It is that time of year again – the continuous reminders of your rights, how to make sure you, the consumer, stay protected and where you can go to complain if service, or an agreement, is not in your favour…

It is, therefore, important to equip yourself and not fall into your debt trap of becoming a ‘reckless borrower’ or fall victim to ‘reckless lending’.

Don’t you think it is time you get acquainted with your basic rights again?

According to Carla Oberholzer, debt adviser at DebtSafe, it is important to remind yourself at least once a year of what your consumer rights are and what they entail.

Hereby, your 2020 reminder of your basic Consumer Rights when applying for credit:

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  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to apply for credit and receive a credit agreement that is clear (in your preferred language/communication method).
  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to ask why/dispute when your credit application gets rejected.
  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to receive your free credit report once a year from any registered Credit Bureau.
  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to receive advertising BUT make sure the cost of credit and ALL other details are included in the marketing.
  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to prohibit reckless lending
  • YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to apply for debt review/counselling to FIX YOUR DEBT in a regulated and structured process.

You always have a choice – choose wisely

Oberholzer says that apart from the above rights you, the consumer, always have a choice. Be honest when disclosing information when applying for debt. And, make sure you use the relevant complaints channels when you feel that your consumer rights have been violated when dealing with reckless lending practices, for example.

You can send complains through to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) via email: complaints@ncr.org.za or voice your concerns at the Credit Ombud’s office: ombud@creditombud.org.za.

It’s time to set a reminder and make sure you get up to date with your Consumer Rights again. You have the RIGHT to CONSUMER RIGHTS, so make sure you know the ins and outs BEFORE you apply for credit or add debt to your monthly payments pile.


***A4W March 2020: exclusive article