WHAT TO DO IF A GARNISHEE ORDER IS ISSUED AGAINST YOU

Ever had a letter of demand delivered to your workplace, and wished the floor would swallow you whole? Here's what to do to help avoid embarrassing money moments. 


THE SHERIFF ARRIVES AT WORK!
Cringe! Your private business is on public display. In the office, of all places… But don’t let it throw you. ‘Be confident and in control,’ says Arthur Wasara of Intelligent Debt Management. He advises asking the debt collector if you can meet in a private room or outside your workplace, to get away from prying eyes and wagging tongues.

‘The biggest mistake is to want the embarrassment to go away quickly, so you sign the letter of demand without reading it,’ warns Odette Geldenhuys, a partner at Webber Wentzel’s Pro Bono Practice. Make sure all the information contained in the letter of demand is correct before signing it. All you are obliged to sign on the spot is the document acknowledging that you have received the letter. ‘As soon as the debt collector has gone, contact the credit provider or attorney who sent the letter,’ advises Wasara. ‘Your goal should be to set up a payment arrangement. As long as you are making an effort to pay what you can, you can prevent further legal action from happening.’

ASKING YOUR EMPLOYER FOR A LOAN

You need a loan to tide you over till pay day. Dare you ask your employer for one? ‘First, ask someone in the human resources [HR] department whether your employer has a policy about advances or loans,’ advises Geldenhuys. Your company might have a strict policy prohibiting any loans.

If your employer does grant loans, start by preparing a budget to see if you can afford to pay the amount back. ‘Ask yourself how necessary the loan is,’ says Wasara. If you feel you can afford the repayments within the given time period – which is usually three to six months – he advises that you set up a meeting with HR or your payroll department. But don’t be greedy. ‘A good rule of thumb is never to request more than your monthly salary,’ he says.

A GARNISHEE ORDER IS ISSUED AGAINST YOU
A garnishee order or, more accurately, an emoluments attachment order (EAO) means a creditor has the right to deduct money directly from your salary – which means your employer will know all about your debt. Don’t be so embarrassed about it that you do nothing, says Geldenhuys. ‘Ask your employer for a copy and check that you know who the creditor is, that the amount owed is correct and that you did receive a letter of demand beforehand.’ If any information is incorrect, speak to your legal advisor or employer about how to contest the EAO.

Also look out for the interest rate being charged and how long the EAO runs for, says Wasara. ‘If the deduction makes it difficult for you to survive, contact the attorneys or the credit provider to negotiate a lower monthly deduction.’

For more advice, Jet Club members can call our helpline.

Credit and Debt Advice Line 

(SA & Namibia).
0800 00 45 45

From Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland, dial 
+2711 991 8258

WHAT TO DO IF A GARNISHEE ORDER IS ISSUED AGAINST YOU WHAT TO DO IF A GARNISHEE ORDER IS ISSUED AGAINST YOU Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on September 01, 2017 Rating: 5

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