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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR EDUCATION

In our long running in the credit control industry, we have helped a lot of people to regain control over their school’s cash flow.
HOWEVER,we still receive questions on a daily basis on our processes and procedures and laws.
This newsletter will be to inform those interested in our service or even our current clients and their debtors.
It is important to know how these situations affect us and what our rights are. 

If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to call 0116751178 or email customerservice@eccm.co.za
 
WHERE WILL MY DEBTORS PAY?
Your debtors will pay straight to you. We do have an option to pay into the TRUST account, but we do advise a direct payment to the client. Retaining that relationship is our focus.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING ON MY ACCOUNTS?
Many people who have dealt with debt collectors before, have suffered from lack of transparency, leading to a dishonest collector. They add extra, hidden costs and charges which causes the debtors to become overwhelmed and uncooperative.  ECCM gives you secure, 24/7 access to your accounts. Our transparency model informs our clients of all their debtors’ activities.

WHAT MAKES ECCM DIFFERENT TO OTHER DEBT COLLECTORS?
The key word here is “different”. We are not an “other” when it comes to debt collecting. We are not collectors, we are credit control management. We encourage our clients’ debtors to pay. We make direct arrangements and payment interval agreements with them as it suits their capacity to pay. We do not collect the money, the money is paid to the client directly and these total amounts are then what the service fee will be deduced from.  That brings us to the next question...

WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED?
The costs involved are very simple. We charge a commission on the amounts paid, by the debtors, at the end of the month. That’s it. No extra charges. No hidden costs. The costs of our services are covered and you get maximum returns.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SCHOOL FEES?
Often excuses are made like “the other parent has custody” or “the court said I’m not the responsible parent” in order to avoid payment. Though there may be validity to these claims, it is incorrect to assume that either parent is not responsible for the school fees. The law does not acknowledge the custodian as solely responsible for the fees.

It all boils down to the fact that no matter what, if both parents are still alive, they are mutually responsible for the child’s school fees, regardless of marital status or relationship.

The South African Schools Act (SASA) provides that a parent is liable to pay the school fees determined in terms of section 39 unless and to the extent that he or she has been exempted from payment in terms of the Act.  This provision confirms the common law duty on all parents to maintain their children.  The Act defines a ‘parent’ to mean:
a)            The parent or guardian of the child
b)            The person legally entitled to custody of the learner or
c)            The person who undertakes to fulfil the obligation of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) towards the learner’s education at school.
In terms of section 40 and 41 of SASA, the school may take legal action against one or both parents (both parents are jointly and severally liable) irrespective of their marital status.  Furthermore, the school can take legal action or collect outstanding school fees from one or both parents irrespective of any court order standing in respect of a divorce settlement.

WHAT IS EXEMPTION AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?
Exemption is the special case where a parent is no longer liable to pay for school fees due to death or unemployment. Certain conditions move for immediate exemption, such as an orphaned child. That matter is then removed from the books indefinitely. If a parent is unemployed or cannot afford to pay such debts, they have a right to apply for exemption within the current year. Only once this is approved, can they be exempt from paying school fees. Otherwise, they are still liable.

AUTOMATIC EXEMPTION
The following learners may not be charged any school fees:
·         An orphan in an orphanage
·         A child in foster care
·         A child who heads a household or is part of a child-headed household
·         A child who has been placed in the care of a family member (kinship caregiver)
·         A child whose parents receive a social grant on behalf of the same learner, for example, a Child Support grant.
 
WHAT IS PRESCRIPTION AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?
The prescription of debt is when a debt is older than three years.
If no payments, promises to pay [verbal or written] or summons issued to the debtor, within that three year bracket, it is prescribed debt. Once the three year mark is reached, without interruptions, that debt must then be written off. It is illegal to collect/buy/sell such debts according to the Prescription Act of South Africa. Payment date can be determined by the contract of enrolment to a school. This gives info about its calender and payment structure.
 
>>Legally talk<<
“A school fee debt is an ordinary debt for the purposes of the Prescription Act.  Such a debt will prescribe three years after the debt becomes due.  This means that payment must be received, or a Summons must be issued and served upon the debtor within three years of the debt becoming due for payment.”
“The prescription period is interrupted if a payment is received within the three year period or a summons has been issued and served. In the event of a payment or summons, the prescription period will start counting from the date of payment or summons.”

WHAT IF MY DEBTOR IS UNDER DEBT REVIEW?
Debt review is when a debtor goes to a debt counsellor for help to get their debt situation under control. This then means that the debtor enters into a restructured debt repayment plan and is then legally protected by the National Credit Act (NCA) and they cannot be bothered with regards to these bills.
However, School fee debt does not form part of the National Credit Act, and is treated differently to normal debt. The School has the right to decide whether they want to form part of this new debt repayment plan, as set out by the debt counsellor, or if they would rather have their debt treated as priority.  

WHAT IS SEQUESTRATION AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?
There are 3 types of Sequestration Applications:
1] Voluntary Sequestration
2] Friendly Sequestration
3] Hostile Sequestration
Sequestration is when an order of the High court declares you insolvent and your debts from that date and older are scratched.

>>Legally talk<< 
Your debt vests on a Trustee, that needs to sell your assets and distribute the proceeds according to The Insolvency Act, Act nr: 24 of 1936.  T.  The debt to be written off is any debt made prior to the date on which the estate has been sequestrated by the High Court.  This means that the parent is still responsible for any debt incurred from the date of sequestration going forward.
If this is granted, then proof must be sent before account status can be changed.
 

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Our next newsletter will be focused on the FAQ section specifically for our executive clients