An attorney who specialises in consumer law has reported several companies in the timeshare and holiday club industry to the Payments Association of SA (Pasa) for alleged abuse of the payment system.

Trudie Broekmann has cancelled more than 440 timeshare contracts on behalf of consumers, yet many continue to have their bank accounts debited months after cancelling their contracts, she is quoted as saying in a Sunday Times report.

‘In the absence of a contract, these companies have no right to debit clients' accounts. Intentionally doing so constitutes fraud. We turned to the Pasa, which is mandated by the Reserve Bank to regulate the payment system, rather than reporting these entities to the police, which we feared may be an exercise in futility.'

‘In this way, consumers who aren't represented by attorneys will also benefit from any action against rogue users of the payment system,’ Broekmann says.

Pasa CEO Pierre Coetzee says the names of these users of the payment system have been referred to the banks where the users' accounts are held for an investigation of the allegations.

‘If a sponsoring bank finds that a particular user poses a risk to the payment system due to, for example, a high number of unauthorised withdrawals from a consumer's account, that bank may decide to terminate its relationship with the user.’

Coetzee says when a bank terminates its relationship with a user this does not result in the user being barred from the payment system and the user can ‘enter into a relationship with another bank’.

He says that from March 2019 to the end of September 2020, 333 users were removed from the payment system by their banks, which conducted their own investigations.

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)