Case Management Department

The newly formed case management department has settled down and things are running smoothly. There has been a slight increase in the total number of disputes received by the office in 2014, having opened a total of 5890 disputes. This has resulted in an increase of 0.2% when compared to 2013. The number of disputes closed also increased, totalling 6871 disputes closed, an increase of 4.1%, when compared to the previous year.

We are particularly proud to report that we saved consumers a total of R2.88 million for the year. This amount is calculated from the refunds and balance corrections in matters which we were able to resolve amicably with the credit provider members involved.

The average number of days taken to resolve a dispute in 2014 has decreased by 5.36% compared to the previous year, and now stands at 48 days, which is a positive indication of efficient turnaround times in resolving disputes. However, some matters still continue for far too long before they are resolved and we have to remind our members that adherence to turnaround times benefit all of us, but mostly their consumers. Even if the matters are resolved, some consumers comment that it took too long for our office to facilitate the resolution, and this diminishes what could have been a much more positive experience.

Insofar as trends are concerned, we continue to receive a large number of disputes relating to ‘unlawful’ emoluments attachment orders commonly known to consumers as ‘garnishee orders’. Typical complaints are that the deductions continue despite the fact that they feel the debt has been paid in full. We often find that consumers do not understand the dynamics of how these orders operate, nor the added costs and legal fees that keep increasing the outstanding balance. Another trend is still the frequent complaints about statements of account, and disputes and discrepancies over the amounts due. Queries relating to the calculation of interest and legal fees also keep us busy.

We have seen an increase in the number of complaints where reckless credit becomes one of the issues to investigate. Fortunately, we have received good cooperation from almost all our members and in some instances they have agreed that the original loan, often granted years ago, was not done in accordance with the requirements or spirit of the NCA. As a result, a few consumers have had their loans recalculated or interests etc, written off.

As mentioned in our previous newsletters, we anticipate receiving an influx of disputes relating to prescription, and possible also more complaints relating to reckless credit. We eagerly await the implementation of the National Credit Amendment Act and the new regulations.