File picture: Denis Farrell, AP

Cape Town - A single woman’s five loans worth more than R140 000 were written off by the credit provider after intervention from the Credit Ombud.

The woman was on the verge of retirement from her government job.

Although she earned a decent salary, being the sole breadwinner meant having to take care of her parents and adult son, who all had medical conditions.

According to the Credit Ombud, Nicky Lala Mohan, the woman who took out five loans worth R76 000 over a period of seven months, was unable to pay regularly and soon found herself in trouble with the credit provider.

She contacted the Credit Ombud office last year and found she was overindebted and could not afford to repay the loans.

Mohan said greater consideration should have been given to her expenses when affordability assessments were done, a requirement of the National Credit Act.

She further submitted a motivation regarding her personal circumstances.

“The credit provider wrote off the five loans to the value of R140 554.63,” she added.

Deputy Ombud Reana Steyn said they deal with many similar cases where the loan was either written off or decreased by the credit provider based on the circumstances.

“The woman was earning a good salary, but the fact that she was going to retire soon should have been taken into consideration.”

Steyn said it does not often happen that a credit provider will completely write off a loan, but in this case her age was taken into consideration.

For someone younger, credit providers will look at scrapping the interest to reduce the loan.

According to the ombud’s 2014 annual results, 47 percent of complaints were received from women and the current year's results show a similar trend.

“It seems women are becoming more aware of our office and are using our services, requesting assistance with disputes ranging from credit bureau listings, non-bank credit and emolument attachment orders.”

The Credit Ombud can be contacted on 0861 662 837 or SMS “Help” to 44786.

The link to their online complaints form is http://creditombud1.dnsalias.com/ciocompl.html

[email protected]

Cape Town