Business days extended, what this means for you!



There were two fundamentally important updates that occurred in the first week of national lockdown.

The National Credit Act: all business days are extended until after the lockdown ends. Currently, this date is set as the 16th of April but this may be extended further.

South African Post Office: this is an essential service and Post Office branches will remain open for SASSA grants payments - all mail sorting centres will be closed and there will be no mail movement during this time.


This impacts TPN clients as follows:

1. Credit Bureau Dispute Process

  • Consumers have the right to log a dispute on the credit bureau.
  • TPN will continue to log consumer disputes and request credible evidence from the supplier of the information.
  • Data in dispute will be masked on the consumer’s credit profile.
  • The credit bureau has 20 business days to make a finding on the accuracy of the disputed data based on the credible evidence provided by the supplier of the information.
  • These 20 business days do not include Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays and also now does not include the days during lockdown.


2. Blacklisting (Adverse Listings)

  • In terms of National Credit Act Regulations, before listing an adverse listing on a consumer’s credit profile, the following requirements need to be met:
          1. the account must be 3 billing cycles in arrears, and
           2. the consumer must have been give 20 business days notification of intention to                                     load the adverse listing on the credit bureau(s).

  • These 20 business days do not include Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays and also now does not include the days during lockdown.


3. Letter of Demand for Rent
  • In terms of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), the TPN Letter of Demand refers to 20 business days to remedy the breach prior to the landlord or property manager being able to cancel the lease.
  • Importantly, there has been no communication yet from the Consumer Tribunal to suspend business days as they relate to the CPA; business days are counted as usual for cancelation purposes.
  • During the lockdown, the South African Post Office is not sorting mail and there will be no mail movement.
  • Thankfully, the TPN Lease Pack lease makes provision for the tenant’s email address in the domicile.
  • In terms of the National Credit Act, the TPN Letter of Demand reminds the consumer that non-payment of the arrears could have adverse consequences for their credit profile.
  • As noted in point 2, when determining the date of an adverse listing, the calculation of the 20 business days’ notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays and also now does not include the days during lockdown.


4. Letter of Demand for School Fees (Public Schools)
  • It is important for schools to note that in terms of section 39 of the Schools Act, parents or guardians can apply for full or part exemption of school fees. There is no doubt with many people facing retrenchment, unpaid temporary leave or loss of commission earnings that this will have a big impact on exemption applications.
  • In terms of the Schools Act, a letter of demand must be sent by registered mail and the consumer must be given 3 months before legal action can be taken.
  • During the lockdown, the South African Post Office is not sorting mail and there will be no mail movement, but until there is confirmation that the 3 month period provided in the Schools Act has been extended, schools are entitled to send out letters of demand as normal.
  • In terms of the National Credit Act, the TPN Letter of Demand reminds the consumer that non-payment of the arrears could have adverse consequences for their credit profile.
  • As noted in point 2, when determining the date of an adverse listing, the calculation of the 20 business days’ notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays and also now does not include the days during lockdown.


5. Letter of Demand for School Fees (Private Schools)
  • In terms of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), the TPN Letter of demand refers to 20 business days to remedy the breach prior to the school being able to take legal action.
  • Importantly, there has been no communication yet from the Consumer Tribunal to suspend business days as they relate to the CPA; business days are counted as usual for cancelation purposes.
  • During the lockdown, the South African Post Office is not sorting mail and there will be no mail movement.
  • In terms of the National Credit Act, the TPN Letter of Demand reminds the consumer that non-payment of the arrears could have adverse consequences for their credit profile.
  • As noted in point 2 above, when determining the date of adverse listing, the calculation of the 20 business days’ notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or Public Holidays and also now does not include the days during lockdown.


Conclusion
TPN encourages our clients to continue with their collection process, send data files to TPN (data@tpn.co.za) to initiate the credit bureau notification SMS and continue to send out letters of demand. The letters will be processed via SMS and email immediately and prepared for submission to the SA Post Office on the day after lockdown ends.

Please feel free to contact the TPN Legal Support team to ensure that you have correctly counted your business days prior to taking legal action, cancelling leases or contracts and loading adverse information on the credit bureau.

The determined actions we take during this time will result in how quickly we recover and get back to business as normal.

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