Friday, 22 March 2013
ITC Transunion has no legal framework in Namibia
In conclusion the following can be said, consumer protection forms a cardinal part of our law. Most of the time consumers constitute the layman off the street, who is not always aware of what their rights are or what they should be. Once they enter into a credit agreement with a credit grantor it is as if they hand over all their trust and rights over to the credit grantor. For this reason it is not always possible for consumers to realize when they are being trapped into an agreement, which they might not be to their benefit.
It may happen that a consumer takes on more credit agreements than they can afford, and they end up defaulting on payment, in Namibia whenever a consumer defaults on the third to fourth time they are handed over to ITC, a credit bureau that blacklists consumers and restricts them from any other agreements or contracts. The consumer laws and legislation in Namibia is not reformed and up to standard to guarantee a consumer, that in the event of him/her defaulting on payment that proper procedure will be followed before handing them over to the ITC. Currently the legislation that governs consumer protection is the Credit Agreements Act 75 of 1980, although section 28 provides for consumers right to privacy, there is no provision that governs the procedure to be followed for instance when a consumer defaults on payment or when a credit grantor blacklists a consumer. This is in sharp contrast to the South African position, whose Consumer Protection Act59 clearly states what can be done in instances of defaulting as well as lay out the circumstances in which a consumer is blacklisted. In other words it does not rule out ITC as a whole but it provides for certain guidelines and procedures to be followed so as to not wholly infringe on the rights of the consumer and at the same time balancing the rights of the credit grantor.
I concede that currently in Namibia there is no procedure in place that regulates ITC, this makes it seem like the Transunion has no legal standing in our law. It has, however, become necessary for Namibia to reform their consumer legislation and consumer protection laws, and put in place as the South Africans procedural
guidelines to follow in instances of extreme default where blacklisting would be justified, because if we should declare ITC illegal, credit grantors would in actual fact have no remedy against a defaulting consumer, and this would render an imbalance of rights.