Bank should not repossess

The chief executive of the Consumer Business Chamber has stepped in to help Johanna Mokae reclaim her car, which was repossessed despite her paying the arrears she owed.

The chief executive of the Consumer Business Chamber has stepped in to help Johanna Mokae reclaim her car, which was repossessed despite her paying the arrears she owed.

Last week Sowetan reported that Mokae could not get assistance from the Micro Finance Regulatory Council or the National Credit Regulator because they had no jurisdiction once a court order had been granted.

Chief executive of the Consumer Business Chamber, Malcolm Larsen, told Consumer Linethere was an alternative dispute resolution forum from the Credit Regulator and the Micro Finance Regulatory Council.

Larsen said the National Credit Act allowed Mokae to lodge her complaint with the National Consumer Tribunal. Larsen agreed to do so on Mokae's behalf.

Mokae's problem started when she changed the method of payment from what it was to being done via her bank.

She decided to use her bank's Internet facilities and omitted to include her reference number.

This omission of her reference number resulted in payments not reflecting on her account.

The bank obtained a court order and attached her car, despite payment still being in their system.

Mokae said when her car was attached she called the bank's legal department and explained her problem. They agreed to release her car on condition she paid the arrears she owed. Despite doing so, the still did not release her car.

The act states once a borrower agrees to pay the arrears, the lender has to re-instate him or her in the contract.

Again, despite conceding that Mokae had changed her method of payment, the bank demanded the full settlement amount of R200000.

The bank also threatened to sell her car if she did not settle the account.

If the car was sold for a lesser amount, the bank would then have claimed the shortfall from Mokae.

Larsen said his company had previously won two similar cases against banks that had infringed provision of the act.

He was of the opinion the bank was not acting in the best interests of either Mokae or themselves.

"Should the bank sell the car on auction, Mokae would owe them more money than if they reached an agreement," he said.

Larsen said the act states that if there is conflict between the act and the Magistrates' Court Act, the National Credit Act will apply.

"The bank, therefore, should not have repossessed Mokae's car," said Larsen.

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