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Debtfree South Africa’s debt counselling magazine

January 2012 www.debtfreedigi.co.za


GETTING ADVICE When consumers are experiencing financial difficulty they look to the experts to see what can be done. The question is: who are the experts? There are many financial planners, advisors and supposed experts out there however almost all of them will charge you for advice. The difficulty comes in when you can’t even afford to get help. Then where do you turn to? One remedy is to visit a Debt Counsellor. The law allows Debt Counsellors to charge R50.00 for a consultation. Most Debt Counsellors however waive this fee and are prepared to help consumers get some good advice regarding their situation for free. If a consumer then wants to enter debt review part of their first debt review repayment to their creditors will go to the Debt Counsellor. The next challenge is where to locate a reliable Debt Counsellor. If you visit the National Credit Regulator’s website and surf around for a while you will find a list of people who are qualified as Debt Counsellors. However

not all the contact details may be up to date and not all the people on the list are actually currently practicing as Debt Counsellors. If you are looking for a Debt Counsellor in your area, who is practicing in the industry, you can locate one on www.thedci.co.za in the consumer section. theDCI will recommend not one but several Debt Counsellors in your area. The consumers contact details are also given to the Debt Counsellors themselves so that they can contact them. This can save cash strapped consumers the cost of a long call. An appointment will then be set up and the consumers financial situation discussed and analysed in detail by an expert. For consumers who can make small changes to their monthly budgeting the solution my be that of better planning. For others the solution maybe entering the debt review process and having a court adjust their debt obligations to their creditors.


CONTENTS

then head over to the consumer section on www.thedci.co.za and click on consumers then the “i need help” section. The simple test will quickly tell you what you need to do next. For many South Africans, the beginning of this 03 Editors notes year has been tough. Many new consumers have embraced the debt review process to 05 News manage their debts and pay their creditors. The number of applications for debt review are up, 08 Grace Nkomo interview even though the interest rates remains so low. There are rumblings that there might be an 11 Skipping increase toward the end of this year...shudder. 17 Loyalty at what cost? Late last year, Moodeys changed their rating for SA’s financial outlook, and this year began with 22 Lying in bulk Fitch doing the same. It seems they think hard times are looming. Which means more people 25 Consumer Protection Act 68 are going to have to enter the DR process. This, in turn, means that it is very important for the 29 Service Directory various role players in the industry to smooth out the process and ensure consumers rights are balanced with those of the Creditors. It is hoped by many that 2012 will see the righting of some legislative wrongs for the process, and an increased level of trust for debt counsellors by the Credit Providers. Only time will tell. In this issue, we talk to Grace Nkomo at ABSA A brand new year....ahhhh...can you taste it? It who gives us insights into how ABSA plan to holds such potential...for a few days at least, turn their debt review woes around. For the until the haze of year-end parties and a short consumer, we look at dangers that exist in break wears off, then it’s back to reality and making poor choices (both in shopping and we’ve still got bills to pay. Oh well! in missing payments while under debt review) This could be YOUR year, the year that you and this issue sees the beginning on a short finally resolve to face your debt head on and series of in-depth articles about the Consumer get a handle on it through debt review, or Protection Act. This year, resolve to stay maybe this is the year that you will be able involved, to stay informed and get debt free. to leave debt review, having paid up most (or Here’s hoping 2012 is a great year for you. all) of your debts. Either way, a new year often brings with it new opportunities. We hope, that for our readers, they are good ones. If you are unsure about whether to speak to a debt counsellor or to pursue other options

EDITOR


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INDUSTRY

CONSUMER

NEWS FLASH the National Credit Regulator based on an investigation into Ferreira’s debt counselling practice. Ferreira offered debt counselling through an entity called Ferreira Debt Counsellors (FDC) and operated various branches throughout the country. The NCR found that Ferreira not only failed to maintain adequate records, keep relevant Debt Counsellor deregistered at NCT On 18 January 2012 the National Consumer copies of documentation and stick to Tribunal de-registered DC van Dyk. After required timelines, but also had set up a close numerous hearings the NCT found that van corporation as a payment distribution agent, Dyk repeatedly contravened the National despite this not having been approved by the Credit Act and her terms and conditions National Credit Regulator. of registration as DC. Each DC has slightly different terms and conditions due to the NCR changing these over time. It seems Van Dyk was not being timeous in sending out required Applications numbers up over last Jan (2011) documents and was charging consumers an Roger Brown, of Credit Matters, said his additional 10% “collection fee” (above the company was “bombarded” with queries at the normal charges) to take their money and then beginning of this year. Roger believes people distribute it. This is not provided for under the held off getting help during the December NCA. Normally DC charges + PDA charges add period, but have taken the leap now that the year has begun. Over the festive season and up to only 8% or less. into the first week of the New Year, the debt counselling business, DebtBusters, has seen a doubling of enquiries in comparison to the National Consumer Tribunal decision to cancel same period last year. Roger says more people DC’s registration upheld by the High Court are looking for help this year compared to last The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed a because they felt financially confident at the review application by Petrus Martinus Ferreira, beginning of 2011. But, as the year wore on, a debt counsellor whose registration was reality set in as prices increased while salaries cancelled last year by the National Consumer barely budged and many did not get an end Tribunal (NCT). The Tribunal cancelled the of year bonus, thus this year they are having to registration in response to an application by reach for this lifeline. Repo Rate stays at 5.5% Good news, the Interest Rate stays at 5.5%. The Reserve bank has once again stuck to it’s conservative stance & kept interest rates the same.


INDUSTRY

CONSUMER

Expert predicts better times for economy Economist Mike Schussler has a positive view about end of year spending last year and predicts good times ahead for 2012. “We have gone through a retail and wholesale boom for the last five months,” he said. “Consumers looked very confident picking up quite pricey items at shopping malls (last) year. “The shopping malls were full and my personal view is that things are going very well for the retailers. “I really think people with jobs have done very well this year (2011) and have forgotten their problems” Schussler said. He said he expects the usual “hangover” from the festive season to last up to mid February but expects January 2012 will be better than January 2011. However with the increase in debt review applications and inquiries being reported by large debt counselling firms, it seems all is not well for everyone.

