Know your personal finance consumer rights

By Staff Writer

Human Rights day is just around the corner, but did you know that 15 March 2011 is World Consumer Rights Day?

Do you know what your rights are when it comes to personal finance, especially things like banking, medical aid, debt and insurance? We thought we’d help you out, just a bit.

Five rights when it comes to debt

If you have not heard from a creditor regarding a particular credit agreement in 3 years and then a collector suddenly calls, advise them it is a ‘prescribed debt’.

When a consumer is struggling with their debt payments, they should now know that the National Credit Act and the statutory debt review process is there to help them find a solution.

As a consumer you can get a free credit report in the month of your birthday and this is well worth doing.

If your credit report is showing debts that you know nothing about, then you have the right to bring this up with the credit bureaus to investigate and to resolve.

If a consumer gets a summons then the consumer has a right to defend the summons. Most simply ignore the summons, which causes further financial issues down the line.

Five rights when it comes to insurance

When you are not the guilty party in an accident, you have the right to ensure that your Insurance Company recovers your excess.

You have the right to view your policy documentation before the commencement of an Insurance policy.

You have the right to expect great service where the promises made to you – are kept.

If you are in financial difficulty – you have the right to ask your Insurance Company about options available to reduce the premium.

Some Companies will offer more discounts if you take out more cover with them – for example:  If you have contents, buildings and vehicle insurance – you will pay less per unit  in comparison to covering them individually.

Two rights when it comes to medical aid:

A medical scheme must accept all applicants, no matter what their age or health status is. What the scheme can however do to protect itself is to subject the membership to penalties and waiting periods.

If a member voluntarily moves between schemes after having enjoyed 24 months + unbroken cover, the member can be levied with a waiting period, however, the client will still be entitled to PMB cover in this waiting period.

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