Debt review: the good, the bad and the scams

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Personal Finance

What comes to mind when you hear the name Debt Review? Maybe a scam, bad program or in rare instances, a great service. This all depends on who you ask and what you know about Debt Review itself. When it comes to Debt Review, it can be a true mind-boggling paradox that could leave you in two states of mind on if it’s the right or wrong service for you.

Fortunately, there are only a handful of truly great Debt Review companies out there that put their employees through the best possible training programs to ensure that their agents, customer service, debt counsellors and other internal departments can give you the best advice and friendly assistance that one would need to make an informed decision. Let’s take a look at the good, bad and scams when it comes to debt review.



A good Debt Review company will have ALL the following tributes that sets them apart from the rest:

  • A National Credit Regulator registration number.
  • Good reviews and client testimonies.
  • Customer service departments that respond to client queries within 24 hours.
  • Patient, friendly and understanding agents as they tend to see things from the consumers point of view and not just their own.
  • Not just money orientated and truly invested in the consumers wellbeing.
  • Able to answer consumer and client questions truthfully and back it up with proof.
  • Keep to their promises.
  • Operate within lawful Debt Review guidelines of Section 86 of the National Credit Act.
  • Provide legal documents to read through first before having the consumer sign as verbal consent is not good enough.
  • If a mistake occurs, being able to acknowledge it and rectify it accordingly.
  • Will most likely be listed under the top 10 Debt Review companies in South Africa.
  • Grants consumers free of charge clearance certificates upon completion of debt review.



Unfortunately, many Debt Review companies, even with a National Credit Regulator registration number are not operating compliantly. This is an issue that has long plagued the debt review industry and has ruined many consumers lives financially. Fortunately, if it’s brought under the National Credit Regulators attention to investigate and off course depending on the severity of the matter, it gets referred to the National Consumer Tribunal where a court case takes place. The Debt Review companies not operating compliantly are dealt with accordingly by either receiving fines ranging from R10 000 to R500 000+ (depending on the offense) or risk being shut down permanently and having their licence/registration to operate revoked. Here are a few common occurrences that take place while under one of these bad Debt Review companies or when approaching them:

  • Agents pressuring you to sign up for Debt Review.
  • Severe delays in response from their customer service department, even totally ignoring consumers.
  • Signing up consumers upon verbal agreement only.
  • Proposing unrealistic instalments to credit providers which they will most likely reject and will cause the instalment amount originally agreed to for all the debts combined to increase.
  • Putting consumers under debt review without them signing.
  • Not telephonically mentioning mandatory lawful aspects of debt review to the consumer.
  • Claiming to be able to give consolidation loans, when in actual fact it’s Debt Review.
  • Signing up consumers before they receive lawful documentation needed to legally proceed with the program.
  • Not getting work done in time, thus causing complications in the debt review program.
  • Signing up a single consumer who is married in community of property as a single application and not informing the spouse as they legally should.
  • Assisting consumers who are not overindebted.
  • Only money orientated, doing anything just to get consumers onboard even if it is to the consumers disbenefit.
  • Lying when consumers ask about how certain aspects of the program works.
  • Agents using fake names.
  • Giving consumers terms before everything has been finalized in court.
  • Does not grant the clients clearance certificate within a reasonable time frame.
  • Loading a debit order on your bank account before you have agreed to proceed with the program.



Scams are an ever-growing problem in this country. How many times a month have you won money according to SMS’s you receive without even applying. We would all be millionaires by now. Debt Review scams from non-registered companies and people are a serious crisis in this country that damages the Debt Review industry and people’s lives. Using some of the differences mentioned above between the good and bad Debt Review companies is a good reference point to distinguish if the one you decide to approach is scam or not. Unfortunately, most people who seek Debt Review are very vulnerable to scams as they aren’t quite in the right mindset due to financial strain. Scammers are very well aware of this fact and will use it to their advantage. Most scammers will be the kindest person you have ever spoken to and will rely on using your emotions to get the job done. They use this trick to keep your mind from diverting to legitimacy questions and get you to make emotional, rather than intellectual decisions. It is crucial to remain logical when approaching a debt review company so that you can differentiate between the good, the bad and the scams.

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