Definition of the Week: JUDGMENT A judgment is a decision made by the court. In credit judgments, the court will issue a judgement that gives the credit provider the right to collecting on outstanding debt. This might even include repossessing your home or household goods.
If you have not responded to a Section 129 letter of demand, instead the credit provider may decide to take legal action, in which case the sheriff of the court will serve you with a summons. Once you receive a summons, you need to respond to it within the number of days indicated on it (usually 19 business days), either by indicating your intention to defend the matter (if you believe the monies are not due and payable by you) or by acknowledging the debt and settling the claim amount. If you decide to fail to respond in the given period, the credit provider can still get a judgement against you in your absence (called a default judgment). This judgment entails that the claim of the credit provider is upheld and taken in your absence and it is therefore important never to ignore a summons.
If you decide to go to court, make sure you have a good case to defend.Remember, it’s better to try and resolve the issue before it gets to the stage of legal action. If it reaches this stage: - You may be liable to pay the credit provider’s legal costs, such as: phone calls, letters, and lawyer fees should you lose the case. - If you decide to defend the matter in court, you would need to pay for your own representation. - Legal proceedings can be costly, difficult and time-consuming. - You will also be liable for the legal collections department costs, the extra interest on your original debt, and fees for debt collectors and sheriffs. Helpful Hint: If you can, remedy your default by paying any overdue amounts, together with your prescribed default administration charges. Go to www.mycreditcheck.co.za to get your full credit report and to keep yourself informed about your credit profile, accounts, and payments. This brings us to the end of our lesson on summons and judgments. Stay tuned for our next lesson in the Knowing Credit series, where we will learn about the execution process.!