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WesBank denies it is repossessing 45,000 cars as claimed on Twitter

Claims are ''false and unfounded” as repossessions are always the very last resort, says the bank

19 May 2020 - 08:35 By Denis Droppa
Repossessed cars are usually sold at auction, though most banks have implemented car payment holidays.
Repossessed cars are usually sold at auction, though most banks have implemented car payment holidays.
Image: Supplied

WesBank has refuted claims made on social media that it is planning to repossess thousands of vehicles from its customers.

On Monday, some Twitter users claimed that the bank was to repossess around 45,000 cars but Lebogang Gaoaketse, WesBank’s head of marketing and communication, says these claims are false and unfounded.

“Repossessions are always the very last resort for WesBank. The bank would rather consult with its customers to make new arrangements for payment, than repossess a vehicle,” he said.

“During these challenging times it remains a priority of ours to assist our customers where possible. As such, a payment relief option has been made available to those negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Gaoaketse.

“To date, we have received over 100,000 applications and have offered relief to over 53% of customers that have applied and have qualified for assistance. These numbers are a clear indication of where our focus is at the moment, so such allegations are irresponsible at a time where customers are vulnerable and need solutions,” said Gaoaketse.

Customers who need assistance can apply on www.wesbank.co.za.

The major banks, including Absa, WesBank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, have implemented payment relief on financed vehicles to temporarily take the pressure off clients. This follows the loss of jobs and income caused by the Covid-19 lockdown which has left many people facing the prospect of not being able to make vehicle repayments.

Even if you are in default, there is still hope of avoiding having the vehicle repossessed. It is best to contact your bank and find out how you can reinstate the loan. In general, it means making up all the missed payments or arranging to integrate the outstanding amount into the total settlement value.

Legal action is generally taken once a client misses three payments. If your vehicle does get repossessed it is usually sold through an auction where vehicles often sell for a fraction of their resale value. If this happens, you will owe the difference.

WesBank devised payment-relief plans from April 1 to June 30 to assist customers affected by Covid-19, with the type of relief dependent on the type of product each customer holds. The bank has been inundated with requests for assistance, which has led to delays in getting to each customer.

“It is unfortunate that there have been some delays in responding to all of our customers and for that we would like to apologise. Amendments to the system have been made to ensure a quicker turnaround time for responses”, said Ghana Msibi, WesBank Motor CEO.