Debt counselling, also known as debt review, is intended to assist over-indebted consumers struggling with debt through budget advice, negotiation with credit providers for reduced payments and restructuring of debts.
Debt Counselling is a formal legal process that provides for a consumer to be declared over-indebted and for the Debt Counsellor to negotiate a restructured payment plan and obtain a court order confirming the new repayment plan. The Debt Counsellor must be registered with the National Credit Regulator and have an NCRDC number. The NDMA uses the services of a registered debt counsellor.
Once declared over-indebted and accepted into debt counselling the following will happen:
- You will be protected from legal action for a period of 60 days from the day of application and after the arrangement has been concluded as long as you pay according to the new arrangement;
- All your creditors will have to stop calling you and instead liaise with your debt counsellor;
- You will be listed at the Credit Bureau as being under debt counselling;
For as long as you are under debt counselling you will not be allowed to get credit until you are issued with a Clearance Certificate once you have satisfied your obligations as per the Court or Tribunal order and in line with the National Credit Act.
The overall objectives for the DEBT COUNSELLOR is to:
- Assess the full extent of your debt situation
- Assess your assets that may be taken into account
- Provide a debt remedy that:
- Provide you with an acceptable standard of living while repaying your debts according to your affordability – this includes retaining the home and a vehicle where possible;
- Provide you with an agreed, affordable and realistic monthly budget in order to resolve the situation in the shortest possible time;
- Provide a repayment scheme acceptable to your creditors and confirmed by the Court;
- Prevent repossession of assets where possible;
- Rehabilitate you without detriment for the future; and
- Allow you to get on with your life.
The overall objectives for YOU should be:
- To work honestly and openly with the debt counsellor;
- Declare all assets and liabilities – including all incomes and debts, and including bonuses and salary increases;
- To pay the registration and debt counselling fees as disclosed at the first meeting;
- To adhere to the agreed instalments and to pay these at the agreed dates;
- To keep in regular contact with the debt counsellor for the full length of the agreement; and
- To agree and commit to the debt remedy – this may include surrendering credit cards, closing accounts and realising some assets.
The overall objectives for your CREDITORS should be:
- To work with the debt counsellor to assist in the normalisation of the debt;
- To favourably consider the repayment proposal;
- To ensure the consumer is assisted in a fair and unbiased way throughout the process of repayment;
- To assist the consumer to rehabilitate as soon as possible; and
- To assist the consumer to restore his/her creditworthiness as soon as possible.