“I hardly ever receive statements from my credit providers. Surely, they should be sending me regular statements so I can see what I owe them. What does the law say about this?”
You are correct. Your credit provider is required to provide you with periodic statements. In terms of our National Credit Act, a credit provider must offer to periodically provide any consumer with a statement of his or her account. Such delivery, unless a prescribed method of delivery has been agreed to between the parties, can be at the business premises of the credit provider, or at any other location designated by the consumer but at the consumer's expense, or by ordinary mail, fax, email or printable web-page, with the consumer entitled to choose from these options.
The frequency of the mandatory delivery of a statement varies according to the type of credit transaction the statement relates to. In general, the period allowed for between statements is one month. However, should the consumer be a party to an instalment sale agreement, lease or secured loan, the required maximum period between statements in terms of the Act is every two months.
These periods may be varied by agreement between the consumer and credit provider, but the agreed period may not exceed every three months. Furthermore, a statement pertaining to a mortgage loan agreement is only required to be provided every six months. If the statement relates to a credit facility, the credit provider does not have to provide the consumer with a statement for a period in which no credits or debits were incurred against the account.
The National Credit Act not only provides for the disclosure of information and the providing of statements, but also sets out the procedures if a consumer disputes any of the amounts reflected on the statement. Should a debit or credit be disputed, the dispute should be directed in writing to the credit provider. The credit provider is thereafter required to either respond by explaining the entry in reasonable detail or identify it as an error and set out the revised entry. Importantly, a credit provider may not institute proceedings against a consumer based on a disputed entry if the account has been queried. The credit provider must first respond to the query and only then may action be taken.
Should you not be receiving periodic statements from your credit provider, you are justified in taking this up with the credit provider. Maybe also check whether your credit agreement prescribes a specific period for statements and the method of delivery.