National Credit Act, 2005 (Act No. 34 of 2005)

Chapter 4 : Consumer Credit Policy

Part A : Consumer Rights

60. Right to apply for credit

1)        Every adult natural person, and every juristic person or association of persons, has a right to apply to a credit provider forcredit.

 

2)        Subject to sections 61 and 66, a credit provider has a right to refuse to enter into a credit agreement with any prospective consumer on reasonable commercial grounds that are consistent with its customary risk management and underwriting practices.

 

3)        Subject to sections 61 and 92(3), nothing in this Act establishes a right of any person to require a credit provider to enter into a credit agreement with that person.

61. Protection against discrimination in respect of credit

1)        Relative to the treatment of any other consumer or prospective consumer, a credit provider must not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against any natural person, juristic person or association of persons on one or more grounds set out in section 9(3) of the Constitution, or one or more grounds set out in Chapter 2 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, when-

a)        assessing the ability of the person to meet the obligations of a proposed credit agreement;

b)        deciding whether to refuse an application to enter into a credit agreement, or to offer or enter into a credit agreement;

c)        determining any aspect of the cost of a credit agreement to the consumer;

d)        proposing or agreeing the terms and conditions of a credit agreement;

e)        assessing or requiring compliance by the person with the terms of a credit agreement;

f)          exercising any right of the credit provider under a credit agreement, this Act or applicable provincial legislation;

g)        determining whether to continue, enforce, seek judgment in respect of, or terminate a credit agreement; or

h)        determining whether to report, or reporting, any credit information or record.

 

2)        Subsection (1), read with the changes required by the context, applies equally to-

a)        a credit bureau, when offering its services to the public, and when accepting, compiling, analysing, modifying or reporting any credit information or record;

b)        the ombud with jurisdiction or alternative dispute resolution agent, when offering or holding out the ability to resolve a dispute or assist in the resolution of a dispute between a credit provider and a consumer in terms of this Act, or in accepting or refusing a referral of such a matter, or in delivering any such service to credit providers and consumers;

c)        a debt counsellor when offering or holding out the ability to serve as a debt counsellor in terms of this Act, or in accepting or refusing a referral of such a matter, or in delivering any such service to consumers; and

d)        an employer or trade union, when acting in terms of section 75(3) or (4).

 

3)        Subsections (1) and (2) apply in respect of a consumer or prospective consumer that is an association or juristic person to prohibit unfair discrimination against that association or juristic person based on the characteristics of any natural person who is a member, associate, owner, manager, employee, client or customer of that association or juristic person.

 

4)        It is not discrimination on the basis of age to-

a)        refuse to receive or consider an application for credit from an unemancipated minor; or

b)        refuse to offer an unlawful credit agreement to, or enter into an unlawful credit agreement with, an unemancipated minor.

 

5)        A credit provider may determine for itself any scoring or other evaluative mechanism or model to be used in managing, underwriting and pricing credit risk, provided that any such mechanism or model is not founded or structured upon astatistical or other analysis in which the basis of risk categorisation, differentiation or assessment is a ground of unfair discrimination prohibited in section 9(3) of the Constitution.

 

6)        In respect of an alleged contravention of this section, any person contemplated in section 20(1) of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, may either-

a)        institute proceedings before an equality court, in terms of Chapter 4 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act; or

b)        make a complaint to the National Credit Regulator in terms of section 136, which must refer the complaint to the equality court, if the complaint appears to be valid.

 

7)        A court may draw an inference that a credit provider has discriminated unfairly against a consumer or prospective consumer if that credit provider-

a)        knew or reasonably could have known that the consumer or prospective consumer, or a natural person contemplated in subsection (3), was a historically disadvantaged person;

b)        has made a decision contemplated in section 62(1)(a) through (d), with respect to that consumer or prospective consumer; and

c)        has refused, or failed without reasonable cause, to respond to a request made in terms of section 62 in respect of that decision.

62. Right to reasons for credit being refused

1)        On request from a consumer, a credit provider must advise that consumer in writing of the dominant reason for-

a)        refusing to enter into a credit agreement with that consumer;

b)        offering that consumer a lower credit limit under a credit facility than applied for by the consumer, or reducing the credit limit under an existing credit facility;

c)        refusing a request from the consumer to increase a credit limit under an existing credit facility; or

d)        refusing to renew an expiring credit card or similar renewable credit facility with that consumer.

