Advice

Debt Consolidation Loans

No it’s not a consolidation loan in the conventional way. However, we do consolidate all your current financial obligations to your creditors (Bond, Car Hire Purchase’s, Store Cards, Credit Cards, bank overdrafts, and all personal loans). We then negotiate reduced monthly instalments by reducing interest rate, insurance and service fees making sure you are able to support yourself and your family and keeping your credit providers happy at the same time.

If you are in arrears and/or are experiencing problems with your monthly debt repayments then it is not wise to take on even more debt, and it’s likely you will not qualify for a loan. Debt Review is then your best option in order to sort out your situation. When you have cleared all your debt then you are free to apply for credit again.

No, this will not cost you more in the long run (inclusive of our fees) as we are able to negotiate lower interest rates, reduce service fees down to zero in many instances. Our goal is simple we want you to become debt free in the fastest possible way whilst ensuring your ability to support your family.

Credit Bureau Listing / Blacklistings / Judgements / Legal

You can only get a loan under certain conditions. 1. An emergency loan 2. An educational loan. 3. A full consolidation loan which must be registered with the NCR. So generally the answer to this is no. (Do not be fooled by false advertising as many of these companies will charge you a fee for trying to find you a loan. (MAKE SURE YOU READ THERE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PRIOR TO APPLYING) as they hide the fees they charge in them.

Yes you can, but we may not be able to include the accounts you have judgments on if the legal process has gone too far. We will include all other accounts and this should ensure you can cope with all your debt repayments. Fill out an application and talk to one of our consultants – they will be able to assess your situation and advise accordingly.

No, however it is our experience that most attorneys and creditors will respond to the debt review programme favourably and agree to have this included in the debt review.

We will include all your current debt. However, if legal action has already commenced before you applied for debt review it can be excluded by your credit providers as it falls outside of the NCA. However, in many instances credit providers are willing to accept proposals from us as this will save them time outsourcing other collection agencies.

If you are blacklisted we can help you and place you under debt review. If you are struggling to meet your monthly commitments and you are blacklisted you will have difficulties obtaining a loan with a bank – you should consider being placed under debt review by a debt counsellor in order to get your finances back on track.

Again we will be able to remove your listing as being under debt review on the basis that you can prove to the courts that you are no longer indebted and able to manage your finances yourself.

Yes you will be able to get finance as credit bureaus will be updated accordingly. The idea behind debt review is to help you manage your money better and allow you back into the credit market with a better understanding of your personal finances.

Yes, once you have cleared all your debt (excluding your Bond) we will issue you with a clearance certificate removing all information on the credit bureaus.

Yes, once you are under debt review you will be protected by law and as long as you continue to make payments as agreed (reduced instalments).

Yes, once you are under debt review all credit providers must record the information by law.

Yes, when you have started the process of being placed under debt review in order to deal with your creditors and get your finances in order again you will be registered with the credit bureaus.

My Creditors

There are very few cases where we don’t come to an agreement with creditors for reduced payments. This will then be challenged in court if we see merit in the case.
The critical thing when being under debt review is to be committed to the new, reduced, payment plan. If payments are missed your creditors have the right to terminate your debt review.

Your creditors shall according to National Credit Act stop pursuing you when you have been placed under debt review. Sometimes it can take a bit of time for creditors to update all their departments that you are under review – should they contact you, let them know that we are your debt counsellors us and that we are acting on your behalf. You should forward any letters for us to deal with on your behalf.

Creditors may initially send out Default Notices in order to protect their legal position, but once you are under debt review you are under the legal protection of the Credit Act and creditors cannot take legal action against you for a 60 business day period. We will deal with any issues you may have initially until everything is agreed and legally contracted via consent orders with your creditors. Just refer your creditors to us.

Understanding Debt Review

Since the inception of the NCA back in 2007 Debt Counselling has been a hot topic of discussion in all areas.

There are many great stories but unfortunately there are even a larger number of disappointments and general distrust in the industry itself.

So who is to blame?

To answer this question you need to know how debt counselling works and not listen to a “clever” sales person promising you “the earth” such as we are  cheaper as they have special deals with industry players and because they are so big they can offer better discounts. (DO NOT BE FOOLED)!