ABSA and Nedbank to go to court Court papers have been submitted by ABSA to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. The papers make serious allegations against Nedbank because of a business deal that has not worked out. ABSA are now seeking R773,000,000 in damages because of losses they suffered, that they claim Nedbank should have warned them about.

SA’s future outlook drops according to Fitch International Ratings Agency Fitch revised South Africa’s rating from stable to negative at the weekend. Fitch ratings are seen as indicators of countries’ ability to repay their loans

for the latest news

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GRACE NKOMO

ABSA NATIONAL MANAGER, BUSINESS PARTNER INTERACTION We spoke to the new manager of ABSA’s Business Partner Interaction, Grace Nkomo, and asked her if she thinks she is ready for the challenge of this new position. Tell us about yourself? I have been with Absa for two years. My previous role involved implementing customer experience strategies within Retail Collections under Mr Ally Mafunzwaini’s leadership. This included conducting customer satisfaction measurement surveys to ascertain the service levels within Retail Collections in our Inbound Call Centres. I was also involved in Customer Research panels to establish our customer’s Mention the name “ABSA” to any Debt levels of financial education and looking after Counsellor and they will almost all respond the the Complaints Management area, which same way: “ I miss Consumer Friend”. They will handled all complaints, including NCR, NDMA, be referring back to the days when ABSA made Credit Ombud, Ombudsman of Banking use of an external company (Consumer Friend) Services and media complaints. to handle their debt review matters. When ABSA moved matters back in-house, it seemed like Do you know a lot about what goes into the the wheels fell off. Since then, ABSA have been debt review process? playing catch up, and many consumers and I have always been involved with Debt Review, DC’s have been complaining about the turn- as it falls under Mr Ally Mafunzwaini’s Customer around times and communication difficulties Management Cluster. Having to resolve in dealing with them. At one stage, ABSA were complaints related to debt review, one had to top of the list when it came to Creditors who understand the Debt Review process and be DC’s liked to deal with. In an effort to get back up to date with developments in the industry. into first place, ABSA have introduced new IT systems, new contact channels, more staff and now, new leadership.


What are your aims for the Department? To continue with the journey Absa Debt Review started when the business decision was made to bring the DC mandate back from the Consumer Friend days. We have invested in IT systems to improve our capability, service offering and ensure adherence to the industry standards. 2011 was a year where we made great strides, with obvious highs and lows. We’ve had our fair share of challenges that comes with implementing new systems however this has helped us to identify the gaps and we were able to close them. With Business Partner Interaction being a relationship focused role, we aim to bridge the gap in the budding industry, through the Relationship Managers who manage relationships with Debt Counsellors, PDAs and other key industry role players. We would like to maintain an open door policy, where all stakeholders are encouraged to engage with the Relationship Managers; be it bringing forth their challenges, suggestions and recommendations so that they may be adequately addressed. With every New Year, we have to try and do things differently. We have sat down, taken stock of the last year and looking at implementing the necessary changes for the year ahead. Once again, Debt Counsellors will be key to this and we are looking forward to working with them, for the betterment of the Debt Review process. We are also pleased to inform you that the backlog challenges we were faced with towards the end of last year has finally been cleared and we are now back to our standard turnaround times. Once again, I would like to urge Debt Counsellors to utilise our Debt Review entry points and escalation process to full effect. We also aim to vehemently promote the

Absa Solution Account which is targeted at customers under Debt Review. The account provides them with a cost effective banking solution while under Debt Review and it is now available at every Absa branch nationwide. We are working very closely with the Product Managers to re-launch the product in April 2012, which was hailed as a useful product for the customer under debt review and Debt Counsellor alike. We have done a dip stick and realised there were some shortcomings with the product, product knowledge at the branches, lack of marketing and information pertaining to the account. We are busy updating the training material for our branch networks, as we believe that there are no products that cater for the needs of customers under Debt Review. We want to give them a product that will allow them to get funding the next day, once they are rehabilitated Do you (and ABSA) feel debt review is a cheap and effective collection process? Absolutely, we have seen the monies collected through Payment Distribution Agencies rising on a quarterly basis, which shows the effectiveness of the collection process. What do you feel are going to be your greatest challenges in this new position? I have had to hit the ground running, roll up my sleeves and get into the thick of things. One of the biggest tasks is to work our way back to the top of the best service providers’ rankings, as previously rated by the Debt Counsellors in the 2010 University of Pretoria report and the bi-annual surveys conducted. Also, to finalise all the changes that we have had to undergo, our IT systems, industry alignments which will be mutually beneficial for our customers


and stakeholders alike. I am prepared for the challenges and year ahead.

What can consumers do to make the process more effective? For customers to remain committed to the Debt Review process, display the willingness to repay the debts and make that conscious change to improve their long term financial situation. Customers should approach their respective credit provider when they need assistance. Even for customers who may not be under Debt Review but are facing financial difficulty, it is highly advisable for them to engage their credit provider to see what solutions can be provided, to ease their financial burden.

We wish Grace all the best in her new role, and look forward to seeing the new changes implemented. One challenge that DC’s and consumers have faced, in dealing with ABSA, What can DC’s do to make the process more is long turnaround times, but it seems, based effective? on Grace’s comments, that these might now DCs can be very helpful in being more be a thing of the past. This is great news! engaging with credit providers, on their challenges, solutions and recommendations. We as Business Partner Interaction are there for to ensure a close relationship with Debt Counsellors, our important stakeholders and have maintained our open door policy with everyone, to better the Debt Review process. In line with the Industry Code of Conduct, the criteria of clients accepted to undergo Debt Review becomes vital. Customers not meant to be under Debt Review, should be guided towards other relief methods, as opposed to accepting everyone, even those that cannot be helped under Debt Review.


