Bheki Mashile's Letter from Umjindi

Clipping those vultures' wings



"I'm having an out of money experience"



I’ve told you before and now I am going to tell you again. Please, pretty please with sugar on top, listen this time. Do not be intimidated by lawyers going after you for debt collection.

Here’s a success story from Barberton that I hope, or rather trust, will give you a bit of the fighting spirit you need to protect yourself from these vultures.

Now, a good friend calls me and says hey, I have a problem with a debt. OK, I say, what’s up? who do you owe? and how much are they hitting you up for?

Well I owe for my child’s school fees and the school has handed me over to lawyers, he says. OK, I say, if you owe you owe, now what is the problem? Well, he says, I agreed to settle but they had already instituted a debit order, so I said to them “here is a deposit of R2,000 and when the debit order goes through I will expect the R2,000 back.” Yeah right!

Anyway, the amount my friend owed was R4,300, which if I may add he had no problem acknowledging. After all he did not want his kid thrown out of the school, thus the R2,000 deposit.

A short time later the debit order also goes through, now this vulture has a whopping R6,300 paid to her. Hey, says my friend! What about my R2,000 deposit to be refunded?

Typical legal vulture says that is going to costs. Anyway letters go back and forth with my friend “kindly” requesting the refund of the R2,000. And like the idiot he was being he says to me Bheki I am hoping this lawyer will see that I am respecting her as a colleague. I say colleague, you are an interpreter at the Magistrates Court she does not see you as a colleague and besides these lawyers in the debt collection business don’t give a s**t who you are.

I was tempted to say to him you are just a black s***t that they can take advantage of. But then I reminded myself that these guys don’t care if you are black, white, green, purple or blue; all you are to them is easy pickings.

And why are you easy pickings? Because chances are you have failed to educate yourselves about the basic protections that are afforded to debtors.

Yes, the courts and parliament are your best friends regarding these debt matters. Now please, pretty please, get a hold of the “Schedule of Particulars”, this is a document provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which prescribes what costs these vultures can add on to your debt: phone calls, emails, sms’s etc. This is how they balloon your debt.

Then also look at parliament’s “Debt Collectors Amendment Bill of 2016”, that too will tell you how you can protect yourself from being over-charged for costs. Look, if you owe you owe, but it does not mean you need to get ripped off.

Back to my friend. I advised him to hit this so-called colleague with a letter of demand. He did, and according to an SMS he sent me after delivering the letter the legal “vulture” immediately paid the R2,000 into his e-wallet. But threatened to come after him for services rendered. I said what services? To hell with her.

Sorry about the curses, but in a situation like this all kindness and proper language goes out the window. I mean after all, do you really think the American Joint Chiefs of Staff said “hey these guys hit us let’s hit back” after 9/11 in New York City. No way I went to a military college in the States, they probably said,…. Well, you can guess the words they used.

In closing, If you are in debt, fine, make means to pay your debt, but do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Once again, remember the Schedule of Particulars from the DOJ and the Debt Collectors Amendment Bill of 2016. Download them and remember the Magistrates in your local courts are your friends, they know about these regulations and the shady practices of debt collectors.

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