In order to break this down simply, I will explain the pros and cons for each step in the process.

  1. You sign up with a Debt Counsellor and forward all of your information to them. They then list you as being under Debt Review and forward this information to your creditors. (At this stage you should have a clear idea of the costs involved and how much you will need to pay monthly to get yourself Debt Free, there may be a slight difference as we only have access to the credit bureau and your debt could be slightly higher or less once we receive actual balances from your creditors).

Pros:

  1. Your accounts are now protected and creditors may not take legal action against you for a period of 60 Business days (Almost 3 months).

Cons:

  1. How do you know that your debt counsellor is doing a good job and have they made contact with all your creditors? Most importantly have they made reasonable offers to your creditors that they will accept? (Banks and all Creditors are willing help but offers must be reasonable and they would like all unsecured Debt paid within 5 years (60 months).
  2. There are Debt Counsellors out there that prey on the fact that the banks are unable to take legal action against an individual during the period of negotiation. This is major problem in the industry. For all you know everything is fine as you are told not to worry, everything will be sorted and simply fob you off with this.

 

  1. Unfortunately if you have gone to the wrong Debt Counsellor you may only discover this in your third month as creditors are now allowed to take action against you. By now it could be too late and you are left under Debt Review with little chance of getting out of it unless you act quickly and find a company that can help.

 

Steps you can take to avoid this.

 

  1. Investigate the company you intend signing up with ask the obvious questions.

 

  1. Are they properly registered.
  2. Do they have sufficient staff and can they answer your questions.
  • Have you googled the company via com
  1. Have a look at all your debt and compare the payments they are saying you should make (do not include your Bond or Car) Divide you entire unsecured debt by the amount you are paying and is this in the region of 60 months? If it’s way out it will not solve and you will NOT get out of debt!
  2. Are you able to get regular feedback from your Debt Counsellor?
  3. What seems to be the most important thing to the person signing you up? Are they pushing you for account details, registering you before you even have time to think?
  • Can you get hold of the same person you have just been speaking to after signing up with them?
  • Has this company won any awards and when last did they?
  1. How long have they been in business? (Ask for the company registration as the first 4 digits indicate the year that they registered.)
  2. Make sure they are registered with the NCR.

 

So there you have the basics but we have only just started the process so let me explain what should happen during the time you sign up for Debt Counselling and to the day that you have your order granted in court ensuring you are fully protected throughout the period of being under debt review.

Step 2

Your Debt Counsellor sends out a form to your creditors. (Known as a form 17.1)

Your creditors have 5 Business days to respond and supply us with a certificate of balance.

 

Step 3

We now do a final calculation and make sure that you are actually over indebted and if you are we send out another form to your creditors (known as a 17.2) stating that you are over indebted followed by an offer of payment to your creditors (You should receive a copy of the offers and approximate repayment plan).  

(If you have not heard anything from your debt counsellor within two weeks of signing up with your Debt Counsellor ALARM BELLS should be ringing and you need to act). There may be a simple explanation but you need to make sure.

Step 4.

Agreements are now in place and a court set down date has been arranged to finalise your debt review.

Step 5.

A court order will then be granted once all parties have accepted the terms and you continue to make your monthly instalments until your debt has been cleared. (The average time is anything between 2 to 3 years as once your smaller accounts are cleared the additional funds are distributed to the larger account balances).

Step 6.

You are issued with a clearance certificate allowing you to go back into the credit market. However, we will also offer the services of a financial planner to help plan your future to ensure that you will have money when it comes to retiring.

The Debt Review Process

No, while you are under debt review you will have no access to your overdraft, credit and store cards. Lower monthly payments will be negotiated for you and you should have no need for extra credit or overdrafts. Credit is generally what caused your debt problems in the first place. When your debt review is complete and you are debt free you can apply for credit again.

Immediately. You will benefit from a realistic budget which will allow your creditors to be paid at a rate which is affordable to you.

This depends on numerous factors and can only be determined once we have all the facts at hand (the total amount available for your creditors, total debt outstanding and agreed negotiated rates with your creditors). You will get a full breakdown when everything is processed.

