Credit Law Assistance Services
Your credit record is a highly important aspect of your financial life, as it is a determining factor for many of your financial lending and repayment opportunities, it determines the amounts that you may lend and the interest rates of the financial lending. Your credit score is constituted of your previous lending and repayment habits such as loans and credit cards, and your bill paying habits, such as car payments, or rent. This is all saved under your credit report. This credit report is a statement highlighting your credit history.
Your credit report will include:
- Accounts that are more than three months in arrears and where the credit provider has noted that you are in default.
- Where and how often you have applied for credit in the past 24-months.
- Court record information, such as judgments.
Sometimes this credit score has a negative impact on your financial health and lending abilities, and it is possible to address this with credit law assistance services. You may be wondering “who do I go about clearing my credit record?”. Dreyer Engelbrecht Attorneys is able to assist you with clearing record on Credit Bureau.
Clearing My Credit Record with the Credit Bureau
It is not an easy process, however, with Credit Law Assistance Services you will be able to clear your credit record. As per the regulations, credit bureaus were required to remove the following information, held on the database as at 1 April 2014, from their records:
- All adverse credit information of consumer behaviour such as “delinquent”, “default,” and “slowing paying information.”
- All adverse credit information of enforcement action taken by the credit provider such as “handed over to collections” or “write-off.”
- All adverse credit information contained within the payment profile of a consumer.
Credit bureaus were further required to remove all paid-up civil judgements where the consumer has settled the capital amount. This will happen on an on-going basis.
Consumers are reminded that they are still liable for their debt under this new regulation. Seeking credit law assistance services does not pardon anyone from paying off their debts, as regulation requires the removal of adverse information from the credit bureau records and does not mean that the consumer’s debt is erased. Credit Law Assistance Services does not excuse anyone from the liabilities of not paying off their debts.
Credit law assistance services and the clearing of a credit record with the credit bureau will not result in the payment information being removed from anyone’s credit record. These behavioural trends are also analysed by credit providers in assessing the extent to which they are willing to grant a consumer credit, based on the probability of poor repayment.
Under the new regulation, all paid up judgements are must be removed from the credit bureau records on a continuous basis which gives consumers an incentive to pay off their debts. When a consumer has paid up their debt and proof of payment has been provided, the judgement will be removed within 7 days after receiving the proof of payment from the Credit Provider. The consumer no longer needs to go through a court process.
For the continuing removal of paid up judgments effective from 1 June 2014, the process is as follows:
- Once the judgment has been paid up, the credit / service provider has an obligation to send confirmation thereof to the credit bureaus within 7 days;
- Thereafter the credit bureau will remove the judgment from its records within 7 days of such notification from the credit / service provider;
- Consumers may also contact the credit bureaus to provide proof of a judgment being paid up. To do so, a consumer will need to provide the credit bureau with a copy of their ID, proof of residence and a confirmation of proof of payment letter from the credit provider (“the confirmation letter”)
- The credit bureaus will send the confirmation letter to the credit / service provider for verification, where after, provided the confirmation letter is valid, the judgment will be removed from the consumer’s record;
- Within 3 days of the removal of the judgment from the consumer’s record, all credit bureaus will be advised of the removal after which they will also proceed with the removal;
Dreyer Engelbrecht Attorneys Inc. will be able to help you clear your credit record with our professional credit law assistance services. We will work closely with you and the credit bureau to ensure that your credit record will be clear.
Rescission of Judgements
There ae other factors that could affect your clear credit record, and it is best to be on top of it from the beginning and the have credit law legal representation. If you don’t defend a summons issued against you for payment of money or a claim for damages, etc. the person suing you (the plaintiff) will ask the court to grant a judgment against you (the defendant), that remains valid for 30 years, that will affect your credit worthiness. You will be blacklisted in the records of the credit bureaus.
In the Magistrates’ Court
You can apply to have the judgment set aside (rescinded) if the person that sued you (the judgment creditor) consents to the rescission, or you can show that you had a good defence and did not sit back and do nothing when the creditor sued you.
In the High Court
Consent by the judgment creditor to the rescission is not enough, and you will have to satisfy the court that at the time that the judgment was taken against you, you had a valid defence and did not sit back and do nothing when the creditor sued you.
To rescind a judgment in the High Court, you need to show that you were not in “wilful default” and that “good cause” exists (that you had a good defence) at the time the Plaintiff sued you.
Before a person can be said to be in wilful default, he must have known that an action was being brought against him, but deliberately refrained from entering an Appearance to Defend, although he was free to do so, because he really could not care less about the consequences of not dealing with the matter.
Accordingly, if the summons did not come to your attention and the first you learnt about the Judgment was when the police arrived at your house to make an attachment, you could not be said to have been in wilful default. At present, the rules of our Courts do not require personal service, so that a summons is deemed to have been served, even if it is served on someone else on your behalf or is merely affixed to the front gate of your house. In these circumstances, it is possible and often likely that the summons will not be brought to your attention.
Another example would be where you dealt with the summons timeously by handing it to your attorney, but he inadvertently and not negligently misplaced the file in his office and it was through no fault of your own that Judgment was entered against you.
Good cause (bona fide defence)
Once you have satisfied the Court that you were not in wilful default in allowing the Judgment to be entered against you, you must demonstrate that a substantial defence exists. It would be sufficient to show that you have a prima facie defence that is likely to succeed at trial.
Rule 42 of the High Court Rules, sets out the grounds for the variation and rescission of an order. Good cause exists where:
- an order or judgment was wrongly sought or granted in the absence of any affected party;
- there is an ambiguity, a patent error or omission to the extent of such ambiguity;
- an order or judgment was granted as a result of a mistake common to the parties.
If the judgment creditor does consent to the rescission, the court will take the following into account:
- reasonableness in the behaviour of the applicant (the person bringing the application to set aside the judgments);
- that the application is made in good faith; and that
- the applicant has a bona fide substantial legal defence (based on the merits of the case).
Examples of legal defences
The following are examples of a good defence:
- fraud by the Plaintiff;
- an error in law (justus error);
- new documents are discovered;
- judgment was granted by default (without the Defendant being aware of the summons in the first place);
- on grounds of just cause (justus causa).
At the end of the day, whether or not a court will set a judgment aside is solely within the discretion of the judge that hears the application.