Updated 25.06.2021

How to Find a Good Debt Counsellor

If you are already in trouble because of ballooning debts, you do not want to make things worse by getting an unreliable debt counsellor. You will want a trusted and reliable debt counsellor that will only look for what is best for your situation. 

With the number of debt counsellors available in the country, it can be hard to pick which of them to hire. To help you select the best out there, here’s what you need to look for in a good debt counsellor:

Registered

Your debt counsellor should be registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR). If you need to verify their identity, you can ask for their registration number and check it with the NCR. If you cannot find their information on the NCR website, avoid that debt counsellor at all costs.

  • Knowledgeable 

A good debt counsellor should be able to answer any question you have about the debt counselling process. If they cannot answer you directly or they provide vague explanations, you may need to look for another debt counsellor. 

  • Fair 

Debt counsellors can dictate the cost of their service, but the fees must be in line with the regulations enforced by the NCR. Fees for application, rejection, legal, restructuring and after-care services must be transparently presented to you. They should all be within an affordable range as stipulated in the NCR requirements. You can ask your debt counsellor for a breakdown of their fees and inquire what each is for.

When it comes to repayments to credit providers, debt counsellors and their agencies are not allowed to make them on your behalf. They are not debt collectors and are prohibited from collecting money.

After restructuring your debt, you will pay the balance through a Payment Distribution Agency (PDA) accredited by the NCR. Payment through any other channel will not be credited toward your outstanding balance. There are only four PDAs accredited in SA: Consumer Protection Excellence, DC Partner, Hyphen Technology, and the National Payment Distribution Agency.

  • Responsible

All information you provide to your debt counsellor must remain private. You are sharing confidential information that others can use against you, so your debt counsellor should be trustworthy enough to keep it secured.

Expect your debt counsellor to perform the key functions expected of them, including the renegotiation of your loan terms. They are not allowed to hand over their task to others, especially if it deals with sensitive matters that can greatly affect the outcome of your debt status.

  • Established

You can find an endless number of debt counselling companies in SA, so it can be challenging to do your homework and narrow down the selection. 

First, you have to look at their website and see what they have to offer. Second, you must check the reviews about the company and see what previous or existing clients have to say about the company’s products and services. Last, you must examine their prices and compare them with what other companies offer. 

It’s easy to access online portals of debt counsellors and study their backgrounds in the industry. You can call them to get a better idea of how they deal with clients. If you still have doubts about their identity, just look for a debt counsellor who will make you more comfortable and confident doing business with them.

Many companies claim to be the best debt counsellors in South Africa. However, when you thoroughly check their background, you will find that this is nothing more than just self-proclaimed credit and has nothing to do with their reputation as a debt counselling company. Remember that it is easy to claim anything online, so be careful with trusting companies right away before doing due diligence.

Hellopeter is a reliable online review portal and is SA’s most trusted platform for connecting businesses with customers. The platform is trustworthy because it actively monitors reviews posted on the site to make sure they come from legitimate and authentic sources. 

Questions To Ask Your Debt Counsellor

Here are a few questions you can ask your debt counsellor to help you decide whether you will hire them or not.

  • How long have you been in business?

Their registration number will reveal when the company was established. This is indicated in the first four numbers of their registration code. The longer they are in the industry, the more reliable they are as debt counsellors.

  • How many employees do you have?

Make sure they have at least 10 employees in the company. Debt counsellors are busy people, so you want to make sure you will have someone to take care of your problems as their potential client. 

  • Do you have a legal department?

Debt counselling involves a lot of legal processes, so you want a debt counselling agency to have the right people to handle legal work. 

  • Am I talking to a debt counsellor?

It is better if you talk directly to a debt counsellor instead of a middleman. Your financial future will depend on the expertise of your debt counsellor, so make sure you are providing all confidential information to a registered counsellor only. Do not let anyone decide for you which debt counsellor to pick.

  • What accredited debt counselling system do you use?

Good debt counsellors use accredited software that can help them record and determine the best course of action for restructuring your debt. Inaccuracies with restructuring your debt repayment can cause serious repercussions, with the worst being the court turning down your proposal and forcing you to an agreement greatly disadvantageous to your situation.

The most popular systems accredited by the NCR are Maximus, Eminence DC Software, DC Express, Debtwise, and Simplicity.

The Job of A Debt Counsellor

Here are the tasks of your debt counsellor. They should satisfy all these to qualify them as someone reliable and trustworthy.

  • Assess your debt situation to its full extent
  • Determine the assets involved and prevent their repossession if possible
  • Provide a debt remedy that you can cope up with given your current living standards
  • Provide an affordable and realistic solution that is within your budget and pave the way for faster debt repayments
  • Rehabilitate your finances without sacrificing your future

If they cannot fulfil even one of these, consider switching to a better one that you deserve.

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