Debt Angels supports Carte Blanche insert on untrustworthy debt counsellors
You feel trapped under a mountain of debt, mostly incurred due to the financial impact surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only do you not know who to turn to, but now you are made aware of seemingly helpful debt agencies, whose help now has consumers in deeper trouble than before.
After the recent feature on the investigative journalism television series, Carte Blanche, “When debt becomes expensive”, consumers may feel lost and vulnerable when choosing a debt counsellor.
A process that should have consumers feeling sheltered, assisted, and relieved, now seems more daunting and riskier than ever.
So, how do you know who to trust? What questions do you need to ask to know your debt counsellor is qualified to represent you in court of law?
Not all Debt Counsellors are created equal
Before you commit to any debt counsellor, do your homework. Long before you entrust anyone with your personal details, you need to ask your debt counsellor the following questions:
1. Ask the prospective Debt Counsellor for their DC Number.
a. Visit https://www.ncr.org.za/register_of_registrants/registered_dc.php to ensure your future debt counsellor is registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) by typing in the provided DC Number.
2. Are they registered with the NCR?
3. Ask your debt counsellors about their fees.
a. Visit https://solidariteit.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/debt-counselling-fee-structure-guideline.pdf and download the document and ensure that the fees are as per the document.
4. Are their fees in terms of the NCR guidelines?
5. Did your Debt Counsellor explain the Debt Review process? Did you understand it.
6. Ask your Debt Counsellor which payment distribution agency (PDA) they will use and when the monthly payments will be deducted from your account?
If not answered – the red lights must go off.
7. Will you receive monthly statements and regular updates?
If no answer – the red lights must go off.
8. Ask yourself, do you trust the debt counselling agency? What does your gut tell you? Research them online, in community groups and trusted circles.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
When confronted with the jargon and concepts of debt assistance, it is very easy to assume it all means the same and will have the same process and result. That is unfortunately not the case, and clever wording and catchy marketing phrases can cause you to be caught up in the wrong solution for your situation.
Did you realise that there is a difference between Debt Review, Debt Consolidation and Sequestration?
- Debt Review according to the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (as amended), where you will pay one reduced payment to all your credit providers.
- With Debt Consolidation you will have to provide surety for one consolidated loan, normally at a very high interest rate.
- Sequestration can only happen if you have enough money to PAY sufficient funds to the creditors for instance 25-30c for each rand in debt.
- Plus additional sequestration costs.
- Debt Review by far outweighs the other available options.
An example of debt counsellors offering transparent service and educating the consumer, is Debt Angels. As qualified and registered Debt Counsellors, and a legal firm, they can represent you in a court of law.
Educate yourself on the properties of each process, which will offer you the outcome you desire, or mail firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance or Whatsapp 072 360 6396. www.debtangels.co.za
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