How regulators play God, and fail

Posted 22 March 2018

Regulations intended to protect the poor end up doing the reverse. The Reserve Bank is there to "protect the value of the ran". How do you think that has panned out? Credit regulators accuse Shoprite of reckless lending in a bizarre ruling that affected just 0,2% of loans. And taxi regulations encourage violence against Uber drivers, but the real target of that violence is you, argues Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation. 

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If you're a Kuga owner, take on the finance companies rather than Ford

Posted 21 February 2017

The story of the self-immolating Kuga has become a PR nightmare for Ford, and a matter of huge concern for Kuga owners, several of whom are reportedly planning a class action against the company. Leonard Benjamin argues that this could be self-defeating. First, you have to apply to the court to be recognised as a class, then begins the long and agonising process of litigating. A far better solution is to hand back the car to Ford, stop paying the instalments, wait for the financing bank to sue, and then bring a counter-claim under the National Credit Act.

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Bank pays home owner R300,000 after being caught in insurance rip-off

Posted 16 February 2017

Maybe it's not the mortgage payments that are killing you. Maybe it's the insurance premiums buried in the monthly mortgage instalments. This is no joke. Three cases have come to light where home owners found themselves drowning - not because of the mortgage payments, but because of the insurance products they were sold at the time they took out the loan.

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How to stop paying illegal garnishee orders in one simple step

Posted 20 January 2017

Garnishee orders are illegal if they are issued in a remote jurisdiction, and the law allows you simply to stop paying and recover anything you paid in settlement of these illegal orders, plus interest. Here's how you do it.

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Are you paying old (prescribed) debt?

Posted 26 September 2016

The debt collection industry was dealt a fatal blow in March when it became illegal for companies to attempt to get someone to pay a prescribed (old) debt. But still they try, as this article by Wendy Knowler makes clear. You could be paying prescribed debt right now, even though it is unlawful for companies to collect this from you.

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OUTA investigating class action against Eskom

Posted 21 August 2016

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has become a major thorn in the side of State-Owned Enterprises. It started out by launching SA's most effective consumer boycott of e-tolls in 2013, and has since put SAA and now Eskom in its sights. OUTA is doing the work that public watchdogs and regulators are supposed to do - but don't.

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Consumer rights are slipping away

Posted 15 March 2016

Consumer rights in South Africa are under assault, says a recent paper from the Free Market Foundation. The erosion of these rights is an assault on South Africans' constitutional rights to dignity and information, all neatly packaged as "protection of consumer rights." Take a look at some of the monstrosities served up by government.

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Plain packaging of cigarettes is tantamount to expropriation

Posted 03 November 2015

The already demonised tobacco industry now faces further interference from the nanny state in the form of new regulations requiring plain cigarette packets and a ban on smoking in public places. Whether you smoke or not, this encroachment on freedom of choice and private property is disturbing.

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You think home repossessions is a middle class affair? Welcome to Cosmo City

Posted 23 June 2015

The financial crisis has percolated down to first time home buyers in Cosmo City near Johannesburg, many of whom claim they have been evicted irregularly after having their homes repossessed. Scores of Cosmo City residents have been tossed out of their houses after falling into arrears on their bonds. Maxwell Dube of Cosmo City Chronicle decided to investigate and found 23 of these - all of them bonded with Absa - ended up in the hands of just one investor. The more he dug, the fishier the whole thing smelt.  

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SA in the Stone Age when it comes to home repossessions

Posted 11 June 2015

South African laws are in the Stone Age when it comes to home repossessions according to a recent study. SA law specifically prevents repossessed homes being sold at auction with a reserve price in place, which is the opposite of what is required in other countries.

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50% increase in complaints to Credit Ombud last year

Posted 05 March 2015

The Credit Ombud reported a 50% increase in complaints over the last year, most of them related to "Emolument Attachment Orders". One large lender appears to have been responsible for a large percentage of these complaints, but the Credit Ombud does not say which company it was.

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Zuma, the constitutional warrior, should now tackle FSB

Posted 04 February 2015

Proposed amendments to the 2013 Financial Services Laws Genertal Amendment Act read, in parts, like a masterpiece in economic illiteracy. It is a free lunch fantasy where reductions in consumer freedom, dressed up as industry regulation, yield bountiful blessings at zero cost.

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The case of the disgruntled customer who ran his own billboard campaign

Posted 15 January 2015

When a disgruntled cell phone customer got no satisfaction from the company management, he took his campaign for consumer justice to the public - by way of a billboard proclaiming the company "the most useless service provider in SA." It was the start of an angry court exchange.

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The rise of the consumer

Posted 14 January 2015

A draft Code of Conduct for the Consumer Protection Act was published for comment late last year. It establishes an Ombud to deal with consumer complaints, and sets out to eliminate unfair, fraudulent and undesirable trade practices.

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Changes to court rules will stop auction sales at ridiculous prices

Posted 31 January 2014

Proposed changes to court rules will stop banks from selling repossessed houses at ridiculous prices. This is in response to court judgments where the constitutional right to adequate housing has been infringed.  

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Consumer Protection Act now on a roll

Posted 11 April 2013

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) had a troubled birth, but now appears to be making steady progress in fulfilling its mandate to safeguard consumer rights by overseeing the formulation of new industry consumer codes.

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