Monday, September 29, 2014


Dodgy debit orders are on the rise with reportedly 120 000 of 31 million debit orders (0.4 %) of which are disputed, according to the Payments Association of SA. The reason why these dodgy debit orders go on for so long is that many people fail to regularly and thoroughly check their bank statements every month. This is due to the time it takes and also because many South Africans do not have access to internet or use internet banking which would make checking a bit of an easier task. Also, these dodgy debit orders are often quite a small amount- not enough to really raise suspicion or concern.The modus operandi of many of these companies running these dodgy debit order operations is that they are subscribed to a ‘middle-man’ debit order collection company to whom they submit these accounts to be debited. Often, these companies are small call-centres who already have the details of many customers on file and call them offering services, airtime etc. and unless the customer explicitly states ‘no’ then they log the customer as having said ‘yes’ and hence forward through your details to debit order collection agencies.

In some instances, people are logged as saying ‘yes’ even when they have explicitly said ‘no’- this could be because of unscrupulous call-center agents who get paid commission per ‘yes’ they receive from each customer.Another common factor of these dodgy debit order companies is that they tend to target lower-income earners which could be due to many not knowing their rights and also not being able to pursue possibly expensive legal action against these companies- especially over a few hundred rands.

There has been some speculation as to where these unscrupulous companies obtain such sensitive information. A victim who delved deeper into the case of these dodgy debit orders says he was told by an Absa employee his account details had been compromised by another staff member, but Absa disputes this. A spokesperson for the bank said: “Absa respectfully disclaims the allegations that client information was leaked internally.” A quick search on the site ‘Hello Peter’ shows many complaints related to a specific debit order collection company. The replies are all exactly the same with a short apology and a promise to refund the money which was debited ‘by mistake’. These are only a few of the cases. What about all the other dodgy debit orders that have slipped under the radar? Who is collecting all this money?Many people who have approached their banks about the dodgy debit orders have said they were told by their bank to contact these companies directly- many of whom did not turn up on Google search results or who had numbers that ‘did not exist’.In this day and age, fraud is rife. Make sure you check your bank statements regularly and do not give out sensitive information to strangers.





No comments:

Post a Comment