My question is the following. We have been under debt review since 2010. Our debt councillor is based in another town to us and communication is not very frequent. I received an email from the councillor saying that the bank who financed our car cancelled the review due to short payments. My response was that I had noticed that the expected amounts was different each month and could this please be investigated. I did not get an explanation for this and todate still dont have feedback. What did happen was that I received a response saying that the shortfall was R2199. I requsted that an extra R500 per month be paid to the bank and I personally would deposit. The councillor responded that the bank had not fedback and that they would lodge another query.
The next thing I knew a court clerk contacted me to say they are repossessing the car. Despite my repeated attempts to find out what was happening, the court clerk arrived and took our car.
I have been to the bank, to their attorneys in fact I have tried everything. Despite my even offering to pay all outstanding amounts and have a debit order set up from my account the bank refused and said we have to pay the total oustanding amount if we want the car. R120 000. All because we did not know a summons was issued at our previous address.
We lost our vehicle for which we have already paid in excess of R90 000 all because of a shortfall of R2200.
Please help, I cannot get an answers apart from they will auction my car and I must still pay the difference.
Surely this cannot be right.
Hi and thank you for the question
A bank can repossess a car in two ways. One is if you voluntarily surrender the vehicle in terms of the National Credit Act and the other is with a court order from the High Court. If the bank made you sign something it was most likely that you signed a voluntary surrender. In terms of the Act, the bank must sell the goods for the best price reasonably obtainable. Not sure what the value of the vehicle is, but usually they sell it for far less than what it is actually worth and for even further less than what you owe the bank. the result is that there is a shortfall and you still have to pay the bank for a car that you no longer have.
I would suggest that your debt counsellor pull in an attorney into this case to make sure if the summons process etc was correctly followed, and if the vehicle was repossessed lawfully. If not, they bank must return the vehicle to you.
You must find answers as to why the bank received less than what they should have i.t.o the debt review. Your debt counsellor must exhaust every avenue to pinpoint the cause of the under payments and establish an agreement with the bank i.t.o the arrears. If no middle ground can be reached I am afraid the bank will go ahead and sell the vehicle. Under normal circumstances they cannot repossess your vehicle when you are under debt review.
Your debt counsellor should attempt to speak to the most senior person possible at the bank to try and rectify the issue. It just does not make sense for them to bluntly go ahead even if you have offered to bring the arrears up to date.
You might also want to consider contacting the Credit Ombud. You can find them at http://www.creditombud.org.za/ They might be able to address any unlawful actions by the bank.
Hope you find a solution.