Debt services in South Africa are regulated by The National Credit Act and the resulting National Credit Regulator.
According the National Credit Act a consumer who engages the debt services of a debt counsellor and applies for debt review, are given protection from legal action by creditors. This means that from the moment a consumer applies for credit review, creditors should respect that and allow the debt review process to recover their funds. The debt counsellor is legally obliged to finalise all paperwork within 60 working days of the application.
Secondly if a creditor refuses the proposal that a debt counsellor presents them, the law entitles the matter to be taken to a magistrate’s court. There the magistrate will look over the facts and make a final assessment and compel the creditor to comply if the proposal is within reason.
While a consumer is under debt review, none of their assets may be seized or auctioned off. This is one of the biggest motivators for consumers to apply for debt review as the law protects their assets then.
The law pertaining to debt services also requires that all debt counsellors should be registered with National Credit Regulator and produce this accreditation upon request. Anyone who practices debt counselling without meeting this requirement is breaking the law and should be reported to the NCR.
In terms of these new laws it is imperative that consumers be familiar with them in order to seek out the best debt services for their situation. By knowing their rights, consumers can have control of their finances.
Article written by: Andrea van Tonder 04-2013