Help for R699 victims

2014-07-16 00:00

THERE’S hope for victims of the “R699 vehicle scheme” as a Port Elizabeth law firm has offered to tackle meritorious cases free of charge.

And more help is on the way in the form of the National Credit Regulator (NCR) , which yesterday issued a Compliance Notice against Satinsky Group who ran the scheme.

The notice requires Satinsky to submit an audit report to the NCR confirming that its advertisements for credit comply with the National Credit Act.

This after some 17 000 “R699” car owners who signed up with the Satinsky Group, were told that the company had been liquidated.

Duncan Heuer of the Pieterse Cary Finlaison Attorney Group is now trying to help people affected by this “scheme gone sour”.

“Around 1 000 people have contacted us through our SMS service where we asked victims to send us their e-mail ­addresses. We then put them on a database where we keep them informed regarding the merits and the way forward,” said Heuer.

Victims were complaining about struggling to service their loans, banks were having to restructure their plans, and interest rates on loans were being increased, according to Heuer.

“Our attorneys, senior and junior advocates are still in discussions regarding the merits with senior advocates as to whether the complainants have a strong case against the company,” he said.

He told sister newspaper Die Burger last week they have decided to help the people because many of them did not have the proper information about the arrangement.

“Many also did not have a copy of the agreement with them,” he said.

“Last week, when news broke that the Satinsky Group stopped its agreement with the Blue Lakes company in Hong Kong, we decided to assist people affected.

“If we decide to take this case to court and win, we will claim compensation from the company.”

After looking at some of the contracts supplied by victims, Heuer said there were definite concerns in the way the company operated.

Nomsa Motshegare, CEO of the NCR, said the audit report will provide assurance that all advertisements appearing on vehicles are in compliance with the provisions of the NCA.

In terms of the National Credit Act, the Satinsky advertisement should have disclosed the instalment amount, the number of instalments, interest rates, fees and compulsory insurances and residual or final amount payments.

“Satinsky has an opportunity to bring its credit marketing practices in line with the provisions of the NCA.

“Should it fail to do so, the NCR will approach the National Consumer Tribunal for stringent orders which may include an administrative fine,” said Motshegare.

• Contact Duncan Heuer at Pieterse Cary Finlaison on 0 041 585 0980.

THIS WAS THE DEAL:

New cars were purchased from Satinsky at a monthly instalment of R699 per month, after the normal vehicle loan agreement provided by the banks was offset by fees earned from advertising decals (banners) on the new cars.

Motorists had to drive a certain number of kilometres and provide proof of this to Satinsky to earn the advertising fees.

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