INDUSTRY

CONSUMER

SKIPPING

Debt Counselling is often the last resort of a desperate consumer. After months of being hassled by creditors and sleepless nights worrying about how to make ends meet, consumers are ready to try anything. For some, that time comes when all the credit cards are finally maxed out, for others it is when no-one else will lend them money. What a relief it is for this consumer, when after sitting down and chatting with a counselor, they begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it is going to take a while to sort out the situation, but maybe at last a good

night’s sleep is a possibility. There is a definite relief that comes with knowing that you are going to be able to care for your families needs, and still live up to your debt commitments. The first few weeks of debt review is often a “honeymoon” period. Finally the pressure is off and someone else (the Debt Counsellor) is scrambling around to make arrangements with the creditors. There may be a few hiccups at this point, but hopefully with some good communication, the consumer knows what is happening, including how their court application is progressing. They can now afford


to cover the new payment plan that has been put into place each month. All is well. Then something unplanned happens... oh oh. There are a dozen things that could happen. For example: a relative might suddenly grow ill; the car might break down; or maybe the geyser bursts. The consumer immediately mentally reaches for their credit facility to cover this cost but wait ...it is not there any more! (Consumers under debt review cannot use credit during the process) Now what? If the consumer is determined to continue to enjoy the benefits of debt review, they will make some tough choices. They may have to tell that relative to look to other family members or friends for help. It may mean joining a car pool with workmates till you can save up for that broken car part over a month or two, or maybe it means cold water until the repairs to the geyser can be done by that friend of a friend. Some consumers have made the wrong choice, “sorry I could not pay, I decided to pay someone else’s debt instead”. These are the kind of decisions that led such consumers into trouble in the first place. Some consumers have decided to not make the new agreed payment to their creditors. They simply “Skip” a month, after all, maybe no-one will notice, right? Wrong! Under debt review, consumers (can) pay through a Payment Distribution Agency (PDA). While the NCA does not force consumers to do so, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) advises consumers to use these companies who distribute the consumers own funds (for a small fee) to the various creditors and then calculate the approximate balances of these accounts. When the PDA notices a missed or skipped payment they immediately report this back to the Debt Counsellor. Normally then the

DC will contact the consumer to find out what is going on. At the same time, on the various creditor’s side, red flags go up, as the account which is waiting for payment, is sitting empty. The creditors then will contact either the consumer or the DC. What Next? Well, these day, Creditors are being very aggressive in trying to remove consumers from the debt review process (and the restrictions thus placed on them by the NCA) and this situation presents them with a legitimate reason to do so. After all, the DC has sat down and worked out how much the consumer needs to survive, even setting a little bit aside each month toward unplanned expenses. The DC then made an application to the court in regard to this amount which the consumer can afford. The court may already have ruled on the application, making it a granted Court Order (which the consumer will then be in contempt of). Creditors will then issue, what is called a section 86(10), and hand the account over to their internal or external legal team. The DC might also encourage the consumer to set matters right. In all likelihood, they will have sent the consumer a written “warning letter” giving the consumer 10 days to set things right or they will end the debt review. If the consumer does not “make a plan” and come up with the funds, the DC would then send the various creditors notice of the termination of the debt review application. Some consumers are able to make a plan. They ask family or friends for help and are able to rectify the situation within the 10 days. If so, then hopefully all is well. Others simply ask the DC to “smooth things over” somehow! It is almost like they feel the debt they owe is


controlled by the debt counselor! This is an incorrect view of the situation. The DC is the middle-man between consumers, the courts and creditors in an effort to apply the NCA to the situation. The fact that the DC’s income is generated from the consumer should have little effect here. However in practice, most DC’s are nice people who care for consumers and sympathise with them. After all, the consumer didn’t plan for this situation. So these DC’s will go above and beyond to try to assist them. It is important to note that generally, DC’s will be more willing to help consumers who immediately get hold of them when the problem first arises. It is always easier to deal with these situations in advance. After the fact is too late! Consumers who just keep quiet, and stop answering the DC’s calls and e-mails, cannot expect too much help from their DC. These DC’s will try several things. They might recommend that the consumer make an application to the court to amend their court order for the month. Admittedly, this is going to cost the consumer, and take a long time due to the courts being so busy. In the meantime, the creditor might try go after the consumer with a summons and another court appearance somewhere, which will need to be defended, creating more costs and of course more work for the DC. Another option that some DC’s choose is to send the creditors a form 17.3 change of circumstances letter, which explains the unplanned expense. It shows the consumer’s budget, the extra cost, and includes invoices for the extra unplanned expense. The letter asks the creditor to be nice and not “terminate” their participation in the review. If the creditor does then “terminate” their participation and take the consumer to court (as many do)

then this form can be shown to the court and leniency requested. The court may or may not decide that it is fine, but will generally ask the consumer to catch up the payment (perhaps if they receive a yearly bonus or can contribute extra over a few months). The bottom line is:- if consumers miss payments, then the review comes crashing down! If the DC decides to try to assist the consumer, even though they have not stuck to the court order or the payment plan, then they are in for a lot of extra work for no extra income. This time consuming work will keep them from helping other regular paying consumers. So many DC’s are now seeing the benefit of being strict and being first in the queue to tell the consumer that the review is over. The consumer is then welcome to try to apply for debt review elsewhere, but that will incur further costs and a lot of extra work for the next DC (who faces uphill battle, since none of the Creditors are likely to want to go through the process again). It is therefore best to never skip a payment as you will be incurring many extra costs (legal) and will in all likelihood be removed from the debt review process (even if the reason is a good one). If a consumer is able to convince their DC to try help, they should also be aware that it will be causing the DC a lot of extra work and will probably not be successful for every account. At least some of their creditors will be coming after their assets and issuing summonses soon thereafter, despite the DC’s help. If you are concerned that you can’t make a payment due to an unexpected crisis, then speak to your DC STRAIGHT AWAY and do not rush into spending the funds meant for your debt review payment.


