‘Don’t pay prescribed debt’

Cape Town – There are thousands of debt collectors and attorneys demanding and collecting money from people even though the amount owed is prescribed.

Debt Counsellors Association of SA (DCASA) president Paul Slot said yesterday in terms of the Credit Act, creditors cannot demand payment if they have not contacted you in three years. Slot said consumers had no idea that their debt was prescribed.

Since March last year if you had not made a payment on an item or had not been informed by the credit provider about payment in three years, it is considered prescribed debt.

“You have every right to put down the phone of a collector trying to get you to pay prescribed debt.”

But prescribed debt excludes municipal accounts, payments to Sars and TV licences.

Debt management company Debt Rescue chairperson Neil Roets said prescribed debt had always been a reality before the National Credit Act amendment.

DebtBusters spokesperson Wendy Monkley said consumers can protect themselves against unscrupulous collectors by not acknowledging the debt when contacted.

“Acknowledgement of the debt would break the cycle of prescription, making the consumer liable. Consumers should also take down the details of who is calling and which company they represent and report these illegal practices to the NCR.”

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