HAVE you seen those advertisements that promise to clear people who have been blacklisted in the wink of an eye?
The adverts are misleading and defy the new Consumer Protection Act. Some of the service providers are shysters who are out to milk gullible consumers of their very hard-earned money.
It is not so easy for consumers who have been blacklisted to get their names cleared once they have a bad credit record.
And by the time consumers discover this it's probably too late and they might have parted with thousands of rands.
A bad credit record has a devastating effect on one's life because you cannot transact freely in the market place.
You cannot buy the things you want, get the house you dreamed of or get a job to relieve your indebtedness.
Even if you are able to get finance you might be required to pay a higher interest rate or even put down a large deposit.
Take the case of Kenny Mudzi, for instance. After getting a job that helped him pay off his debts amounting to R40000 within two months, all his creditors wrote him letters confirming that his debts had been paid off. But the letters were not enough to rectify his credit record. He had to get a rescission order from a magistrate's court to clear his name.
Mudzi said when he saw an advertisement by Francois Bakkes in a local newspaper he immediately called to enquire about the service.
"After listening to my story he told me he had managed to clear all his clients within three weeks and that three judgments were nothing. That's how he won me over," Mudzi said.
Bakkes operated his business from his house at 127, 7th Street, Linden, Johannesburg.
"At first I thought he was a lawyer but later realised that he was not.
"This man has a nice home-based office and there is really nothing that makes one suspicious. It's only when you expect delivery of the service you paid for that you realise his stories don't gel," Mudzi said.
The first excuse was that the ITC computers were off line and there was nothing he could do about that.
Mudzi claims that the excuses persisted until Bakkes ran out of them.
"At this point Bakkes offered to refund my money but ever since then he has ignored my calls when I try to contact him," Mudzi said.
Bakkes repeated his performance when Consumer Line tried to get comment from him.
He ignored Consumer Line's letter of enquiry and subsequent phone messages left at his office for the past four weeks.
The Advertising Standards Authority has agreed to investigate the alleged misleading advertisement.
How does blacklisting affect you?
l To be blacklisted means that you have a bad credit record. This is probably because you have not paid a shop or other company to which you owed money or did not pay them on time.
l Being blacklisted can have a very bad effect on your life. If you are blacklisted you will probably find it very difficult to buy anything on credit or get any type of finance.
It might even be difficult to open a bank account or get a job if you have a poor credit record. Even if you are able to get finance it is likely that you will have to pay a higher interest rate or put down a large deposit.
l It is NEVER a good idea to be blacklisted and if you are it is important to clear your name as soon as you can.
l It is unfortunately very difficult to have your name cleared once you have a bad credit record. Even a good excuse for not paying your debt, such as being retrenched or being sick, will not be enough to have your name cleared.
l Paying back the money that you owe is also not enough to clear your credit record.
l Once you have been blacklisted you will have a bad credit record for anything from three to 10 years, depending on the type of listing that you have against you.
But even after this period, a judgment can be issued against you if you have not paid the money that you owe.
l But paying back the money you owe to your creditors is also not enough to have your name cleared from the credit records.
You still need to seek help from legal practitioners to assist you in approaching your creditors for consent to remove such listings.