What must you do if your debt counsellor is not performing?

As a registered debt counsellor with 75% of my clients from other debt counsellors who did not follow the procedures as set out in the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 regarding the conduct of a debt counselling application, I am seriously worried. A company cannot use a single registration and employ people under them who did not pass the examination with more than 80% and then is listed as a registered debt counsellor with the National Credit Regulator (NCR). A debt counsellor is a single person who acts on the behalf of a consumer, staff in the office can assist but the person who’s registration number is on all your documentation is the person who is responsible for your application.

If you are with a debt counsellor you need to know the following:
• That the person you are dealing with is legitimate and has a certificate issued by the NCR registering that person as a debt counsellor
• That you can find the person on www.ncr.org.za listed as registered
• That you receive a letter confirming acceptance of application with a payment instruction as well as a proposed repayment schedule
• That you have a court date within 60 days of applying for debt review (MUST)
• That your debt counsellor can provide you with proof of payment every month
• Check your monthly statements to see if the monies paid, show on your credit account

The consumers who come to me have a myriad of issues with debt counsellors:
• Consumers are not informed of the process correctly
• Consumers are not warned of the termination if payments are not made regularly
• Fees are deducted when payments should commence and not disclosed
• Section 86(10) termination letters are ignored
• Legal action are ignored resulting in consumers losing their property (cars and houses)
• Payments to creditors are reversed
• Court dates for debt review in the magistrate court are not set down
• Administration of the consumer file is not up to date
• Procedures as per the NCA are not followed

What must you do if you find that your debt counsellor is not performing?
• File a complaint with the NCR on form 29 and you can find it on www.ncr.org.za or phone 0860 627 627
• In 50% of the cases it is better to stay with the debt counsellor you are with but sometimes it is essential to transfer to another competent registered debt counsellor immediately

The debt counselling process is brilliant to assist over indebted consumers but as in all new legislative processes there are teething problems AND sometimes people who abuse the system. Make sure that you are protected.

Renée Marais
NCRDC1780
(012) 330 0428
078 031 4264
renee@dfx.co.za

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Rietmark was established in 1997 to assist small and home businesses with the marketing of their business or service. Every month 80 000 advertising booklets are printed and distributed in Pretoria Moot, North, East and Centurion. We also offer design and printing services - business cards, flyers, car magnets, banners, chromadek sign boards, posters, vinyl stickers and more! www.rietmark.co.za.
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