Repossession – Beauty miraculously dodges the Bleepbank Beast

This Friday Legal Hero celebrates 3 years of offering our members a solution (quality legal cost insurance) to unaffordable legal fees.

As part of our celebration, we would be honoured to share a few success stories with you.

Repossession

Disclosure: the below is based on a true story that has been dramatized. Names have been changed to protect the member’s identity.

Mr. Neo threw his hands up in the air in exasperation as BleepBank drove off with Beauty. Beauty is the name Neo calls his red Toyota Corolla. Yes, he might have been five months in arrears with his instalments, and granted he was ignoring far too many phone calls – including Court Papers – but this…? Without hesitation he contacted his lawyer, something he should’ve done months ago. Unable to really articulate why he hadn’t, Neo merely explained that he was hoping to get his three-year claim-free cashback and did not want to jeopardize his pay-out.

Legal Hero’s lawyer explained that the ownership of Beauty, as purchased by BleebBank for Neo’s use and enjoyment provided he pays his monthly instalments, will only pass over to Neo at the end of the credit agreement period. Bleepbank may start adding extra administration charges (following up calls, a Notice sent via post, etc.) on top of Neo’s bill once he defaults with a repayment. In terms of the National Credit regulator, Neo was in default the day his account became 20 days in arrears. Neo vaguely remembers the initial paperwork explaining all of this, but goodness there are always so many pages to sign. Who honestly reads it all? Neo also did not know that, in terms of section 129 of the National Credit Act, should Neo fail to approach Bleepbank or an Ombudsman within 10 days to resolve the matter, Bleepbank can take further steps to enforce the debt. One of those steps of course being the repossession of Beauty.

Neo was starting to sweat when he realized how long the process had gone on for: first Bleepbank tried to contact him – always when inconvenient for him to answer he must add – then letters were sent, next a Civil Summons (Court Papers) were served on him. And when Neo did not react, Bleepbank applied for a Court Judgement. As mentioned, once a Summons is issued by an attorney, these collection costs and legal fees are all added to the initial debt as well! Once a Credit Provider has commenced with the repossession of a vehicle (in terms of a Court Order) Creditors will only be willing to stop all procedures if 75% of the total arrear costs are paid immediately. Further monthly repayment proposals will not be accepted. This is not a rule though, and does differ from Credit Provider to Credit Provider. Just to wrap it up: once a vehicle has been repossessed, it will be placed on a public auction to be sold to the highest bidder. If the auction is unable to reach a high enough bid to cover both Bleepbank’s arrears AND the extra costs incurred (legal costs included), Neo will still need to fork out the shortfall.

Neo simply could not allow Beauty to be sold to the highest bidder. Thank goodness his Legal Hero lawyer was a young and feisty lawyer with a Master’s Degree to boot.

What happened next?

• Numerous consultations with Bleepbank on behalf of Neo in order to work out a repayment plan and for them to release the vehicle. Bleepbank were not having any of it, as Neo and his lawyer’s time to negotiate had passed. Bleepbank had done everything by the book and incurred a lot of costs to secure a Court Order against Neo authorizing the reposession;

• Legal Hero kept knocking. The main reason for Bleepbank’s refusal to enter into another agreement, was due to Neo not being a diligent payer to start with. Eventually Bleepbank budged, advising that they would accept an amount of R20 000 paid off over two months at the most. Neo was happy to learn some progress had been made, but was definitely not able to afford R20k per month for two months;

• So Legal Hero’s lawyers kept on knocking. Eventually Bleepbank’s employees knew her by her first name and was unsure whether they were intrigued or irritated by her ‘never-say-never-attitude;’

• By some miracle, numerous settlement agreements drafted, negotiating as if avoiding a world war depended on it, Bleepbank eventually agreed to a much smaller amount being paid over a period of six months. Bleepbank was taking a big chance here, as it would’ve been easier to sell Beauty to get their money back, and keep Neo responsible for a much smaller amount;

• Total time from start to finish – from receiving Neo’s belated call, to signing off on the new settlement agreement, to sticking around and making sure that payment is made and Neo’s arrears are paid up = 8 months. Neo did not have to pay one cent to Legal Hero, apart from his Legal Hero premium of R220 per month.

*Names have been changed to protect the member’s identity.

SIDE NOTE
One of Legal Hero’s policy terms is that you need to notify your hero of an issue that could potentially lead to litigation (in-Court assistance) within 30 days of the situation arising. Neo unfortunately had not done so. Luckily in-Court assistance was not necessary, as Legal Hero’s lawyer was able to settle the matter out of Court of some miracle.

As from mid-October 2017 – Legal Hero’s birthday – we now offer a brand spanking new Legal Hero policy for R249 per month. This includes 7.5% discount on AVIS car hires, Intercape bus tickets, Mango airline tickets, etc. More information coming soon. T’s and C’s apply. Please contact your Legal Hero broker for more information or contact 0861229922/ join@legalhero.co.za