DEBT COUNSELLORS: DID YOU KNOW? theDCI website features an extensive list of debt review related court judgments which you can download absolutely free for theDCI members After logging in head over to the services section and then click on DC information https://thedci.co.za/services_dc_info.php


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CONSUMER

LOYALTY AT WHAT COST? No doubt, you love to find a bargain and under debt review you have to “count your pennies”. One way you can score, is by collecting, and using loyalty cards. The dilemma is - is it really worth lugging around a bulging purse (full of cards) to finally get that “free” cup of coffee for being so loyal? Free that is, after buying 20 cappuccinos at an outrageous R20.00 a cup? Herein lies the key to loyalty cards. Don’t spend money just to earn loyalty points. Loyalty cards can be worthwhile or a total waste of time. Try to get cards for the places where you normally shop. That way, you are getting something for nothing. Many of these cards also reward you for when you go shopping rather than just what you buy. So maybe you could plan your shopping excursions around the days when they increase their rewards to consumers. Let’s have a look at some Loyalty cards that might be worth lugging around, and some that you shouldn’t waste your time with. Clothing: While under debt review, you have no access to credit, so cash is King. Of course you would not want to run out and use all your cash for party clothes, but sometimes new clothes are necessary, i.e. school uniforms, smart work shoes, new tie etc. If you are under debt review your debt counsellor and the court would have made provision for clothing in your budget. Probably not a lot, but a small monthly allowance. It is normally best to only shop

during sales, as prices at department stores can be higher than other shops. Be sure that you are getting a good deal! EDGARS PURPLE CASH CARD Benefits: The Edgars Purple cash card relies on a points system of rewards when you pay cash (not on credit). To make the most of this great facility, the following should be noted: • Earn points at Edgars, Red Square, Prato, Temptations, Boardmans and CNA. Most of these stores have sales every few months. • Each time your total points reaches 70 points you qualify for a R50 cashback voucher. • All cash back vouchers are valid for three months. Once you have the voucher the try avoid the temptation of using the voucher and adding in more cash just to buy something you don’t really need. If you don’t need any of the reasonably prices sales items then rather try use the voucher for something small even if it’s socks. Groceries: PICK ‘N PAY SMART SHOPPER CARD • For every rand spent, you earn 1 “smart” point. • You can earn additional points faster with ongoing special offers in store • Once you’ve collected 1 000 smart points (1 000 points equals R10), you can switch in units of 100 points (100 points equals R1). You can put your rewards towards your next shop.


So basically they are giving you 1% of your shopping cost back. Not great but if you shop at the store anyway after 6 months or a year the points could add up. Eg. if you spend R1000 on groceries for 12 months you will get R120 to spend. And sometimes you earn double points for buying certain items meaning a few more bucks back. • At most stores there is a small computer with attached screen which will tell you about specials for “smart shoppers” that day. Swipe your card and print out whichever vouchers you need.

in Clicks pharmacies. • If you are 60 years or older and a ClubCard member, you can opt for our ClubCard Seniors programme and earn Double Points on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. • If you are pregnant or have a toddler under the age of 3 then you can join the Clicks babyclub. • Double Points on all baby products (Includes all Milk Formula from 1 yr +) and clinic services. • Double Points on all Clinic Services (Babyrelated Clinic Services, excludes Medication) • Triple Points on all Clicks branded baby products

Electronics/Groceries/Cosmetics: CLICKS CLUBCARD Every time you spend R10 or more at Clicks and Clicks Pharmacy, using your free ClubCard, you get ClubCard Points. Cash-back can then later be spent at Clicks.

Medicine/ Cosmetics: Maybe you already shop at Dis-Chem. If so, do you have one of their loyalty cards?

The Clicks ClubCard loyalty benefits and rewards can be earned in a variety of ways: • Double and Triple Points are awarded as Bonus Points and are added to your Cash-back Reward when you qualify with 100 ClubCard Points. • As a ClubCard member you earn Bonus Points in addition to your ClubCard Points on selected product offers at Clicks. So check these items out and see if you need them. • Special offers are arranged for ClubCard members throughout the year. • 3 for 2 promotions - During special promotions, you can buy 3 of the same advertised products and only pay for 2. Look for this logo in-store and in our promotional leaflets. These are some of the best deals you can find at Clicks • Plus Points are earned off the dispensing fee

The Beautiful Woman Card • Members receive Double Points on cosmetics and fragrances on the first Monday of the month and the last Tuesday of the month. (Don’t ask us why) • You get a booklet filled with Vouchers for Bonus points. • Members receive a free half hour Low Level Laser facial treatment or a half hour BioMagnetic Microdermabrasion treatment on their birthday The Healthy Living Card • Members receive Double points every alternate Thursday in the month on all purchases (Excl Prescriptions) • Members earn Double points on Biogen products purchased • Members receive one free Cholesterol test per annum. • Members earn Double Points on the DisChem Gold range


