HomeNewsCouncil unleashes debt collectors on residents

Council unleashes debt collectors on residents

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HEAVILY-indebted Harare residents yesterday accused the city council of unleashing private debt collectors to attach their properties without giving them an adequate notice period to clear their arrears.

BY REJOICE CHINGWARU

Residents said they were shocked to receive letters from Wellcash Debt Collectors saying they only had 48 hours to clear their debts or risk attachment of their assets.

“The city council did not tell us in advance that they were engaging debt collectors and the collectors are demanding us to pay our arrears in full within 48 hours, which is impossible considering the current economic situation,” a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Another resident said: “The letters we got from the debt collectors stipulate that failure to clear arrears within 48 hours will result in penalty fees. How can they impose penalties at a time when we are failing to pay our actual debts?”

But, council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, said defaulters had been given ample time to pay off their arrears or at least propose a flexible payment plan.

“We gave adequate notice through letters from the time that the debts started accumulating and we are happy with the response of residents who are visiting our offices to make payments,” he said, adding the $550 million rates arrears owed by residents had crippled council operations.

“We are owed over $550 million by our customers and we need that money to fund service delivery in the city.”

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