Date set for R699 car deal case

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Port Elizabeth - The hearing into the R699 car sales scheme has been set down for early August in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth, a lawyer representing consumers said on Tuesday.

“This morning the judge granted an order postponing the matter to the seventh (of August),” Duncan Heuer said.

After the matter was seen as urgent last week, if it had not been opposed it would have taken place on Tuesday, he said.

After papers were served by the consumers' representatives on Thursday last week, the Satinsky Group, which runs the scheme, plus Absa, Nedbank and Standard Bank, filed their notice of opposition on Friday last week.

“On Monday, they (Satinsky and the banks) filed their opposing papers,” Heuer said.

“Because it was now opposed, on Monday, the applicants and the respondents were in agreement that it be heard on the 24th (Thursday).”

The judge then gave directions for the matter to be heard on August 7.

This was so both the applicant and respondent could file heads of argument, and for replying papers to be filed.

On Sunday, the Business Times reported that a group of apparently 550 consumers - led by Heuer of Pieterse Cary Finlaison - were to ask the court to declare contracts between the banks and car buyers null and void.

The coming hearing opens up the possibility that class action could be taken against the banks that supported the scheme launched in 2008 by Andre Venter, the CEO of the Satinsky Group.

About 17 000 people were believed to have been affected by the scheme which offered to cut repayments on new cars to about R699, if the motorists drove a minimum distance with pasted advertisements about the scheme on their cars.

The scheme collapsed earlier this month - with banks now calling for full repayments - amounts not affordable for all those involved.

Heuer said they were there to assist consumers who had been affected by the R699 deal.

“The issue is the consumers are over indebted that is the biggest problem,” he said.

“Their agreement ended by them (the consumers) not receiving the rebate they were receiving.”

Heuer said the consumers' rebate started decreasing, and having attempted to contact Satinsky, they received no assistance.

“In terms of the Credit Act, they had not complied with their advertising,” he said.

“We are looking at the best interests of the consumer to try and do what is possible in the legal framework so they could relieved of this burden.”

Sapa


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