June 6, 2017 / 1:06 PM / 3 months ago

South Africa's credit regulator to appeal Lewis Group judgment

JOHANNESBURG, June 6 (Reuters) - South Africa's National Credit Regulator (NCR) will appeal a tribunal ruling that cleared Lewis Group of breaching credit rules with the fees it charges customers, the NCR said on Tuesday.

The credit regulator last year referred Lewis to the National Consumer Tribunal for allegedly contravening credit rules when charging customers for warranties and club membership fees that entitle them to special deals.

A majority of the tribunal found that there was a contract for joining the club and a separate fee charged for club membership for Lewis' credit customers. The furniture retailer, which sells mostly to lower income groups on in-store credit, was cleared of wrongdoing by the tribunal.

"The NCR does not support the credit retailers' conduct of charging consumers a club fee on credit agreements or under any supplementary agreements or documents. This fee increases the consumers' cost of credit," the regulator told Reuters.

The regulator last week also referred clothing retailer Mr Price to the tribunal for charging consumers a "club fee" on credit agreements.

Lewis shares were down 5.40 percent at 33.11 rand at 1213 GMT. (Reporting by Olwethu Boso; editing by David Clarke)

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