The 60 Plus Card • The 60 Plus focus group is aimed at customers 60 years and older. • Members earn double points every alternate Wednesday of the month. • The Focus group also offers quarterly events such as Tea Parties to its members. The Moms & Tots Card • Double Points are awarded to Moms and Tots cardholders every alternate Wednesday on all Baby products (excluding prescription medication). • Moms and Tots members can look forward to regular newsletters with informative information on Pregnancy and Childcare. • Immunisation Reminders • Moms and Tots cardholders will benefit from discounts on selected first aid courses, UIF assistance and exercises classes. • Expectant Moms & Tots members will receive a baby bag in their Third Trimester EBUCKS Be sure to swipe your card every time you make a purchase at an eBucks card partner. Then watch those eBucks pile up. • eB10 is worth R1 • eBucks never expire so even if it takes you ages and ages to get some you will be able to use them. This takes all the pressure off trying to spend money just to save money. • Banking with FNB will earn you eBucks • eBucks can be spent on virtually anything from airtime to air travel • Earn eBucks by simply talking on your cellphone with Nashua Mobile • Use your eBucks to fill up with fuel at Engen And now for Loyalty cards you should probably NOT have in your wallet, due to the cost involved of shopping at these shops (in

general, their prices are high or in a higher category than consumers under debt review can cover). Eating out while under financial pressure is probably not a good idea when you could be preparing food at home for alot less. • Woolworths - Maybe you could look to buy fruit and veg at a more cost effective bulk seller...or grow your own. Clothing available here might be more affordable elsewhere. (they do have some crazy sales once a year though so...) • Exclusive books – Fanatics card (Maybe you could borrow a book from a friend or the library) • Vida (Coffee is one of the restaurant industries highest marked up products) • Kauai (Lovely, but cold water might also quench your thirst) • Nandos • Spur (They do have a “two for one burger special” on a Monday night at most branches which can be affordable if you have budgeted for a treat...but remember that the cooldrinks and sauces can be pricey) One strategy you can follow, is as a group of people (eg. an extended family) to all use the same loyalty card and then to allow one person to get the benefits. Your mom, dad or sister probably won’t mind it if you get to enjoy the benefits of their use of your card. They know times are tough for you and will no doubt be happy to see you have something nice for a change. Never let the fact that you can gain a few “points” lead you into spending money you don’t need to spend. However if one of your regular haunts wants to give you something for being a regular shopper...grab it. You deserve something for your loyalty and they know it.


CONSUMER

LYING IN BULK Heading to the grocery store these days is enough to make even the least in debt feel faint. Ever increasing food prices make us think twice before adding even the most basic items to the trolley. Prices no longer seem to increase by cents but jump by Rands with no immediate relief in sight.

years of marketing would have us believe. But of greater concern is another long held, basic premise that Pick ‘n Pay is taking advantage of : “buying in bulk saves money”. I’ve noticed that the bulk buys at the Garden Centre branch of Pick ‘n Pay (Cape Town) are often more expensive per item than the single items or smaller quantity packs but I was outraged It is for this reason that I have started carefully last Tuesday to discover to what extent my checking the price on each product before local grocery store is taking advantage of it’s buying it. One of the first things I noticed is customers. that the Pick ‘n Pay No Name brand products are not always the cheapest, contrary to what Tuesday 10 January 2012 as I stood in front of


the neatly packed rows of spices at the Garden Centre Pick ‘n Pay, I resisted the urge to simply drop the economy refill of Robertson’s chicken spice into my basket. I decided to double check that the box was gram for gram cheaper than the standard glass bottle. It wasn’t. Irritated I selected the bottle and proceeded to the shelves of toilet rolls. The Pick ‘n Pay No Name brand two ply toilet rolls are sometimes the cheapest but not consistently so. There were no prices above or below the 9 roll bags and the 18 roll bags. I check the prices of another brand. I did the calculation twice. The 18 roll bags were more expensive per roll than the bag of 9. I was more than a little annoyed so I looked around for a Pick ‘n Pay employee. I found one who got to work scouting around on the adjacent shelves for the relevant price tags. He located the price tag for the 9 roll bags but there wasn’t one for the bags of 18. I asked him politely to get the price for me adding that I wasn’t prepared to simply assume that the bag of 18 would be cheaper roll for roll. I was mid sentence, about to explain why I was hesitant to make that assumption, when he finished the sentence for me: “the bulk bags are more expensive”. I was stunned into silence as he walked away. To this Pick ‘n Pay employee bulk buys being more expensive was no surprise. As it turned out, the 18 roll bags were 0.77c more expensive per roll than the 9 roll bags. That means you’re paying R7 more per 9 rolls in the bulk buy pack (R14 more over all). 10 JANUARY 2012: Pick ‘n Pay brand two ply toilet rolls: 18 roll bag: R89.99 ( R4.99 per roll) 9 roll bag: R37.99 (R4.22 per roll)

I put the puzzling question of how this could possibly be so to the friendly Pick ‘n Pay employee. He told me that the 9 roll bag was on “promotion”. I countered by asking whether the same was true of the brand on the adjacent shelf. Apparently another “promotion”. Convinced he was simply making excuses, I played my trump card, the bulk buy box of chicken spice. I stopped short of asking him if that was on promotion too. At that point, out of excuses, the employee rattled off the phone number for their head office. He could not offer me a logical explanation as to why the bulk pack was more expensive roll for roll. The problem does, of course, lie with their head office and while I acknowledged to the exasperated employee that he wasn’t responsible for the pricing, I was under no illusion that placing a call to “the powers that be” would make the slightest bit of difference. The bottom line is, we need to shop smart and pay attention to the pricing on individual products. Don’t assume that buying in bulk comes with a price break even though that thought seems to defy logic. Before you grab that bulk pack off the shelf be sure to check that you’re saving and not actually paying more.


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A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 68 OF 2008 In this and articles that follow some aspects of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 [CPA] will be discussed. This first article will be more of an introduction to the CPA and some references will be made. The most important part of the CPA is Chapter 2 Part A – I paragraphs 8 to 67 which deals with consumer rights. This include the right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions as well as the right to fair value, good quality and safety. The CPA came into effect on 29 April 2009. The aim of the CPA is set out in Chapter 1 which provide for an extensive framework of protection of consumers rights and to eliminate unethical suppliers and to prevent improper business practices. The result is that suppliers must evaluate their businesses to comply with the CPA. The National Credit Act 34 of 2006 [hereafter the NCA] and the CPA both contain extensive protection of consumer rights applied for the protection of consumers. The credit agreement between the consumer and the credit provider is regulated by the NCA and the provision of goods to the consumer by the credit provider / supplier by the CPA. The two acts stand alongside each other in the regulation of credit and supply of goods to consumers. The Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 and Public Service Act 103 of 1994 also play a role in the interpretation and application of the CPA. Enforcement of consumers rights can be effected by a Tribuneral [see s 69(a) and 75 of the CPA] or to an ombud [see s 69(b) of the CPA], a consumer court or with the Commissioner [see s 99 of the CPA].

