WHAT IS DEBT RE­VIEW? IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

CityPress - - Tenders -

Debt re­view is a process that pro­tects con­sumers against on­slaughts from credit providers. The Na­tional Credit Act was in­tro­duced in 2007 and has come a long way since. Thou­sands of peo­ple have al­ready been helped to re­pay their debt and still have enough money left at the end of the month to cover their liv­ing ex­penses. This elim­i­nates the stress of credit providers con­tact­ing them for pay­ments.

Debt re­view is gov­erned by a few main sec­tions and reg­u­la­tions of the Na­tional Credit Act, as well as guide­lines is­sued by the Na­tional Credit Reg­u­la­tor from time to time. Debt re­view in South Africa is the only debt re­view process in­ter­na­tion­ally in terms of which home loans can be in­cluded in the debt re­view ap­pli­ca­tion. The ben­e­fits are there­fore vast and con­sumers should make use of the process, as it is there to pro­tect and as­sist fi­nan­cially strained con­sumers.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Debt re­view is, in essence, a le­gal process pro­vid­ing the con­sumer with all the le­gal pro­tec­tion he or she needs, en­sur­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of the process, and at the same time pro­vides credit providers with a col­lec­tion method that does not alien­ate con­sumers, but pro­vides them with a so­lu­tion. The debt coun­sel­lor ne­go­ti­ates on be­half of the con­sumer with all their credit providers to de­ter­mine the right amount to be paid back to these providers, which is not only af­ford­able to the con­sumer, but also fair to­wards the credit providers.

Dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion process, the debt coun­sel­lor will re­duce the monthly pay­ments to­wards the credit providers to a more af­ford­able re­pay­ment amount by ex­tend­ing the re­pay­ment terms. This en­sures that the con­sumer has suf­fi­cient funds re­main­ing to cover his liv­ing ex­penses, such as rent, trans­port, util­i­ties, food, school fees, and so on, which pro­vides the con­sumer with the fi­nan­cial relief he or she seeks.

The fi­nal step is for the debt coun­sel­lor to for­malise the re­arrange­ments by ob­tain­ing an or­der to re­struc­ture the debt in line with the pro­posed of­fer amount.

A copy of the or­der must be served on the credit providers, who must re­struc­ture the debt in line with the granted court or­der.

WHAT PRO­TEC­TION DO I GET FROM MY CREDITORS?

In the first 60 days af­ter ap­ply­ing for debt re­view, the credit provider may not take le­gal ac­tion against the con­sumer and the con­sumer is fully pro­tected by the process. In prac­tice, the debt coun­sel­lor will ap­ply for a court date as soon as pos­si­ble to en­sure that the con­sumer is pro­tected while the court ap­pli­ca­tion is pend­ing, re­gard­less of the time frame, in or­der to ob­tain a court or­der. Once un­der for­mal debt re­view, creditors may not take le­gal ac­tion as long as the debt re­view pay­ments are made. The good news for con­sumers is that, although the Na­tional Credit Act only ap­plies to credit agree­ments, most ser­vice providers ac­cept the debt re­view process and might al­low for those ac­counts to be in­cluded in the process. In the event that they do not ac­cept the process, pro­vi­sion will be made in the con­sumer’s ex­penses to ac­com­mo­date these pay­ments.

WHAT IF LE­GAL AC­TION HAS AL­READY BEEN TAKEN?

Once le­gal ac­tion has been taken, it be­comes al­most im­pos­si­ble for that spe­cific ac­count to be in­cluded in debt re­view. It is im­por­tant that con­sumers seek help from a debt coun­sel­lor as soon as they re­alise that they are fac­ing fi­nan­cial dis­tress to pre­vent credit providers from pur­su­ing le­gal ac­tion.

WHEN SHOULD I CON­SIDER DEBT RE­VIEW?

Any con­sumer who finds her­self in a po­si­tion where she can no longer af­ford her debt as well as her es­sen­tial liv­ing ex­penses should con­tact a debt coun­sel­lor as soon as pos­si­ble. This should be done sooner rather than later.

Be­fore a credit provider can im­ple­ment le­gal ac­tion against a con­sumer in terms of a credit agree­ment, the credit provider must in­form the con­sumer of her rights to con­tact a debt coun­sel­lor in terms of sec­tion 129 of the Na­tional Credit Act. From the date of re­ceipt of this no­ti­fi­ca­tion, a con­sumer will have 10 busi­ness days within which she would be al­lowed to con­tact a debt coun­sel­lor be­fore le­gal ac­tion can con­tinue on this spe­cific ac­count.

Debt re­view has helped thou­sands of peo­ple in South Africa to pay of their debt in an af­ford­able man­ner with­out los­ing their as­sets, and it has proven to be a suc­cess­ful process. Peo­ple should make use of this process when­ever they find them­selves in a po­si­tion where they can­not af­ford to pay their monthly ex­penses.

It is im­por­tant to note, how­ever, that once un­der debt re­view, a con­sumer may not ac­cess any fur­ther credit un­til they have ex­ited debt re­view.

HOW CAN I EXIT DEBT RE­VIEW?

A con­sumer can only exit debt re­view and be fur­nished with a clear­ance once all the unse­cured debt has been paid up and home loan pay­ments are up to date. Al­ter­na­tively, a con­sumer can ap­ply to the court if her fi­nances have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly and she can con­tinue with the debt re­pay­ment lev­els be­fore debt re­view was in­sti­gated. If a con­sumer stops mak­ing pay­ments un­der debt re­view, the creditors can im­me­di­ately bring le­gal ac­tion on all out­stand­ing debt.

In­for­ma­tion pro­vided by Debt Res­cue. Phone 0861 123 644 or visit deb­tres­cue.co.za

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