I lost my job end of February 2016 (I wasn’t retrenched, just told not to come back). I was then without a job for 9 months during which time I worked temporarily for a couple of companies/ individuals, but obviously my income wasn’t steady and way less than what I used to earn, so consequently I fell behind on my vehicle payments and I couldn’t commit to an amount to be paid by the end of each month as I had absolutely no way of knowing how much money I’d have available. At around August last year I was behind R8 900 (3 x instalments as well as R800+ because ABSA decided to insure my car on my behalf without my consent, although I had insurance from day one) and received a call from ABSA to repossess my car. I lost my cool a bit and after a brief verbal argument I told them that I’d not hand over the car to them unless they are willing to write off the entire outstanding balance of R120 000 (which obviously they wouldn’t).
I am currently R5 200 behind since I made extra payments whenever I could and my last two debit orders have not been returned since I started a permanent job in December, but I got phoned up by debt tracers/ collectors today informing me that they need to repo my car today (I have confirmed that no court order/ summons have been issued) or else I need to settle the full outstanding amount (R5200 as well as my debit order due on 1 March) to avoid the repo.
I feel deeply prejudiced since I am working two jobs to pay off debt, I have cancelled my contracts such as data, cellphone, gym (all of which I had to fork out cancellation fees) and paid off my clothing accounts so that I can have more cash to deposit towards my installments, but it seems as if ABSA won;’t have any of it.
I’d like to know what my rights are with regards to the repossession and the fact that my financing account with ABSA has been handed over for debt collection by a third party.
Thank you for getting in touch.
One of two things can happen.
You can voluntarily surrender the vehicle in terms of Section 127 of the National Credit Act, or the bank can summons you and must obtain a court order that will allow them to take the vehicle.
Thus, without a court order, they cannot take your vehicle unless you hand it over to them voluntarily. You could wait for the summons and then be present on the day of the court sitting. If you have proof of all the correspondence and attempts to make an arrangement you can present it in court. You can also state your case that you were unemployed.
Work out a budget and a do a proper affordability assessment on yourself which will allow you to offer them some type of regular repayment. The court should hear this and then rule on it. I would suggest that you approach an attorney to assist you when this route is followed. If you are not present at court, they will simply get the court order they seek and you’ll lose the vehicle.