 

2)        When responding to a request in terms of subsection (1), a credit provider who has based its decision on an adverse credit report received from a credit bureau must advise the consumer in writing of the name, address and other contact particulars of that credit bureau.

 

3)        On application by a credit provider, the Tribunal may make an order limiting the credit provider’s obligation in terms of this section if the Tribunal is satisfied that the consumer’s requests for information are frivolous or vexatious.

63. Right to information in official language

1)        A consumer has a right to receive any document that is required in terms of this Act in an official language that the consumer reads or understands, to the extent that is reasonable having regard to usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population ordinarily served by the person required to deliver that document.

 

2)        If the producer of a document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act is, or is required to be, a registrant, that person must-

a)        make a submission to the National Credit Regulator proposing to make such documents available in at least two official languages; and

b)        offer each consumer an opportunity to choose an official language in which to receive any document, from among at least two official languages as determined in accordance with a proposal that has been approved by the National Credit Regulator.

 

3)        A proposal in terms of subsection (2) may propose-

a)        the same official languages for use throughout the Republic; or

b)        different official languages for use in different parts of the Republic.

 

4)        The National Credit Regulator must-

a)        consider each proposal in terms of subsection (2) having regard to usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population ordinarily served by the person making the proposal; and

b)        either-

i)          approve the proposal; or

ii)         require the person making the proposal to submit a fresh proposal, if the National Credit Regulator concludes that the proposal does not adequately provide for the maximum practicable enjoyment of the right set out in subsection (1).

 

5)        The person who made a proposal that is the subject of a decision of the National Credit Regulator in terms of subsection (4)(b)(ii) may apply to the Tribunal to review that decision, and the Tribunal may make an order confirming or setting aside the decision.

 

6)        If the producer of a document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act is not a registrant, and not required to register, that person must offer the consumer an opportunity to choose an official language in which to receive that document from among at least two official languages selected by the producer of the document, having regard to usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population ordinarily served by that person.

 

7)        The producer of a document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act must provide each such document to the consumer in the official language chosen by the consumer in terms of this section.

 

8)        The Minister may prescribe at least two official languages to be used by the National Credit Regulator in any documents it is required to deliver in terms of this Act, for all or particular parts of the Republic, so as to give maximum effect to the right set out in subsection (1).

64. Right to information in plain and understandable language

1)        The producer of a document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act must provide that document-

a)        in the prescribed form, if any, for that document; or

b)        in plain language, if no form has been prescribed for that document.

 

2)        For the purposes of this Act, a document is in plain language if it is reasonable to conclude that an ordinary consumer of the class of persons for whom the document is intended, with average literacy skills and minimal credit experience, could be expected to understand the content, significance, and import of the document without undue effort, having regard to-

a)        the context, comprehensiveness and consistency of the document;

b)        the organisation, form and style of the document;

c)        the vocabulary, usage and sentence structure of the text; and

d)        the use of any illustrations, examples, headings, or other aids to reading and understanding.

 

3)        The National Credit Regulator may publish guidelines for methods of assessing whether a document satisfies the requirements of subsection (1)(b).

 

4)        This section does not apply to a developmental credit agreement if-

a)        the National Credit Regulator has pre-approved the form of all documents to be used by the credit provider for such credit agreements in terms of this Act;

and

b)        the credit provider has used only those pre-approved forms in dealing with the particular consumer.

 

5)        When pre-approving any form of documents as contemplated in subsection (4), the National Credit Regulator must balance the need for efficiency of the credit provider with the principles of subsection (1)(b).

65. Right to receive documents

1)        Every document that is required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act must be delivered in the prescribedmanner, if any.

 

2)        If no method has been prescribed for the delivery of a particular document to a consumer, the person required to deliver that document must-

a)        make the document available to the consumer through one or more of the following mechanisms-

i)          in person at the business premises of the credit provider, or at any other location designated by the consumer but at the consumer’s expense, or by ordinary mail;

ii)         by fax;

iii)        by email; or

iv)        by printable web-page; and

b)        deliver it to the consumer in the manner chosen by the consumer from the options made available in terms of paragraph (a).

 

3)        A credit provider must not charge a fee for the original copy of any document required to be delivered to a consumer in terms of this Act.

