Joburg Advocacy Group (JAG): TIPS ON HOW TO HANDLE AN NCC CONCILIATION HEARING

Thursday, 5 April 2012

TIPS ON HOW TO HANDLE AN NCC CONCILIATION HEARING



A number of residents who've logged complaints about billing with the National Consumer Commission (NCC) are being asked to attend conciliation hearings. A few have asked us for advice on how to handle these hearings, as the city has legal representation at these, but residents aren't given this option. You may find the following response to one of these queries helpful:

1. Call the NCC in advance and ask what your options for legal representation are. It seems a rather unfair situation if the city has legal representation but you don't. On the other hand, the NCC will probably be acting as your de facto legal representative, but we're not sure about that, so we'd suggest that you check.

2. Write up a summary of your dispute and take a few copies along to the hearing, together with any supporting documentation (e.g. previous municipal bills and Joburg Connect reference numbers) that may be required to prove or illustrate your dispute.

3. Work out as best you can what the current state of your account should be - have as accurate a figure as possible available.

4. If you're in arrears, acknowledge that you're willing to make arrangements to settle any outstanding amount that may be owed IF your bill is accurate and, importantly, VERIFIABLE!

5. Don't be intimidated and don't be forced into making a settlement you're not happy with. Remember, this is a conciliation hearing and you're not obliged to accept the outcome. However, if your bill is rectified and you're able to make arrangements to repay any amount/s that may be outstanding, we'd suggest that you accept this outcome. To take the matter further would require costly civil litigation.

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