28 Apr

Municipal Job Cards Used In Debt Collection

The contractor who is responsible for the installation, repairing, maintenance and/or removal of either an electricity meter or a water meter on every property in South Africa is required to fill in an official job card. This municipal job card holds all the information regarding the installation/repair/removal of the meter and is handed over to the municipality. This municipal job card becomes an important part of the debt collection process when the municipality follows up on unpaid invoices.

If customers want to dispute a particular consumption invoice, the municipal job card becomes an important document for both the municipality and the consumer. The municipality will use the job card within the municipal billing department to rectify a billing mistake. Otherwise, the customer can use the job card to prove the fact that they were incorrectly billed and can be used in court if the issue is in litigation. However, municipalities have been withholding municipal job cards from consumers when asked for them. This is illegal for a number of reasons.

  • The most important reason as to why this is illegal is because it means that a third party (the municipality in this case) is withholding important information that is relevant to the account holder and is needed by them in order to legally protect themselves.
  • This goes directly against the Consumer Protection Act because the job card holds information that is needed by the consumer to dispute a billing mistake.
  • The municipality cannot issue a summons, issue credit control measures, black-list or cut services if there is a billing dispute in progress. The dispute needs to be concluded, and this cannot happen if the municipality is withholding job cards.
  • Withholding municipal job cards, and starting the debt collection process against the consumer, shows a lack of accountability and transparency on the part of the municipal government.

Consumers must ensure that they collect all the documents and information concerning their dispute with the municipality so that the information may be used in court after the outset of the municipality’s debt collection process.

If you require one of the most experienced debt collection attorneys in South Africa make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!

06 Apr

South Africa’s High Economic Crime Rate

The Global Economic Crime Survey, a study provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has provided information regarding the current trends and hotspots of economic crime. Unfortunately, South Africa suffers one of the highest rates of economic crime in the world.

Currently, the rate of economic crime in the country doubles that of the international average, even when compared to other states in Africa. This, PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests is a ‘pandemic’, and at least a third of all upper-management in a number of corporate businesses have experienced economic crime in one form or another.

While, internationally, asset misappropriation is the most common form of economic crime, other forms of crime such as cybercrime as well as bribery are also common. Many would think that corruption is the most common economic crime in South Africa, but this is not the case. HR crime is at its worst in South Africa. More than a quarter of employees’ matric certificates cannot be confirmed, while 1 in 15 employees have a falsified tertiary degree or certification. HR crimes are usually noticed when hiring new staff, but the studies suggest that a shocking number of employees in South Africa do not have the correct qualifications.

Those in the field of risk management and auditing suggest that businesses should be proactive with regards to the crimes that plague South African companies. There are many services available on the market that can help businesses prevent fraud, and even HR crimes like that of forged qualifications.

Those of our clients that require our services with regards to commercial law must ensure that they have employed measures that help them prevent economic crimes within their businesses. It is important that they understand the scope and damage that economic crime inflicts on the South African economy, and that they protect themselves accordingly.

If you require the services of a professional commercial law attorney, then make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys as soon as possible.

Take a look at our commercial law page to see the commercial law services that we offer.

30 Sep

4 Top Debt Collection Excuses

As a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg, Ivan Zartz Attorneys often face many debtors who are unwilling to pay monies due to creditors or even after receiving a receipt following the acquisition of goods and services.

We understand what the plethora of excuses mean, and if you’re waiting for what is due to you for a period of time that extends beyond an agreement, then you may need a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg like Ivan Zartz. Here are our 4 top debt collection excuses by debtors:

