Pretoria – The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has referred Foschini Retail Group (Pty) Ltd to the National Consumer Tribunal for breaching the National Credit Act.
The referral follows a NCR investigation that revealed that Foschini has charged consumers a club fee on credit agreements.
In a statement on Tuesday, the NCR said the charging of a club fee on credit agreements is not permitted by the National Credit Act.
“The National Credit Act allows consumers to be given a quotation which sets out the cost of credit before signing credit agreements. Consumers should request this quotation from their credit providers so that they can properly check the cost of credit that is being offered,” said the Manager for the Investigations and Enforcement Department at the NCR, Jacqueline Peters.
The NCR is asking the Tribunal to:
- Order Foschini to refund the affected consumers the club fees charged;
- Order Foschini to conduct an independent audit into its loan book to determine the number of consumers to be refunded;
- Interdict Foschini from charging consumers a club fee on credit agreements; and
- Impose an appropriate administrative fine on Foschini.
The NCR, which is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, will continue to conduct industry-wide investigations on the cost of credit to root out illegal charges and fees that consumers are charged.
The Tribunal is an independent adjudicative entity, deriving its mandate from the National Credit Act. It hears all sides of a case before making a decision. A decision by the Tribunal has the same status as one made by a High Court.
Various parties can bring cases before the Tribunal. These can be the National Credit Regulator, consumers, credit providers, debt counsellors and credit bureaux.