In terms of s 69(d) of the CPA, a court of law may lastly be approached to enforce consumers rights in terms of the CPA should all previous and available remedies been exhausted. Section 76(1)(a)-(b) empowers the court to make any order including awarding damages and any other terms and conditions to protect the rights of the consumer. Section 111(1)(a) of the CPA makes provision for fines and / or imprisonment for up to ten years or both where private information of consumers have been made available which is forbidden in terms of s 107 of the CPA. In terms of s 112(3)(a)-(g) of the CPA a Tribuneral may impose an administrative fine of ten percent of the turnover of the supplier up to a maximum of R1 million for prohibited or required conduct. A consumer is defined in Government Notice 1957 and in Government Gazette 26774 of 9 September 2004 para 25 as an individual who ‘purchases goods and services’. To end off this first article it is important to remember that the CPA is applicable on all transactions within SA for the supply of goods and services or the promotion of goods and services and the goods and services themselves. In articles to come the different sections of the CPA will be referred to and analysed with comments, interpretation and requirements thereof in the relationship between a consumer and supplier. Adv Hennie v Rensburg advhvr4580@gmail.com


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SERVICE DIRECTORY DEBT COUNSELLING AA Debt Counselling Centre Anthea Johannes NCRDC531 Tel: +27 (0) 21 982 0522 Cell: +27 (0) 84 402 7032 Alan Watts NCRDC 962 NCR registered Debt Counsellor Tel: 084 4448439 Fax: 086 6501954 alan@active-debt-counselling.co.za www.active-debt-counselling.co.za Central SA Debt Counsellors 082 950 7806 Fax: 086 563 1621 Consumer Assist Johann Vermeulen Tel: 0861 628 628 Credit Matters 021 431 9100 info@creditmatters.co.za CS Debt Counselling Bernidene Smith NCRDC 764 057 352 4115/352 5000 Welkom - Free state Darran Manikam NCRDC704 debt@mailbox.co.za Debtbusters 0861 663 328 (NO DEBT) Debt Budget ph. 021 701 7744 Debt Solve Debt Counsellors Office: 033 397 0945

DEBTINC NCRDC’s 1071, 1188, 1189. Tel: (022) 713-2021 Fax: (022) 713-2028 Share Call: 0861 20 21 20 E-mail: Info@debtinclusive.co.za Website: www.debtinclusive.co.za SMS: HELP to 35075 DebtSafe 0861 100 999 Debt Rehab Colleen Van Wyk(BCom, LLB) Debt Counsellor NCRDC2619 Tel: 083 290 0848 Tel: 011 740 7374 Fax: 086 716 9694 Website: http://debtrehab.co.za

Durban Debt Counselling Services Suite 112, 1st floor Union Club Building 353 Sm ith Street Durban, 4001 Tel: 031 301-7893 Fax: 031 301-5809 phumla.ngema@telkomsa.net Debt Counselling South Africa Cape Town Branch Tel: 021 919 66 94 Rod De Witt NCRDC831 Visit: www.debtcounsellingsa.co.za Debt Knowledge Debt Counselling 082 379 2337 Debtonators 041 585 0276 Fincorp debt Counsellors cc Cecilia Zwarts fincorpdc@yahoo.com Holistic Debt Counsellors info@holisticdc.co.za Helpdesk Debt Counsellors Allan Hoffman Tel: 0861 000 754

Debt Rescue Neil Roets NCR DC 474 Cell: 083 644 7406 Tel: 0861 800 009 Fax: 086 523 0617 E-mail: admin@debtrescue.co.za www.debtrescue.co.za

Help-U-Debt (Vaal Triangle) Wanine Tel: 082 445 3967 Help-U-Debt (Potchefstroom) Madra 083 390 3275 Help-U-Debt (Parys) Marilouise 082 920 6249


Help-U-Debt (Vanderbijlpark) Herma 083 320 8303 MG Consulting NCRDC 1403 Strand - Helderberg Area Telkom : 021 853 4537 Mobile Phone: 082 450 7459 / 082 782 0595 Fax Number: 0866 220 690 E-Mail: info@mgconsulting / cambouris.christina@gmail.com www.mgconsulting.co.za NDA Debt Counsellors Your Trusted Debt Counsellors Gary Williams (NCRDC 143) Tel: 034 315 3880 Fax: 086 612 4112 gary@ndad.co.za www.ndad.co.za Think Green Debt Counselling Sandi Pauw sandipauw@mweb.co.za Tel : 012 991 6638 Cell : 082 460 7800 Fax : 086 219 2615 Incentive Debt Counselling “Paving the way to a Debt Free Tommorrow” Darran Manikam NCRDC704 Tel: (031) 409 9379 Fax: (031) 409 1327 Cell: 0845898286 Branches: Phoenix and Shallcross Indigo debt counsellors CC Tel: 087 808 9734 Fax: 086 580 8675 indigodc@iburst.co.za

Zuné Coetzer Debt Counsellors NCRDC 1599 24 van der Stel Street Dan Pienaar Bloemfontein Tel: 051-4364515 Fax: 086 5870 845 Email: zunecoetzer1@gmail.com

EASTERN CAPE: DRS ALBANY Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcfull@drssa.co.za DRS ALGOA Marius Weyers Cell: 083 497 3219 Email: marius@drssa.co.za DRS BOND CHOICE P.E. Andrea Atkinson Office: 041 393 7000 Email: andrea.atkinson@drssa.co.za