  1. No answer. These are the debtors that offer little in the way of an excuse. Rather they avoid all phone calls, emails and letters. This can either mean that the debtor has disappeared off the face of the planet (which occasionally happens), or the debtor is truly unwilling to pay the debt. This is a serious indication of non-payment, and you will need to hire the expertise of a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg.
  2. “We haven’t received an invoice yet”. This is a brilliant delay tactic by debtors because it is confirmed to delay the process by at least 2 or 3 days. It is the creditors job to follow up, and then provide the invoice as soon as possible. If a debtor attempts this excuse more than twice then you may want the involve the debt collection attorney.
  3. Authorization of the invoice. This is also quite common, as a debtor will often say that the invoice has not yet been authorized by the accounts manager, or that the account manager is away on leave. This will require deft communication by the creditor. Take down the name of the person you’ve spoken to, find out the date at which the account manager will either be back or will be authorizing the invoice, and follow up on that date. Otherwise, if you fee that you are expected to wait too long, this may be a delay tactic. Contact a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg for help in this regard.
  4. Payment for payment. Many companies will use this delaying tactic when expected to pay debts. The excuse is that the business or individual cannot pay because they’re also awaiting for a payment from another party, or they are expecting funding from the bank. This gives you, the creditor, ample room for you to begin the liquidation procedure on the part of the debtor. For this process you will require the help of a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg.

If you are looking for the assistance of a debt collection attorney in Johannesburg, then make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!

21 Sep

State Illegally Collects Debt

Recent news has developed in Johannesburg over the last few months. It has come to light, through inquiry on the part of the Democratic Alliance, that the City of Johannesburg is illegally collecting on debts that until this point have been outstanding.

The City of Johannesburg has been extending debt collection on arrears older than 3 years, which was declared illegal by changes made to the Consumer Protection Act in March this year. Arrears attached to properties, which can include non-payment on utilities, that are older than 3 years should be dropped. Debt collection processes instigated by the City has led to debt agreements that many residents are unable to pay. Some are still expected to pay on interest on settled debt and instances whereby a clearance certificates were issued.

The City declares that all debts linked to the property are still able to be pursued though, and that the City is attempting to prevent the act of illegally consumed utilities; and action that has led to millions of rands worth in uncollected debt in Johannesburg. It is quite obvious that the various acts need to be revisited and reviewed if there is to be any more clarity regarding the matter.

This also comes at a time when recent statistical reports indicate that not only is South Africa in significant debt, but its occupants are experiencing more debt as unemployment is up to 35%. What may also contribute to the non-payment of utilities is the fact that the delivery of services has gone up from 50% to 56% percent, increasing the number of individuals’ access to electricity, of which many do not pay.

If you are looking for an attorney with experience in debt collection cases, whether you are a creditor or debtor, ensure that you contact Ivan Zartz Attorney for a consultation. Ivan Zartz Attorney’s are a team of professional debt collection attorneys that are incredibly proficient in providing legal assistance in cases of debt collection.

07 Sep

Mediation Preferred In Dispute Resolution

A recent trend in dispute resolution, the world over, is the gaining popularity in mediation. Mediation is slowly becoming the preferred resolution practice with mediators facilitating negotiations between parties in a number of fields all across the globe.

Mediation is becoming common practice in the business field. As more businesses are feeling the pinch due to the unstable economic climate (and now the most recent Chinese financial crisis), many businesses and individuals have settled with mediation as a way of dealing with negligence claims as well as negotiating expiry limitation periods. It is most commonly found between business partners as they determine to settle breaches of contract between themselves without involving the court.

Mediation is even supported and advocated by legal establishments and governments, highlighting the fact that parties are likely to save on costs if settling on agreements outside of the court. Some states are beginning to implement mediation support frameworks and organisations that will assist parties as well as attorneys in the legal mediation process. It is through such frameworks that people are encouraged to seek mediation especially in cases of family conflicts. Unfortunately, many law firms see mediation as a threat to their profit making endeavors, and are therefore not as supportive of the change in the legal paradigm.

Mediation agreements are settled through the mediator’s use of a number of mediation techniques and processes. No single mediation practice is relied on. This is especially true of a lot of the larger cases of mediation, like that between two commercial parties who live in foreign countries for example. In this case an experienced mediator will fall back on a wealth of knowledge and experience before settling on a particular process.

Some mediators become skilled in a particular field of law, such as family law or commercial law. In these instances it is best to use a specialized mediator. For instance, Ivan Zartz Attorneys has a team of mediators experienced in the art of family law. If you require a mediator to help you resolve conflicts in family or in business, then don’t hesitate. Make sure you contact Ivan Zartz Attorneys today!