Thursday 9 April 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

During the year 2000 I bought a car radio from a furniture store in Selibe Phikwe on credit. Unfortunately I later defaulted and could not pay regularly. Eventually my account was forwarded to a debt collector for collection. I continued paying my account at the debt collector until I made my final payment in October 2004 after which I was given a final payment certificate. I was happy that my account had finally been cleared although I knew that I have been blacklisted with ITC which I actually did not mind that much. In August 2006 I tried to open a bank account but they told me that I still owed the furniture store an amount of around P600 which I did not know since I have cleared my account.

I contacted the store which confirmed that I owed them. I faxed the final payment certificate to the manager but he told me that it is none of his business to make follow ups since I am the one who defaulted on my payment (even though I had since made good) and I will have to pay up or make a follow-up with the debt collector. The debt collector insisted that I no longer owed the store any more and they have submitted my file to the store for appropriate action. I took the matter to Consumer Affairs but since I submitted my complaint and relevant documents there has been no feedback even when I phone them.

My question now is who is supposed to make follow up to trace where the money could have gone between me and the debt collector? Do I deserve to be treated this way, even though I was once a bad payer?

It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you have done in the past, you always deserve to be helped. I’m sure you realise that defaulting on your repayments was a bad move but you deserve credit for facing up to your debts and not trying to run away from them.

I think it’s therefore bad of the furniture store to treat you this way.

They handed over the debt to a responsible firm of debt collectors who fulfilled their obligations perfectly well. They collected everything they were instructed to collect. The fact that they gave you a final payment certificate means that you have done everything you are supposed to do.

I suggest that you write to the store, explaining that you have fulfilled your obligations completely as shown by the final payment certificate. Tell them that you expect your record at TransUnion (they’re not called ITC any more) to be corrected to reflect your complete repayment. Give them 7 days to fix the problem and demand they they write to you confirming that they’ve settled the issue and that you owe them nothing.

Also you should write to TransUnion as well telling them that you dispute the outstanding debt. They are then obliged to record on their systems that you disagree with what the furniture store has told them.

If this doesn’t fix the problem let us know and we’ll get in touch with them.

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