What is the difference between Debt Counselling, administration and sequestration?
*Debt Counselling: is where a Debt Counsellor restructures instalments to allow the consumer to pay his or her debt and meet his / her basic living expenses. Debts are paid monthly.
*Administration: is a legal process, where the instalments are reduced, but creditors only receive payment every three months and the term of repayment is much longer than under Debt Counselling. Debt must be less than R50 000 to qualify.
* Sequestration: is a legal process where assets are sold to try and lessen the debt and the Court will appoint somebody to manage your finances. This is costly and you will be blacklisted for 30 years or until the Court declares you as rehabilitated.
What fees will the consumer have to pay to the Debt Counsellors?
There is an initial R50 consultation fee. Other fees payable to the Debt Counsellor will be in accordance with the scale as provided by the National Credit Regulator
What is a credit bureau report and how do I get mine?
A consumer can obtain a report that about their credit rating free of charge once a year by calling, Experian telephone 0861 10 5665 or Transunion telephone 0861 482 482.
Can I apply for credit while under Debt Review with a Debt Counsellor?
Will I be black-listed if I apply for Debt Review with a Debt Counsellor?
No. There is no black-listing but if the Debt Counsellor finds the consumer to be over-indebted, they will add a flag to the consumer’s credit record asking creditors not to lend the consumer money because he or she is already over-indebted. This will be removed once the debt has been repaid and when the consumer is no longer over-indebted.
At what stage will my listing be removed from the Credit Bureau?
The moment you are no longer in arrears and have paid off most debt excluding bonds, the Debt Counsellor will remove you from Debt Review and notify credit bureaus that you are no longer under Debt Review or over-indebted even though you may still have to pay off your bond. In other words, it is a sign that you have now learnt how to effectively manage your money.
What will happen if a creditor lends the consumer money while the consumer is under
The Debt Counsellor may refer the matter to court for a declaration of reckless lending and the court will then decide what action to take.
What accounts can be included in a Debt Review process with a Debt Counsellor?
All credit agreements can be included but not service agreements such as water and lights accounts or cell phone accounts. Any accounts on which judgment has been taken cannot be included.
Is there a way that my debt can be consolidated?
You can apply in conjunction with your Debt Counsellor for a consolidation loan to the relevant institutions but this tends to only be granted in extreme cases.
Why can a Garnishee (Emolument Attachment Order) not be included?
It is already a Court Order and only a Court can make a change to the Court Order.
Can a consumer see a Debt Counsellor if they have received a letter of demand?
Yes, a consumer should visit a Debt Counsellor urgently if they receive a letter of demand. Debt Counsellors can make arrangements on a letter of demand or warrant of execution but if a court judgment has been taken they cannot do anything.
Can I still go under Debt Review if I have been black-listed by a creditor?
Yes, you can be placed under Debt Review at anytime, provided a Debt Counsellor has declared you over-indebted.
Must I continue to pay my accounts?
Yes. The creditors cannot take legal action for 60 business days after you apply for Debt Review but you must continue to make payments, because if your application is unsuccessful, you will be in default and the creditors can take legal action after those 60 business days.
What proof will I have that I am under Debt Review?
You will be issued with a letter to this effect from the Debt Counsellor.
When is a consumer under Debt Review?
After the client has successfully applied for Debt Review and the Debt Counsellor has notified the credit providers.
What happens I receive a letter of demand?
You have less than 20 days to see a Debt Counsellor for help.
If a consumer is not over-indebted, can they still apply for Debt Review?
No, although he/she can contact a Debt Counsellor for advice on how to manage their money better and various options will be discussed.
Will the consumer still be able to use accounts and credit facilities?
No, once notification has been given to the credit providers, the accounts will be blocked from further use.
If a consumer has additional cash, can the consumer pay the creditors directly?
No, there is a restructuring plan, in place. The consumer must contact the Debt Counsellor to make arrangements.
If a consumer is under administration can the consumer undergo Debt Counselling?
No, administration is a parallel legal process with similar outcomes. It has to be either administration or Debt Counselling.
What is Debt Counselling?
Debt Counselling is a solution for over-indebted borrowers that ensures sufficient protection against loss of assets and assists with the restructuring of debt so that the consumer can meet his / her basic living expenses.
Can a bank or credit provider provide Debt Counselling?
No, it is a conflict of interest. Always talk to your Debt Counsellor. Consumer Assist is here to help you with our team of Debt Counsellors to get back on track, get rid of debt and start a new more prosperous life.
What is the purpose of a Debt Counsellor?
The purpose of a Debt Counsellor is to provide a solution by restructuring payments so that the client can meet his / her basic living expenses.
What happens if a credit provider does not accept a repayment plan?
The Debt Counsellor can calculate a new proposal or refer the matter to the Court for a decision.
What happens if a consumer has been incorrectly black-listed by a credit provider? Is there a way that this can be corrected?
Yes, the consumer can phone the credit bureau and request that the information be amended or approach a Debt Counsellor for assistance.
What is the difference in the case of Sequestration / Judgement … ?
- There are costs associated with sequestration and your creditors will have to pay them out of your insolvent estate;
- It allows you to write off some of your debt or most of it;
- You lose all your assets;
- It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get credit again without the approval of the trustee (the person appointed by the court to manage your assets);
- You will have to apply to be rehabilitated later, which is not that easy, (usually not before 4 years have elapsed). This means that during the 4 years you cannot qualify for a loan or enter into any credit or financial agreements. Even once you have been rehabilitated you will battle to get credit for another 5 years as the notice of rehabilitation which gets added to your credit record will discourage creditors from lending to you even though they are now allowed to;
- You must first persuade your creditors that sequestration is the best option for them too. Because they pay something towards the costs, they can refuse to do this and then you have to go for the second option.
Wait for judgement
If you are unable to pay your debt and your do nothing, it is very likely that your creditors will take judgment against you. The effect of this could include the following:
- They can attach your assets;
- They can demand a portion of your monthly salary or garnishee order;
- You are listed on the credit bureau;
- The judgment stays in place for 30 years. This means that your creditor has 30 years to collect the debt from you.