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Sign At Your Own Risk

No fighting a signature

Elvis Ntombela says Equitac Commodity Brokers’ Holiday club took him for a ride. In August 2003 he received a call from a direct marketer who invited him to a no-obligation presentation in Randburg.The Holiday club, a time-share operation, buys weeks of accommodation at a number of resorts and shares them out on a point system. The public can become members by investing in the point system which allows them to book holidays to the value of their points.  

Ntombela attended the presentation and now, nearly two years later has found out that he has been blacklisted by the club. This came to his attention when he went to buy a television form Hi Fi Corporation last week and was unable to get credit.” I’m so angry.” he says. “I usually never buy on credit and the one time I need to, I get this news.”  

Ntombela says he only signed an “acknowledgement of presentation” from when he attended the function. “I was interested in buying but at the time I was still a freelance photographer and couldn’t afford it.”  

How to Avoid Such Situations: 

  • Never give personal details to a stranger- over the telephone or face to face – unless you are sure what it is for and you trust the person.  
  • Do not sign anything unless you have read and are sure you understand everything on the form.  
  • Now that there is a way for you to access your financial behavioral history stored at credit bureaus, you should monitor it regularly. This can be done by accessing your credit profile. A credit profile contains your personal details, where and how many times credit has been granted to you by which businesses, and your payment history. One advantage of this service is it reduces the possibility of people fraudulently obtaining credit in your name it can be stopped immediately. Every time a credit enquiry takes place, the consumer is informed by e mail or SMS. This management tool comes at a fee. For more information call TransUnion ITC on 0861 482 482.    

Last week Ntombela confronted the club. To his surprise he was given a copy of an acknowledgment of presentation and a purchase agreement – both with his signature. “I don’t know how my signature landed up on the purchase agreement” he says. “I clearly remember signing only the acknowledgement of presentation.” The purchase agreement states that Ntombela bought points worth R7 600 and that he had to cough up deposit of R2 000 and pay the rest off in installments.

This week consumer line visited the club’s offices in Sunninghill. Before we were ordered off the premises, credit controller Kgomotso Modiga said: “Ntombela, tell the truth. You did buy. We blacklisted you because you didn’t pay the deposit.” It seems there is no way out because it is Ntombela’s word against the club’s – and his signature is on the dotted line. He will have to pay the club if he wants his name cleared by the credit bureau. 


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