6 June 2006
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned South African businesses and individuals to be on guard against the issuing of quasi-legal documents such as fake summonses.
This scam is prohibited under the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act.
The department describes a quasi-legal document as any communication, including a letter or summons, intended to create the impression that it has been issued by a court of law.
According to the DTI, this is often done to create the impression that legal proceedings have been or will be instituted against a person.
The department warns that debt collectors and their agents are prohibited from sending any communication which simulates legal or judicial processes when collecting debts.
Such documents may only be issued by a competent court of law that has the right to institute a judicial process when approached by a party trying to enforce debt payment.
Consumers are urged to check documents if they suspect that any party has used a quasi-legal document to secure debt collection.
Consumers can check for the original stamp of the registrar/clerk of the court, a case number and an indication of the court (high or magistrate court) that issued the document.
For more information, contact the DTI customer contact centre at 0861 843 384