 

4)        On written request from the consumer the credit provider must provide the consumer with-

a)        a single replacement copy of a document required in terms of this Act, without charge to the consumer, at any time within a year after the date for original delivery of that document; and

b)        any other replacement copy, subject to any search and production fees permitted by regulation.

 

5)        On application by a credit provider, the Tribunal may make an order limiting the credit provider’s obligation in terms of subsection (4) if the Tribunal is satisfied that the consumer’s requests for information are frivolous or vexatious.

 

6)        Subsections (3), (4) and (5) do not apply to a developmental credit agreement if-

a)        the National Credit Regulator has pre-approved procedures to be followed by the credit provider in the delivery of documents with respect to such credit agreements in terms of this Act; and

b)        the credit provider has complied with those pre-approved procedures in dealing with the particular consumer.

 

7)        When pre-approving any procedure as contemplated in subsection (6), the National Credit Regulator must balance the need for efficiency of the credit provider with the principles of subsections (1) to (5).

66. Protection of consumer credit rights

1)        A credit provider must not, in response to a consumer exercising, asserting or seeking to uphold any right set out in this Act or in a credit agreement-

a)        discriminate directly or indirectly against the consumer, compared to the credit provider’s treatment of any other consumer who has not exercised, asserted or sought to uphold such a right;

b)        penalise the consumer;

c)        alter, or propose to alter, the terms or conditions of a credit agreement with the consumer, to the detriment of the consumer; or

d)        take any action to accelerate, enforce, suspend or terminate a credit agreement with the consumer.

 

2)        If a credit agreement, or any provision of such an agreement is, in terms of this Act, declared to be unlawful or is severed from the agreement, the credit provider who is a party to that agreement must not, in response to that decision-

a)        directly or indirectly penalise another party to that agreement when taking any action contemplated in section 61(1);

b)        alter the terms or conditions of any other credit agreement with another party to the impugned agreement, except to the extent necessary to correct a similarly unlawful provision; or

c)        take any action to accelerate, enforce, suspend or terminate another credit agreement with another party to the impugned agreement.

Debt Counsellors

Marsia Kuypers

Tel: 082 396 2568

Fax: 086 556 3328

Area: Pretoria

Jan-Viljoen Coetzee

Tel: 084 549 1755

Fax: 086 621 9193

Area: Nina Park

Valerie Nakale

Tel: 018 381 8768

Fax: 018 381 8604

Area: Mafikeng

Dean Morris

Tel: 083 645 4094

Fax: 031 763 4363

Area: La Lucia

Joana Vivier

Tel: 053 832 6229

Fax: 086 543 4640

Area: Kimberley

Jacques Jooste

Tel: 011 794 7555

Fax: 011 794 9965

Area: Johannesburg

Marlene Stein

Tel: 012 667 4177

Fax: 086 527 2203

Area: Irene

Heidi Naude

Tel: 044 873 0281

Fax: 086 512 5012

Area: George

Herbert Theron

Tel: 011 472 0088

Fax: 086 655 6730

Area: Florida

Isabe Landman

Tel: 041 933 1189

Fax: 086 591 2676

Area: Despatch

Andiswa Tinto

Tel: 021 431 9134

Fax: 086 523 7084

Area: Cape Town

Jaco Janse Van Rensburg

Tel: 082 568 4969

Fax: 086 645 0389

Area: Barberton

Monique Snyders

Tel: 032 946 3024

Fax: 086 588 4605

Area: Ballito

Christopher Beukes

Tel: 084 2577599

Fax: 021 637 5023

Area: Athlone

Lydia Kinnear

Tel: 082 824 6338

Fax: 086 537 5976

Area: Annlin

Anlizette Schuurman

Tel: 031 903 3840

Fax: 031 701 5570

Area: Amanzimtoti

Kelebogile Mooketsi

Tel: 082 299 3430

Fax: 086 695 3280

Area: Amandasig

Annerie Marais

Tel: 083 703 0486

Fax: 045 838 6572

Area: Aliwall North

Rerandzo Mokgwatlheng

Tel: 082 430 6329

Fax: 011 805 8348

Area: Alexandra Township

Daniel Lezar

Tel: 011 907 1022

Fax: 011 907 1490

Area: Alberton