Victory for consumers

Thumbs up to the National Consumer Tribunal, which this week thwarted the outrageous bullyboy tactics of a big lender.

Thumbs up to the National Consumer Tribunal, which this week thwarted the outrageous bullyboy tactics of a big lender.

For too long financial institutions have got away with pummelling consumers into submitting to their arbitrary decisions. This time the regulatory authority has stepped in and served notice it will be monitoring their actions more closely from now on.

Frans Duma bought a car on credit. Times turned tough and he realised he could not keep up with the payments, so he wanted to sell the car on which he still owed R128000 for R99000. He was willing to pay the extra R29000 from his own pocket. But Motor Finance Corporation rejected his eminently fair proposal, sold the car for R54000 - and then demanded the outstanding R74000 from their client.

Duma saw red and took his case to the National Consumer Tribunal, which ruled in his favour. He must now pay just the difference he was willing to cough up had he been able to find a buyer.

Lenders have regularly abused their financial might to sell repossessed items at bargain prices and then demand the outstanding balance from struggling consumers. This ruling serves notice on them that they will have to start applying a bit of common sense and compassion in future.

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