Debt counseling offers an ideal solution for many over-indebted consumers out there with an effective debt repayment plan. A debt counselor's repayment plan may differ in the finer detail of the procedure, but trained advisors take over-indebted consumers from financial failure to financial success. This process is done via the implementation of the debt review program from the application process (start) to the issuing of a Clearance Certificate (finish).With regards to the above, in some cases many consumers continue to believe certain myths regarding debt counseling and it reflects a distorted and negative view of a valuable process.
DebtSafe decided to ask a few of its many debt-free clients to comment on the experience they had with the debt review process. With regards to the feedback provided, debt expert, Matthys Potgieter sheds some light on the feedback provided by clients and debunks some common myths consumers tend to believe about debt counseling.
All debt counsellors are the same
Potgieter mentions that every debt counselor has their own set of procedures, values, and outlook when it comes to assisting individuals with their debt review process. Debt Counsellors should therefore not be generalized and consumers should not assume that all South African debt counsellors operate in the exact same way.
Potgieter mentions that although the majority of the debt counseling process is regulated by the National Credit Regulator, each debt counseling firm is unique in the way:
When selecting a debt counsellor, pick one who speaks to your own core values, and with whom you can relate with as an individual. You will be building a close relationship with your debt counsellor, and might be dealing with him/her for a few years to come. It is for this reason that your selection is important.
Nothing can be learned from the debt counselling process
To quote a debt free consumer:"What I have learned through the debt counsellingprocess is that you have to save money where you can. And don't spend more than you earn."Potgieter ensures consumers that there is a lot to learn during a debt counseling process, from managing future finances to how one can appreciate financial freedom. Debt counseling establishes a behavioral change when it comes to a consumer's finances. The effect of debt counseling is quite drastic, but what the consumers gain in understanding their finances is priceless.
Debt Counsellors just want to make money
Debt Counsellors provide various skills and services to make sure clients attain their Clearance Certificate(Form 19 in terms of the National Credit Act) at the end of the debt counseling process. The tasks involved, can include the following: consolidating debt into one affordable instalment, giving clients cash flow relief from their next paycheques, dealing with credit providers and keeping them off the client's back,implementing a reasonable payment plan, clearing clients from credit bureaus and also enabling clients to continue to provide for their family's vital living expenses.
Firstly, all debt counseling fees are regulated by the National Credit Regulator. Debt Counsellors cannot simply charge what they want. Most Debt Counsellors are champions for their clients. They are always on the lookout for how they can save the consumer more money. On the other hand, debt counseling is extremely administrative intensive. The amount of work that needs to be done in order to set a client on his/her merry debt-free way is staggering. From the application, to negotiations, to correspondence and proposal acceptances to court orders, dealing with ad hoc creditor issues and finally issuing a Clearance Certificate.
One cannot get credit after debt counselling
Credit applications can't be denied because of your debt counseling history. According to Potgieter once you have been issued a Clearance Certificate that has also been processed by the creditors as well as the credit bureaus, you can apply for home loans, vehicle finance, and other credit-related applications.
Debt counseling as a solution to over-indebtedness has a rehabilitative spirit. The whole aim is to get the client credit active again, but, in a responsible way. Many clients who went through the debt counseling process applied for credit with great success.
If a credit provider denies access to credit, a client has the right to a full explanation as to why the credit is being denied. From there on appropriate measures can be taken.
Losing one's assets
Through provisions in the National Credit Act, debt counseling offers protection for your assets, says Potgieter. The debt counseling process has been specifically designed to allow clients to repay their debt, home loans, and vehicle financing, without losing their assets.Once you enter the debt counseling process all credit providers are prohibited from taking further action against you on the accounts that are included in the debt counseling program.Take Mr. Geldenhuys for example "… my debt counsellor prevented that I lose any assets."
Your car for example, cannot be repossessed by credit providers whilst you are under debt counseling. The only way that credit providers are allowed to take your vehicle is if you sign a letter in which you voluntarily surrender the vehicle, or if they can present you with a legitimate court order of the high court. These are the only ways through which your asset/s can be taken away.
Easy come easy go
A debt-free client admits: "In the beginning it was hard but then it became easier."Managing debt is not as easy as one-two-three, but with the assistance of a debt counsellor, clients are given room to breathe as an approved debt counselling program is implemented on their behalf. This enables consumers to pay off their debt in one affordable payment each month. Clients, therefore, should be committed to biting the short-term bullet to be debt-free in the long run.
Managing your debt is not the easiest or fastest process, but if you find yourself in an unavoidable over-indebted position, debt counselors are there to assist you and also point you in the right direction - a debt-free life. Contact DebtSafe's friendly advisors to help you with their effective debt review program. "After paying off debt with DebtSafe's more than able members of staff, I am now debt free. I would recommend DebtSafe to anyone that needs professional assistance" - a former client and now debt-free consumer.
Carla Oberholzer (Public Relations Officer)
Tel: 0861 100 999