BORDER REGION: DRS BEACON BAY Johan Pretorius Cell: 082 324 4038 Office: 043 748 1139 DRS BUFFALO CITY Herman Marias Cell: 082 378 3743 Office: 043 7210652 DRS KING WILLIAMS TOWN Herman Marais Cell: 082 378 3743 Email: herman@drssa.co.za DRS CRADOCK Office: 043 721 0652 DRS QUEENSTOWN Herman Marais Cell: 082 378 3743 Email: herman@drssa.co.za DRS MTHATHA Herman Marais Cell: 082 378 3743 Email: herman@drssa.co.za

DRS CENTRAL EXPRESS Derryn Fish Office: 041 373 9693586 2020 Email: derrynfish@drssa.co.za DRS DESPATCH Isabe Landman Cell: 072 337 3328 Office: 041 933 1189 Email: isabe@drssa.co.za DRS HUMANSDORP Morne Steyn Cell: 083 298 8182 Office: 042 291 0135 Email: Morne@drssa.co.za DRS NKONKOBE (Fort Beaufort) Bernadine von der Decken Cell: 083 2859289 Office: 046 645 1898 Email: bernadine@drssa.co.za DRS KIRKWOOD Keith Le Roux Cell: 073 207 1675 Office: 041 451 0474 Email: keith@drssa.co.za


DRS PORT ELIZABETH Derryn Fish Cell: 084 515 6135 Office: 041 453 8961 Email: derryn@drssa.co.za DRS SIDWELL EXPRESS Keith Le Roux Cell: 073 207 1675 Office: 041 451 0474 Email: Keith@drssa.co.za DRS SOMMERSET EAST Luther De Bruyn Cell: 082 568 2970 Office: 042 243 1107 Email: luther@drssa.co.za DRS UTENHAGE Lynn Lindoor Cell: 083 7174 183 Email: Lynnl@drssa.co.za FREESTATE: DRS GOLDFIELDS (Welkom) Irvin Billy (Derryn Fish) Cell: 072 114 4427 Office: 081 319 0083 Email: Billy@drssa.co.za DRS MANGAUNG Amanda Johnson Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcfull@drssa.co.za DRS FOREISTATA EXPRESS (Bloemfontein) Derryn Fish Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcexpress@drssa.co.za

DRS SOUTH FREESTATE Nelmarie De lange Cell: 079 236 3615 Office: 053 591 0734 Email: nelmarie@drssa.co.za GARDEN ROUTE:

DRS PRETORIA NOORD Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcfull@drssa.co.za DRS ROODEPOORT EXPRESS Derryn Fish Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcexpress@drssa.co.za

DRS DE AAR Veronique Louw (Derryn Fish) Cell: 076 382 2020 Office: 053 631 1189 Email: deaar1@drssa.co.za

DRS RUSTENBURG Amanda Johnson Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcfull@drssa.co.za

DRS GEORGE Francois Van Zyl Cell: 079 522 1930 Office: 044 874 2820 Email: francoisv@drssa.co.za DRS EDEN (Hartenbos) Bruno Mertsch Tel: 042 291 1083/4 Email: brunom@drssa.co.za

KWA ZULU NATAL:

GAUTENG: DRS CENTURION EXPRESS Amanda Johnon Office: 041 373 9693 Email: dcfull@drssa.co.za DRS LYNNWOOD Junique Julius Office: 012 807 4339 Email: lynnwood1@drssa.co.za DRS PRETORIA EXPRESS Ben Vermeulen Cell: 082 442 8654 Office: 012 331 2145 Email: bverm@lantic.net

DRS GREYVILLE Vyas Juggernath Cell: 083 206 0300 Office: 031 309 8716 Email: vyas@drssa.co.za DRS KOKSTAD Melanie Louwrens Cell: 083 269 0424 Office: 039 727 1430 Email: melanie@drssa.co.za DRS MORNINGSIDE DURBAN Erica Mtshali (Amanda Johnson) Cell: 076 578 8660 Office: 031 301 5990 email ericah@drssa.co.za DRS PHOENIX Vyas Juggernath Cell: 083 206 0300 Office: 031 309 8716 Email: vyas@drssa.co.za


DRS PIETERMARITZBURG Sanele Zulu Cell: 083 543 3487 Office: 033 394 8319 Email: sanele@drssa.co.za WESTERN CAPE: DRS BELLVILLE Patricia Bekker Office: 021 948 8523 / 4 Email: patricia@drssa.co.za DRS DIAMOND Clive Palmer Office: 021 421 8563 Email: clive@drssa.co.za DRS TYGERBERG Craig Lakey Cell: 082 627 0957 Office: 021 945 4062 Email: craiglakey@drssa.co.za DRS WEST COAST Marius Coetzee Cell: 082 978 4407 Office: 022 713 3766 Email mariusc@drssa.co.za DRS SALDANHA Marius Coetzee Office: 022 713 3766 Email: mariusc@drssa.co.za DRS SOLUTIONS Christelle de Villiers Cell: 084 586 5600 Email: cdv@vodamail.co.za

U-Win Debt Counsellors Coreli Roos - NCR DC 509 Aliwal North, Burgersdorp, Bethulie, GariepDam, Smithfield, Springfontein Cell:079 626 66241 croos@global.co.za Rihanyo Debt Counselling (012) 804 50 57 SUPPORT SERVICES

Business and Personal Website and Software, Design and Development Services. Contact Number: +27 76 382 0933 Email: info@myecommerce.co.za Web: http://myecommerce.co.za Staff Line Ndizani Executive Recruitment Cell no: 083 3028163 Direct Line: (011) 468 - 2150 E- Mail: saki@staffline.co.za Blank Design For all design and marketing needs including websites, brochures, business cards etc. Steve Rosenberg steve@blankds.com 083 700 2020 www.blankds.com Designtimes South Africa’s creative resource www.designtimes.co.za

