The right to know how much you owe and how it has been calculated.
In respect of a mortgage bond, the credit provider must deliver a periodic statement at least every six months to the consumer. In the case of an instalment agreement, lease or secured loan, the statement of account must be supplied to the consumer at least every two months. In respect of all other credit agreements, statements of account must be issued every month.
Despite the above provisions of the NCA, a consumer and a credit provider may agree to reduce the frequency of statements of account. However, such an agreement cannot provide for more than three months between the issuing of successive statements of account. If a statement of account is not issued on time, then a consumer may approach the NCT for an order to compel the credit provider concerned to provide the statement. The NCT may then order the credit provider to provide the statement or determine the amounts in relation to which the statement was sought.
A statement of account does not have to be delivered in respect of a credit facility if no amount has been debited or credited in the statement period. It is important to note that any credits reflected on a statement of account take effect on the date payment is made to the credit provider or otherwise when the right to have the account credited arises. Similarly, debits take effect as of the date on which the consumer incurred that particular debit.
A statement delivered in respect of a credit facility is not binding to the extent of any credits to that account, or charge made to that account, after the date on which the statement was prepared.
The right to dispute entries in a statement of account
If a consumer disputes any part of a statement of account, for example, a particular credit or debit that she believes has been entered incorrectly, then she may deliver a written notice to the credit provider, detailing the basis of her dispute. The credit provider must, in response, investigate and explain the disputed entry or confirm that the disputed entry was indeed made in error and subsequently remove the entry in question.
The credit provider cannot commence with any enforcement proceedings on the basis of a default arising from the disputed entry until after the investigation has been completed. Therefore, the credit provider must give the consumer written notice, explaining the disputed entry in reasonable detail or confirming that the statement was in error either in whole or in part, and setting out the revised entry. Before this is done, enforcement proceedings cannot commence.
The right to a statement of settlement amount
If a consumer wishes to settle a credit agreement, she has the right to request an updated statement of account from the credit provider concerned. The credit provider is then obliged to deliver such a statement of account to her without any charge being levied.
This statement must be delivered to the consumer within five business days of her having made the request. This statement of account will be binding upon the credit provider for a period of five business days after delivery. The statement of account can be delivered to the consumer in any of the following ways:
- orally, in person or by telephone; or
- in writing, either to the consumer in person or by SMS, mail, fax or email or other electronic form of communication to the extent that the credit provider has such facilities.