What is the legal process?

 

It is any process which involves our courts and which is executed in accordance with the Rules and Procedures prescribed by either the Magistrates Court Act or the Superior Courts Act.

 

How is legal process started?

 

It can be initiated by either the issue of a summons or the set down of an Application.

 

What must I do if a summons is served on me?

 

Contact the creditor’s (Plaintiff) attorneys as soon as possible to see what can be done to avoid judgment from being granted by the court.  If you have no defence to the claim but are simply not in a financial position to pay, the attorney may be instructed by your creditor to suspend further legal pending your undertaking to pay off the amount claimed in reasonable monthly instalments that you can afford. This agreement is generally considered an indulgence on the part of your creditor and will not prejudice your creditor’s rights to proceed with the legal process to judgment in the event of your failing to pay the monthly instalments on due date. The attorney may get you to acknowledge your liability by signing a Consent to judgment which will only be used in the event of your failing to pay.

If you disagree or dispute your liability or the amount of the claim,  you should notify the court and the Plaintiff’s attorneys that you wish to defend the matter – best you instruct an attorney to help you with this!

 

What are the consequences for me of legal action?

 

If you choose not to defend, your creditor (Plaintiff) will ask the court to grant judgment against you for the amount of the claim, the interest on the claim amount plus legal costs as per the relevant court tariff.

If you choose to defend, the matter may end up in a trial which will be extremely expensive for both you and your creditor (Plaintiff)

If you lose the case, you will have to pay both your attorney’s costs as well as the judgment amount which includes the claim, interest and the legal costs of your creditor’s attorneys as per the relevant Court tariff.

 

What are the consequences for me of a judgment?

 

  • The creditor’s right to claim will be preserved for a period of 30 years (extends the prescription period by 30 years)
  • Your creditor may execute the judgment against you at any time during the 30 year period after the date of the judgment by:
  • Obtaining a garnishee order against your employer
  • Having the sheriff attach and sell your property
  • Obtaining an order against you to pay the debt in monthly instalments due regard being had to your monthly income and living expenses
  • Sequestrating your estate for the benefit of all your creditors

 

  • You will be listed with the credit bureaus as a judgment debtor and be disqualified from being granted credit in the future.How much are the legal Costs?

These costs are prescribed by the tariff of the relevant court and will vary depending on the value of the claim and whether the matter is defended or not. You will be liable for the attorney’s costs (including the costs of a correspondent attorney), the costs of the sheriff and the costs of an advocate if instructed. Depending on the amount of your debt, these costs can vary between R400 and R1 200 if the matter is not defended. If you elect to defend the matter, your liability for legal costs could exceed R50 000.

STEPS TAKEN WHEN PROCEEDINGS ARE INSTITUTED

1.       A notice in terms of section 129 of the National Credit Act No.34 of 2005, is the first step in legal proceedings – this notice advises you of your rights as a consumer. Should you fail to respond within 10 business days from the date of the letter, the credit provider will be entitled to instruct its attorneys (lawyers) issue and serve a summons against you.

 

2.       Should you fail to respond to the section 129 notice or fail to contact us, the attorneys (lawyers) will prepare the summons for issue by the court in the area where you live or work. If you allow this to happen, you will lose your rights under section 129 of the National Credit Act and will also be liable for all the legal costs including the court and sheriff fees.

 

3.      The sheriff of the court will serve the Summons on you at the address chosen and supplied by you to our client. If you are no longer at this address, and would like to receive personal service of the summons, you can e-mail your new physical (street) address (home or work).  This information will be passed on to the attorneys to ensure that you receive the summons.

 

4.       In the event that the sheriff is unable to serve on your physical home address, summons will be served at your place of employment.

 

5.       Should you fail to notify the attorneys and the court of your intention to defend the action, the attorneys will request that the court grant judgment against you in your absence – this is called Default Judgment.

 

6.       Once judgment is obtained a credit provider may elect to institute execution proceedings against you which include the attachment and sale of your property, or an order against your employer (garnishee) to deduct an amount of your salary or pay until such time as the full amount owing including costs and interest have been paid.

 

7.      A judgment will ruin your credit rating and make it impossible for you to get credit in the future. Furthermore, a judgment is valid and enforceable against you for a period of 30 years from the date that it is granted

If you have not already entered into an affordable payment arrangement, you must contact us on 0861236863 or submit a repayment offer online via our Customer Portal.

 

We can assist by submitting your repayment plan to your creditor for acceptance. Acceptance of your offer should result in the suspension of the legal action pending settlement of your debt.

 

If you have not already entered into an affordable payment arrangement with us, you may do so by contacting one of our helpful consultants on 087 260 0613 or by submitting a repayment offer online via our Customer Portal.

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