In the wake of this year’s improved matric results, pursuing a diploma or degree at a tertiary
institution is no longer just a dream. Unfortunately, some students might not have a bursary or
scholarship to pursue their studies, and their parents might struggle to meet their financial
obligations. For many, taking out a loan from a financial institution could be the only option. The
Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs (GOCA) is therefore reminding consumers to borrow wisely
when they consider taking out study loans.
“We urge consumers to be wary of credit offers that are too good to be true, especially online
offerings – consumers should refrain from clicking on adverts of credit/loan offerings popping up
on social media platform. Verify the authenticity of the lenders before signing up. Only borrow
from well-known institutions as far as possible to avoid falling prey to scams and fraud,” warns
Milly Viljoen, Director of Consumer Education and Awareness at Gauteng Office of Consumer
Consumers should protect their rights and make sure that they know their financial status by
getting a copy of their credit profile (Credit Report) from any of the registered credit bureaux.
Consumers are entitled to a free credit report during a 12-month period, if you have a good/high
credit score you are in a position to negotiate the interest rate payable and ultimately pay less for
credit as opposed to someone with a poor/low credit score.
In regard to borrowing money, consumers are reminded of their right to choose (shop around),
disclosure of information (all cost of credit be made known), and fair, just, and reasonable terms
Here are a few tips to ensure you enforce your rights:
• Shop around. Get a pre-agreement statement and quotation from credit providers before
you take any credit and compare costs (initiation fees, interests, credit insurance, other
additional fees) and repayment terms offered by different credit providers/micro lenders.
• Before you sign any agreement, make sure you borrow from a registered credit
provider/lender. Most of the unregistered microlenders make you sign unlawful
agreements in terms of fees and interest as they do not always comply with the National
• Be careful of online lenders, some are not registered credit providers/lenders/loan sharks.
They tend to charge very high-interest rates of between 30% and 50% on loans and they
usually want an upfront payment to process the loan or your application.
• Read all the Terms and Conditions before signing any agreement, find out all about the
cost of credit before you sign i.e., initiation fees, interest, service fees, credit insurance,
etc. Do not sign until you are sure.
• A consumer has a right to receive any document that is required in an official language
that the consumer reads or understands. For example, consumers who are not fluent in
English could exercise this right andrequest the translated documents in their chosen
language. Get a copy of the agreement; you are entitled to it even if the agreement was
entered into telephonically.
For more information, advice, and consumer-related complaints, please contact the Gauteng
Office of Consumer Affairs on (011) 355 8006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details and media inquiries, please contact Ms. Milly Viljoen, the Director for Consumer
Education, Awareness and Stakeholder Relations, on 082 925 8886, email address
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Issued by the Gauteng Department of Economic Development: www.gauteng.gov.za