Hi. I am in the process of being collect...

Asked by Gideon on 26-06-2024 08:12:13
Question posted in the National Credit Act Law category relating to Gauteng

Hi. I am in the process of being collected upon by a debt collector. I have requested and received verification on the debt, but there is a charge on the bill from the collector which I do not understand. The charge is labelled as "Taking instruction to sue" and is equivalent to 1.48 times my original debt. This added with collection fees and interest means my bill has tripled from the original amount. 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 26-06-2024 21:41:20

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

There is absolutely no way that taking instructions to sue can be equivalent to 1.48 times the original debt. Interest and collection charges charged by attorneys and/or debt collectors are also limited. 


If you want, you can email me the account and I can let you know what I think about it?  PatrickLegalQuestions <at> outlook.com 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 26-06-2024 21:45:39

The council for debt collectors also has prescribed tariffs of charges allowed by debt collectors. So they do not have free reign to simply charge whatever they want.

Attorneys are also limited by the rules of court, but the legal process can be long and drawn out so charges can rack up quite quickly.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 27-06-2024 13:04:28

I've had a look at the statement of account which was sent to you by the lawyers. They are acting as lawyers, and not debt collectors. They are therefore governed by the Magistrates Court rules in relation to their fees and charges. 

If the lawyers have issued a summons, and if the summons is served on you by the sheriff, and if the lawyers get a default judgment against you, only then will the lawyers be entitled to charge you with costs. 

You can have a look at the following link to see how these costs are calculated. 


So if they do not have a judgment against you, then they can't claim costs. 

You can also tell them that they are only entitled to interest if they get a judgment which authorises interest. So without a judgment, they can't get interest. 

You can also tell them that they are only entitled to costs if they get a judgment which authorises costs. So without a judgment, they can't get costs. 

You can also tell them that they are only entitled to collection commission IF you pay off the capital amount by way of instalments. If you pay the capital amount in a lump sum, then they can't get collection commission.

If no summons has been served, my advice is to EFT them the R569.00 and then email them POP and say that this is sent in settlement of the capital amount.

Tell them that if they continue with serving the summons, you will defend it on the basis that you've settled the capital debt. 

Message from the client

Hi Patrick. Thank you for the quick response. I have made note of all your advice and backtracked through my communications with Sampson Attorneys to make sure I did not miss anything. Could I perhaps forward you a draft of my final communication to them? I just want to be sure I'm not steering myself in the wrong direction with my reply.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 27-06-2024 14:37:10

Sure, you can do that. 

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 27-06-2024 15:19:36

Herewith a slightly amended letter for you to send - 

Good day Carina,

I hope I find you well.

Please see attached my PoP for payment of the amount of Rxxxxxx, being full and final settlement of the capital amount as per your statement account.

I have done some further research and would like to bring some points to your attention to explain why the payment amount does not match your invoiced amount.

There has been no summons or judgements made against me, so I see no basis for any additional fees on top of my outstanding balance. No summons has been served on me. Accordingly, there is no pending legal proceedings against me. 

There is also no judgement that authorizes interest (and I never entered into a credit agreement with your client regarding interest) so the interest I am being charged has no basis either. At any rate, the interest amounts to just a few Rands.

I have considered the Rules of the Magistrates Court (specifically the tariff of charges) and I understand that you can only recover legal costs from me through a judgment, and taxation of your bill of cost. 

Collection commissions are only applicable if I had opted to pay the outstanding balance in instalments, but seeing as I have made a lump sum payment for the full outstanding amount, you are not entitled to charge collection commission.

If you wish to proceed with a summons, notwithstanding the fact that I have settled the capital amount in full, I will have to defend it based on the fact that the full capital amount has already been paid.  In that instance, I will ask for a costs order against your firm and I will ask for your client's claim to be dismissed. 

Given that the capital has been settled, I suggest that you close your file.

Yours faithfully,

Answer Accepted

This answer was accepted on 27-06-2024 15:33:25

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