When may a Debt Collector legally recover money? Know your rights as a Debtor!

Today, more and more debt collectorSouth Africans are over indebted, or have at one stage of their lives been over indebted and had to deal with the unpleasantness of threats and demands received from Debt Collectors.

It also is becoming quite common for Debtors to be constantly harassed by Debt Collectors to make payment on accounts which have already been settled or which never existed.

In South Africa, Debt Collection and recovery of money owed is regulated by the Debt Collection Act No. 114 of 1998, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the “Debt Collection Act”).

When may a Debtor Collector legally recover money? What protection do Debtors have? These are some of the key questions a Debtor is faced with.

The recovery of money is regulated by Section 19 of the Debt Collections Act, which states as follows:

1. A Debt Collector shall not recover from a Debtor any amount other than:

a) the capital amount of a debt due and interest legally due and payable thereon for the period during which the capital amount remains unpaid; and
b) necessary expenses and fees prescribed by the Minister in the Gazette after consultation with the Council.

2. Upon request by a Debtor and against payment of any prescribed fee, the clerk of a Magistrate’s Court or a costs committee of a provincial law society may tax or assess any account or statement of costs, interest and payments claimed to be owed by a Debtor to a Debt Collector or his or her client.

3. The provisions of subsection (2) shall not be construed as preventing the taxation or assessment of any further account or statement of costs reflecting further amounts which become payable by the Debtor to the Debt Collector or his or her client and which arise from the same cause of debt as that from which amounts reflected in an already taxed or assessed account or statement of costs arose.

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