Jobs are scarce and salaries aren’t keeping up with inflation, so something’s got to give. As the cost of living is increasing, South Africans have less disposable income and they are more inclined to look to personal loans or quick loans to make it through a normal month.
Can I use Prescription as a defence for old debt?
I have a judgement on my credit report for 5 years now. It was when I lost my property back then. There was a shortfall, but I went to the bank via lawyers. The house was sold out of hand and not auctioned. The selling price did not completely cover the outstanding balance on the bond, and there was a shortfall, which they told me they have arranged with the bank under prescription. The bank wrote it off.
They have now tried to collect and it has been over three years since they last contacted me, either directly or through an agency. They have sold the debt to a collections agency.
Can I use prescription as defence?
Thank you for your question.
You can absolutely use prescription as a defence. If the debt collectors contact you, simply tell them that the debt has prescribed and put down the phone. You must be very careful not to fall into a trap, as they have been using these type of tactics for decades in an attempt to disrupt the prescription of a debt. If you make a payment of any kind or acknowledge the debt by signing something or giving them written acknowledgement it will cause the prescription to be interrupted.
Some of the tactics include debt collectors telling you that they will assist you to make the debt “go away” and send it back to the bank for a very small fee. This will then constitute a payment on the debt and prescription will be interrupted. So, be very careful!
Once they have contacted you and you told them that the debt has prescribed I would suggest that you talk to an attorney immediately who can then take the case further. The attorney will then be able to officially raise your defence of prescription which should then stand in court.
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