Act meant to protect debtors

The National Credit Act was enacted to ensure debtors were treated with respect and were allowed to settle credit agreements.

The National Credit Act was enacted to ensure debtors were treated with respect and were allowed to settle credit agreements.

Nowhere does it allow debt collectors to demand payment for services not rendered. But IC Clark Attorneys and Conveyancers still does.

Just a month after implementation of the NCA, Zenoyise Madikwa received a letter from an attorney representing Commercial Park Private School, demanding R9420. This was seven months after her daughter deregistered from the school, said Madikwa.

Madikwa denied owing Commercial Park anything, but the attorneys insisted they were instructed to demand this year's fees.

"This is abuse of the law and those who get scared at the sight a letter of demand from lawyers are bound to fall victim," she said.

The attorneys sent a notice in terms of Section 129 of the act, which is used to notify a consumer in debt to pay the account or make arrangements with the agents, or the service provider, alternatively to face legal action.

Madikwa said any person who did not know his or her rights would feel threatened by such a letter. They also threatened to refer her to a credit bureau for not paying.

"I am sure the NCA is trying to stop abuse of the law by debt collectors," she said.

The head of Commercial Park Private School, who introduced herself only as Mrs Chetty, said she had not instructed any law firm to demand payment from Madikwa. She said she would not have done so as Madikwa's child was not registered with her school for this academic year.

IC Clark Attorneys had still not responded by the time of going to press.

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