The office can be contacted on 0861 66 28 37; on the website www.creditombud.org.za; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a sms to 44786 and we will call you.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Salem Nolubabalo Nyati , Public Relations Manager at 0792243802 or email at email@example.com.