Alternative power is unfamiliar territory for most South Africans, which makes us fair game for rogue suppliers.
This week insurer Dialdirect and Solar Craft, a solar supplier which has been in the industry for 28 years, advised consumers to ask energy suppliers or service providers the following questions before contracting with them:
- How long have you been in business, how many successful installations have you done and what sales support will you offer in five years?
- Please give me the names and contact details of some of your previous clients.
- Do your installations adhere to Sans (SA National Standard) and Nersa requirements; are they done by qualified and registered electricians; and does an electrical engineer check the quality of components and installations?
- Do you issue a Certificate of Compliance (COC) after the installation?
Want to settle your car loan early? Here’s what you need to know
Did you know that if you choose to settle a “large credit agreement” — that is one of R250,000 or more — you can be made to pay an early settlement fee?
Trevor wrote to me last week to say he’d received a settlement quote from WesBank in the amount of R181,500, along with a “penalty interest charge” of R4,621. He took out the loan, over six years, in November 2018.
Trevor had been led to believe — by incorrect information on the internet — that no penalty was payable if the settlement balance was less than R250,000, hence his objection to that R4,621 being added to his R181,500 balance.
But, says the National Credit Regular, penalties apply if the principal debt — the total financed amount at the start of the agreement — is R250,000 or more.
The good news is that when I took up Trevor’s case with WesBank, the bank opted to waive the early settlement “out of goodwill”, based on his finance history with the bank, and he got his refund last Friday.
“The discount of penalty fees is discretionary and the NCA allows the financer to define the conditions and make a decision, so it’s not standard practice,” the bank told me.