Terms and Conditions: Utilities

HouseHoppers Consulting (PTY) LTD  t/a HouseHoppers

These Terms and Conditions shall govern the legal relationship between all HouseHoppers branches and its clients:

  1. HouseHoppers is an independent rates consultancy firm that aids consumers in opening accounts, closing accounts/ obtaining refunds, and problem-solving billing errors. We act as facilitators and with our thorough knowledge of the different municipalities’ processes and workings we are able to speed up the process. While still at the mercy of the municipalities to process the work, we cannot be held liable for any processing errors done by the relevant municipalities.
  2. Timeframes provided are guidelines only. Househoppers aims to resolve all work and queries as quickly as possible but there may be unforeseen delays from time to time.
  3. Househoppers work is based on information supplied to the company by the client, should any information be incorrect Househoppers will not be liable for any errors as a result thereof.
  4. HouseHoppers is required, by law, to follow all and any processes and procedures set out by the relevant municipalities. This supersedes any “desired” outcomes. All fees due for work processed, and accepted by a client, will be payable should the “desired” outcome not be achieved, and if the work has been corrected in accordance with the relevant municipalities’ policy and procedures. If HouseHoppers is unable to resolve or rectify the issue with the factual information available, and in accordance with the relevant municipalities’ policies and procedures, the matter will then be referred to a legal entity that will carry additional charges.
  5. All Househoppers fees are required in advance before any work will commence. Please ensure the correct reference is used when making payments. Fees for queries are due immediately on the presentation of an invoice. HouseHoppers fees will not be refunded under any circumstances, including but not limited to the following; low or nil refund due to unforeseen circumstances; any delay in any process or accounts that have already been opened unbeknown to the consumer/ HouseHoppers (Househoppers does not check the existence of an account prior to starting the process). If a fee is refunded, at the discretion of Househoppers, for any reason, it will be refunded less an admin fee and less work that has already been processed on your file. Any fees that are not settled within the stipulated time will be referred to a debt collection agency which will result in additional fees being charged. The fees will remain for the account of the client.
  6. The municipalities change their policies and procedures often and without notification, this does cause problems and delays in our process. Househoppers cannot be held liable for this as it is beyond our control.
  7. Househoppers aims to provide feedback when progress has been made on accounts or at least every 4 weeks. Should you require feedback between these periods please feel free to contact your HouseHoppers coordinator directly.
  8. Any account which involves the creation of a new rates account (opening, closings or queries) is dependent on the LIS (Land Information) system being up to date with the new ownership details. Should it not be updated within the required time and should HouseHoppers need to intervene to get it updated, additional charges will be incurred as it will constitute a separate query
  9. Account opening: When new accounts are opened, they are opened with all the exact information as the previous account. If there are errors on the previous account the same errors will appear on the new account. The correction of these errors will constitute a separate query. Sub Division and consolidation accounts differ slightly from the normal account opening and closing procedure, and also warrant different fees to process the work.
  10. Account closings and refunds: All accounts to be closed by HouseHoppers must be stipulated. HouseHoppers cannot be held liable for any omitted accounts. If an attorney requires payment to obtain archived or other documents, the client is responsible for these payments. Obtaining documents on behalf of clients is a courtesy service we offer and we cannot be held liable if attorneys do not honour requests for documents timeously. We will do our best to assist clients with obtaining documents but the responsibility ultimately lies with the client to ensure that all documents are forthcoming. No monies should be paid into relevant municipalities’ accounts after the clearance figures have been paid. If monies have been paid after the date of transfer additional HouseHoppers fees may be applicable to have these additional amounts refunded. Buyer information is required to ensure that accounts are closed correctly. HouseHoppers will not be held liable if this information has not been supplied and delays the process. HouseHoppers cannot be held liable if refunds are rejected due to incorrect council processing. Refund amounts are estimated at the beginning of the process. These are very basic calculations and do not include a full investigation into the account which could reveal billing errors and which could alter the initial estimated refund. Readings are needed when closing an Eskom account. If they are not submitted to HouseHoppers and Eskom uses the readings closest to the closing date, HouseHoppers cannot be held liable for the under or overcharges. There are several steps involved in obtaining the refund and each step is handled by a different coordinator. 
  11. Accounts are closed from the date of transfer and no other date. If occupation is given prior/ after this date, the consumption charges must be recovered directly between the buyer and the seller. Additional fees will be applicable for recons done for occupational periods.
  12. The relevant municipalities may require further information (other than what is required initially) during the opening, closing or query process and this may cause unforeseen delays. They may require further information (other than what is required initially) during the process and this may cause unforeseen delays.
  13. HouseHoppers does not take responsibility for lost or damaged original documents that are provided to HouseHoppers, Househoppers prefer copies of all documents. HouseHoppers may make use of additional service providers to process work on your file from time to time and your information will be supplied to the relevant service providers.
  14. Once a file has been archived in our office an additional fee will be charged to retrieve it. Clients will be notified prior to archiving.
  15. Investigation fees are payable upfront. No investigations proceed prior to payment being received. The investigation fee will not be refunded under any circumstances.
  16. Valuation files are backdated to the current valuation roll only, in accordance with the rates Act Council do not open previous valuation rolls for amendments or adjustments. Should this be required it will need to be addressed on a legal basis which Househoppers is not qualified to do.
  17. HouseHoppers work is based on physical facts and information from the council and the client, if there is insufficient evidence to resolve an issue, the matter would need to be addressed on a legal basis which Househoppers is not qualified to do. Work already processed on the file will need to be settled in full.
  18. Househoppers cannot guarantee the successful locating of job cards. We will endeavour to locate the required job card or explore an alternative solution to resolve the billing issue, however, no guarantee can be given in accordance with clause 16.
  19. If any fees remain outstanding, Househoppers will not proceed/start a file until such time that the fees have been settled in full.
  20. HouseHoppers cannot be held liable for any disconnections at a property especially due to non-payment of accounts. Although accounts are flagged to avoid this, it can be overridden by the credit department. HouseHoppers will not be liable for any loss/ damage or inconvenience caused. Whatsoever.
  21. It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that all documents are filled out correctly and the correct information supplied. HouseHoppers will not take responsibility for incorrect information supplied which results in any delays or errors.
  22. HouseHoppers cannot be held liable for any delays caused relating to meter installations when the cause of the delay is council related., including but not limited to errors on the relevant municipalities systems and any shortage of stock items etc.
  23. It is the client’s responsibility to inform HouseHoppers of any installations that have taken place.
  24. The completion and resolution of a query is valid for 30 days, being a billing cycle on the relevant municipalities system, Househoppers does not take any responsibility for any additional errors on the account whether related directly to the initial query or not.
  25. Any entity that provides HouseHoppers authority to work on an account, also remains responsible for the payment of Househoppers fees.
  26. Interest reversals can only be done with the correct facts off council system.
  27. The HouseHoppers service is mandated to complete the work stipulated and discussed. If additional queries should arise prior to, after or during the process, these will be billed as separate queries as they are not included into the mandated service price.
  28. An account opening (from a new account or existing account) pertains to an account opening only and not any other services, including but not limited to a valuations query, resolution of billing query, address change etc.
  29. The work mentioned in our email is the only work quoted for any separate work will occur additional fees
  30. This is a living document and is altered from time to time due to the ever-changing nature of the business. Please ensure that you have the latest version.