These are the basic steps involved:

  • First you fill out an application form and submit all relevant documentation.
  • Then we will look at your monthly budget in detail together with you and agree on a monthly debt repayment that makes sense for both you and your creditors.
  • We will officially place you under debt review, which means that you are legally protected against your creditors and they cannot take legal action against you while we re-negotiate your debt and new payment plans.
  • We will then contact all your creditors in order to put the new payment plan in place.
  • You will start paying the 1 bulk payment as soon as possible, usually month end, to the Payment Distribution Agency – which then in turn distributes your funds to all your creditors.

You may join the plan immediately subject to completing the application, submitting all relevant documentation and filling the qualification requirements.

No. We treat our clients with trust and respect. You will not have to take time off work to visit us and no one will visit you. We will only contact you when it is necessary.

No. We never contact clients at work unless asked to do so.

Home Owner / Bonds / Cars

No, it does not make a difference; your bond will also be included in the debt review.

We have arrangements with all banks with regards to your bond. In most cases we will offer 80% of your current bond payment. However in some instances when you have considerable arrears on your bond we might have to offer additional funds. We will certainly make sure your bond is treated as the highest priority debt to make sure your home is safe.

We have arrangements with all banks to lower your installment. In most cases this is straight forward, however at times when there is a large balloon payment we will have to negotiate other terms. We will certainly make sure to treat your car repayments as high priority to make sure you are able to keep your vehicle.

Yes, we will deal with all your unsecured and secured loans. When we analyse your finances, we will make appropriate allowances for you to be able to afford your day-to-day expenses before we calculate how much you can afford to pay your creditors.

Married COP / ANC / Joint Application

We can get everything prepared with all the documentation, prepare of your budget etc, but we will have to wait until you are officially divorced until we can legally place you under debt review without your spouse. When your divorce is final we will process the legal part of debt review.

It’s a difficult situation when one partner is reluctant to go under debt review. The advice we can give is to try to bring up the subject and point out the advantages and some of the misconceptions about debt review:

  • Going under debt review is nothing bad or negative, thousands of South Africans go under debt review every week in order to be financially better off and get their lives under control.
  • Almost half the population(10 million plus) in South Africa with credit is currently in arrears with one or more of their loans. You are not alone and making a choice to change for the better.
  • No one has to find out, not your employers nor friends and relatives (unless you tell them). So if it seems embarrassing being under debt review, don’t worry because no one needs to know. People might however notice that you are better off and less stressed because you can afford to pay your bills.
  • When you have cleared your debt, your name will be cleared and your credit record will be in better shape.
  • Going under debt review is simply a way to get out of the debt trap that so many fall into, it happens every day.
  • Think about what it would be like to live DEBT FREE!!
  • Taking action NOW is the only way, procrastinating and pretending the problem is not there will make things worse. Act Now.

We recommend that you get married ANC and not COP, because if you get married COP then your future spouse must also be placed under debt review jointly with you.

Yes, if you are married COP it means that you legally share all assets as well as debts with your partner. Therefore, by law, both of you must go under debt review.

Simple Calculator

How to choose the right Debt Counsellor

National Credit Regulator

Make sure they are Registered with the NCR (National Credit Regulator).

Ask how long they have been in business

You can check the company registration number for an indication of this. Ours is for example 2005/001817/07, the first 4 numbers indicating year of registration. Be aware of new start-ups, most of which fail within a year or so.

Ask How Many Employees they have

If they have less than 10 or are unwilling to volunteer this information, be aware. A debt counselling operation require sufficient and trained staff in order to service their clients properly.

Do they have a legal department

And access to lawyers to assist with the significant amount of legal work involved with your application? If they do not, expect problems with your application.

Are You Talking Directly to a Debt Counsellor

Or to a Middleman such as a ‘Comparison Site’? Don’t let anyone else choose a Debt Counsellor for you – you will be dependent on your Debt counsellor to help you get your life back on track, so rather contact Debt Counsellors yourself directly and make your choice.

Are they giving you all the facts

If it sounds too simple and good to be true, then it usually is. Ask questions about fees, how long it will take to be placed under debt review, if you can continue to use your credit cards or not, etc. – if they can’t give you satisfactory answers and you do not feel comfortable, then stay away.

Are they reputable

Go to the Hello Peter website https://www.hellopeter.com and search for the company / debt counsellor and see what their clients say about them.

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