Con­sumers should aim to avoid gar­nishee or­ders

Weekend Witness - - Money -

ABOUT half a mil­lion South Africans in the pri­vate sec­tor have emol­u­ment at­tach­ment or­ders (more com­monly known as gar­nishee or­ders) against them, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study by the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria Law Clinic.

Kevin Hur­witz, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of, said con­sumers should speak to their credit providers when in dan­ger of de­fault­ing on a re­pay­ment, rather than fall into ar­rears and hope the debt will go away al­to­gether, of­ten re­sult­ing in a gar­nishee or­der be­ing im­ple­mented.

“Credit providers un­der­stand that cir­cum­stances can change and that there are of­ten valid rea­sons for con­sumers not be­ing able to stick to their re­pay­ment com­mit­ments.

“It is vi­tal for con­sumers to con­tact their credit providers and to­gether agree on a re­pay­ment ar­ range­ment, rather than try­ing to avoid the credit provider com­pletely,” he said.

A gar­nishee or­der is a court­or­dered in­struc­tion that re­quires em­ploy­ers to deduct money owed to a cred­i­tor from an em­ployee’s salary be­fore it is paid out to the em­ployee.

Re­cent re­ports of wide­spread abuse of this type of debt col­lec­tion have fu­elled de­bate about the le­gal­ity and en­force­ment of th­ese or­ders.

“We be­lieve a gar­nishee or­der should be con­sid­ered as a last re­sort, rather than the go­to tool for debt col­lec­tion,” said Hur­witz.

He said that in Wonga’s case, they try to con­tact the con­sumer from the day of de­fault via e­mail, SMS and tele­phone.

“We also urge the con­sumer to get in touch and to speak to us, so that we can dis­cuss the

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