In a scene that suits South African consumers just right, the credit ombudsman 2016 report revealed that the organisation has recouped over R10.7 million, going back into consumer pockets. In a fantastic turn of events, the report shows that this money was overpaid by consumers when dealing with debt and credit.
With an increase of 40.2% on returned money, this is a solid achievement for the new Credit Ombud. With the amount calculated by taking all overpaid accounts, paid by consumers, where breach in the law entitled the consumer to a refund, or where recalculation of balances were required. This then feeds into the full amount of overpaid accounts and thus the amount that consumers need back. Curbing the issue of creditors accepting more than is required, the Credit Ombud has made a further move towards complete transparency and accountability within the credit market. As most of the amounts per person were relatively small, the total amount owed is actually something remarkable, showing that even though individually the strain isn’t felt, the receiving party ends up with a lot of money that isn’t really theirs.
With a range of factors and situations included in the process, the most common non-bank credit cases that were brought to the ombudsman’s attention were incorrect account statements, emolument attachment orders, fraud cases and allegations of reckless lending. While there has been a drop in complaints escalated to ombudsman, it is speculated that this is due to the added pressure put on creditors to handle disputes more effectively and efficiently.
Many cases resulted in balances being written off, refunds being facilitated or consumers being helped to enter into payment arrangements.
With the introduction of the Credit Ombud SMS line, there has been an increase in quickly resolved matter, allowing for a more efficient system of customer justice and service.