What can debt collectors do?
South Africa has nearly R2 trillion worth of consumer debt. It therefore stands to reason that debt collection has become a very lucrative industry in South Africa. You will normally have to deal with a debt collector when your account has been handed over by one of your credit providers after you have skipped payments.
Even though the process of debt collection is regulated by the National Debt Collection Act 114, of 1998 – the conduct of debt collectors in recouping money from consumers leaves much to be desired.
Common complaints about debt collectors include the use of force and intimidation, with some going as far as making physical threats. This is illegal and you can lay a criminal charge against a debt collector who does this.
Debt collectors are also not allowed to impersonate court officials, sheriffs of the court or police officers in order to gain access to your property. All debt collectors need to be registered with the Debt Collectors Council of South Africa, and they may not charge more fees than what is set down by them. These fees include the capital amount, interest, administration fee and expenses.
As a consumer it is your right to request a statement of your account, showing all amounts owing as well as how it was calculated to get the final requested amount. If a debt collector refuses to give you this, you have the right to complain to the Debt Collectors Council of South Africa. A debt collector is also prohibited from trying to recoup monies on a debt which has prescribed.
Be pro-active about your debt and avoid debt collection
To avoid harassment by debt collectors and legal action from attorneys, it is always good to keep your debt under control. You do this by:
- paying your monthly accounts on time
- paying your accounts in full and not making short payments
- and paying more than the minimum installment required
- not making use of the full credit granted to you
However, this is easier said than done – especially since the onset of Covid-19 and lockdown. People have been struggling to keep up with their debt repayments and one of the biggest mistakes they make is to wait until it is too late to seek professional help.
One of the most important perks of the process of debt review is that you no longer have to deal with the harassment of debt collectors or fear that your assets will be repossessed. However, this only applies to accounts that have not yet been handed over to attorneys.
Don’t be scared of debt review
Debt review was put in place to assist over-indebted South African consumers who are struggling with their debt. The entire industry, along with the rest of the South African credit market is regulated by the National Credit Regulator (NCR)
Debt review, when correctly done by a registered debt counsellor can change the life of someone, for the better.
Hundreds of thousands of South Africans have benefitted from this debt relief option, and have been able to pay off their debt, clear their credit records and restart their financial lives.
No one wants to be hounded by debt collectors, and no one wants to lose their possessions. To avoid that, contact NDA today.