Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

The Shoprite Group is the first large retailer to be found guilty of reckless lending by the national consumer tribunal. The national credit regulator announced on Wednesday that the tribunal had fined Shoprite R1m for entering into credit agreements with consumers without conducting a reasonable and objective assessment of the consumers’ ability to afford the loans. The tribunal has ordered Shoprite to appoint a debt counsellor at its own cost. The counsellor is tasked with assessing if the consumers that were mentioned in the national credit regulator’s referral are over-indebted. The tribunal’s ruling followed an investigation by the national credit regulator into lending activity by Shoprite in 2013 and 2014. "Some of the conduct of Shoprite that was found to be in contravention of the National Credit Act was that Shoprite, when assessing whether a consumer could afford a loan or not, took into account unverified income of another person, such as a spouse or a life partner," sai...

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