Millions refunded in credit charges

By SAPA Time of article published Aug 13, 2013

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Cape Town - Over R3 million has been refunded to consumers charged excessive interest and fees by credit providers, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) said on Tuesday.

NCR registrations manager Adrian Skuy said the National Credit Act specified the rate of interest and fees that credit providers could charge.

The act required credit providers to be registered when they entered into credit agreements with more than 100 consumers, or where a consumer's principal debt exceeded R500,000.

The NCR had refunded R3m in excess charges since its inception in 2005.

Skuy said that where consumers had been overcharged by unregistered credit providers, the agreements were void from the outset and therefore not enforceable.

“This means that the consumer will be under no legal obligation to pay in terms of the agreement.

“For their part, the unregistered credit providers can only claim in terms of the common law on the basis of unjustified enrichment.”

Skuy advised against working with unregistered lenders, especially online providers.

These providers sometimes requested personal information online, increasing the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Consumers should look out for a provider's NCR registration status and number on all credit agreements, and on a certificate displayed at a place of business. - Sapa

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