Fraud class action suit gets go-ahead to stop Lifestyle Legal group
- The court has given the go-ahead for a class action suit against the allegedly fraudulent Lifestyle Legal group
- Lifestyle Legal purportedly trades on websites under names including LoanSpottersSA, LoanMatchSA, LoandQuestSA and more
- These sites allegedly direct consumers looking for information about loans to apply using personal and banking details and then debits their bank accounts automatically
- The class-action suit legal representatives at the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic have already managed to obtain an interdict stopping these sites from debiting accounts.
The Stellenbosch Law Clinic has been given the go-ahead by Judge Patrick Gamble to institute a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of defrauded consumers who fell prey to the Lifestyle Legal group.
In their application to Judge Gamble, the law clinic contended that the Lifestyle Legal Group were not registered credit-providers but that they nevertheless lured unsuspecting consumers with promises of loans and loan-finding services, and in addition to this, although the respondents are not registered legal practitioners, they purport to charge consumers for legal advice - for which the unsuspecting clients were charged.
They go by various names online, says Refilwe.
You may know the Lifestyle Legal Group by the names LoanspotterSA, LoanmatchSA. LoanChoiceSA, LoanQuestSA.Refilwe Moloto, CapeTalk Breakfast presenter
The class action will work on an opt-out basis, as it will automatically cover anyone who was a victim of this alleged fraud, and to find out more, we're joined by Stephan van der Merwe, senior attorney at the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
These websites mislead users by appearing to offer loan services, he explains.
They appear to offer loans or loan-finding services but in fact, what happens, is as soon as the consumer goes onto these websites which they find by googling loans, they are then led to Loannfinder or Loanspotter.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
They are then lead to apply to put in personal details, their bank details, thinking they are applying for a loan and are shocked later to find what they have done is enter a legal services package with these websites. Amounts are then debited against them.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
Those that then manage to stop the debit orders are then harassed and threatened with black listing and legal action.
These sites are not registered as loan providers with the National Credit Regulator and they are also not registered with the Legal Practice Council which would allow them to practice these services.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
What has the class action suit achieved so far?
We have successfully applied as the class action suit representatives for certification of that specific class.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
The court has therefore awarded an order to bring together a class action suit involving certain prescribed class members.
This enables us now to bring an action to court for a class action specifically.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
An interdict has also been successfully obtained.
We have managed to get an interdict against these websites to stop them from deducting these monies, from continuing to offer these services, and from making threats to consumers.Stephan van der Merwe, Senior Attorney - Stellenbosch University Law Clinic
The ultimate purpose of the class action would be to obtain damages awards for the consumers affected.
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