TRAINING Compuscan Academy 0861 51 41 31 www.compuscanacademy.co.za FINANCIAL ABSA Customer Debt Repair Line 0861 005 901 Credit Ombudsman 0861 662837 Experian 011 799-3400 debtcounsel@experian.co.za Eric Streso Financial Planner B Juris LL B CFP MBA Tel: 0833273358 Fax: 086 612 7912 Fair Debt 0829019788 or 012-3772558 ray@fairdebt.co.za PACFIN Financial Solutions Head Office Tel: +27 11 9757445 Fax: 0865368783 36 Van Riebeeck road Kempton Park 1619 pieter@pacfin.co.za Monte Carlo Building No 8 Voortrekkerstreet Kempton Park 1619 Kempton Park Contact: Reyno Coetzee Tel: +27 11 3945363 Fax: 0866048002 Cell: +27 73 3690884 kemptonpark@pacfin.co.za


Boksburg / Germiston Contact: Armand Posthumus Tel: +27 11 8921911 Fax: 0865620378

FINANCIAL PLANNING Eric Streso Financial Planner B Juris LL B CFP MBA Tel: 0833273358 Fax: 086 612 7912

Nelspruit Contact: Ann Baker Tel: +27 13 7415559 Fax: 0880 1374 15559 Cell: +27 82 9024236 jeleroux@telkomsa.net Springs Contact: Wynand Mclachlan Tel: +27 11 8113728 Fax: +27 11 8113728 Cell: +27 83 2754014/5 wynmc@telkomsa.net

LEGAL

Gooseberry Business Advisory Tel: 012 644 0589 Nedbank Debt Rehabilitation & Recoveries Services 0860 109 279 STD Bank Debt review Helpline Telephone: 0861 111 402 TransUnion 0861 482 482 Thinkmoney Financial comparison website Contact: Gareth Mountain Tel: 079 0996 798 www.thinkmoney.co.za WIZARD Vereeniging Making Mortgage Magic Wanine Smit Tel:+27 16 454 1132 Fax:+27 86 686 3678 Cell:+27 82 445 3967 www.wizard.za.com

Brett Carnegie Attorneys Tel: +27 (21) 4470332 Fax: +27 (21) 4470338 Mobile: +27 (0)82 320 6099 www.carnegielaw.co.za Suite 23(B) Unit 8 Waverley Business Park Mowbray 7700

Ludick Attorneys bev.ludickattorneys@gmail.com Prinsloo & Associates Attorneys and conveyancers Nanika Prinsloo Farm Bergamot, Paarl 7620 P O Box 6199, Paarl 7620 14 Laing Street, Barrydale 6750 Cell: 072-8558-106 Fax: 086-623-5986 nanika@vodamail.co.za www.empowerlaw.co.za RM Brown and Associates 601 Pier House, 13 -17 Heerengracht, Cape Town Docex 138 Cape Town t: 021 431 9127 f: 021 425 0875 e: lodea@rmbrown.co.za Agiliti CC Colleen Van Wyk(BCom, LLB) Tel: 083 290 0848 Tel: 011 740 7374 Fax: 086 716 9694 Website: http://agiliti.co.za

Karen van Staden Tel: 012 998 9117 / 012 993 2132 Fax: 086 721 6467 / 086 662 1153 CREDIT BUREAUS IsEmail: it time karen@hauptearle.co.za to expand your Debt Counselling practice? office@hauptearle.co.za Compuscan www.hauptearle.co.za 0861 514 131 Do you need specialist Attorneys with a national footprint? www.compuscan.co.za Scheepers Attorneys Do you need expert advice on how to protect Gerhard Scheepers Computer Profile Bureau your practice and your clients? schlaw@iburst.co.za 0861 28 7328 Are you informed about recent statutory and www.c-p-b.co.za legal developments within the industry? LUCID Attorneys Experian Tel: 011 880 1100 www.experian.co.za Fax: 011 880 1101 Business- 0861 63 60 70 Email: info@lucidsa.com Attorneys servicing individual needsConsumer- 0861 10 5665 www.lucidliving.co.za/attorney

Pretoria: +27(0)12 998 9117

www.hauptearle.co.za

Nelspruit: +27 (0)13 752 7084


Micro Lenders Credit Bureau 0861 28 7328 www.mlcb.co.za TransUnion 0861 886 466 www.transunion.co.za XDS 0860 937 000 www.xds.co.za OTHER Association of Debt Recovery Agents: 011 781 3337 www.adraonline.co.za Banking Ombud 0860 800 900 www.obssa.co.za Credit Bureau Association 011 463 8211 www.cba.co.za

Legal Resources Centre 011 836 9831 www.lrc.org.za Long Term Insurance Ombud 021 657 5000 www.ombud.co.za Micro Finance South Africa 012 345 0809 www.mfsa.net Motor Industry Ombud 012 841 2945 www.miosa.co.za National Credit Regulator 0860 627 627 Ombud for Short term Insurance 011 726 8900 www.osti.co.za

Credit Providers Association 011 789 6825 www.cpa.org.za

Pension Funds Adjudicator 021 674 0209 www.pfa.org.za South African Fraud Prevention 0860 101 248 www.safps.org.za

Department of Trade and Industry 0861 843 384 www.thedti.gov.za

The Banking Association 011 370 3500 www.banking.org.za

Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Ombud 012 470 9080 www.faisombud.co.za

SA FRAUD PROTECTION SERVICE (FREE SERVICE) www.safps.org.za 0860 101 248

Financial Services Board 012 428 8000 www.fsb.co.za Furniture Traders Association 011 789 6770

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Debtfree DIGI Jan 2012 theDCI Special Edition  

The Special Edition of Debtfree DIGI for theDCI. Featuring an interview with the new manager of ABSA's Business Partner Interaction, Grace N...