In this week’s blog we at Debt Centre the Home of Consumer Debt Support and Debt Eezy, want to take an in-depth look into the Call centres of Debt Counsellor Companies in South Africa. It has come to light that there are Call Centres listing unaware consumers on high volumes of random cold calls, without following the proper procedures.
We found that in our industry there are unethical practitioners, placing debtors into the debt review program without their knowledge or consent, the latest widespread fraudulent perpetuated of the system, to uninformed consumers that don’t know how the program really works.
In general they make cold calls and send SMS’s to unaware consumers, to market their services with all kinds of offers and campaigns to convince they can help with their debt stressed situation, and the promise of reduced repayments and savings of up to 60% to their creditors.
Bad Debt affects your good name
Allow us to take you through the process, so that you could understand that when you have bad debt, there are government appointed bodies in place that could provide assistance to guide you to recover from your over-indebtedness.
Good advice would be to avoid the temptations of reckless use of your credit cards and unnecessary borrowing. In short, bad debt could get you black listed at the credit bureaus in no time, that could scar your financial reputation and future credit score at the banks, and with other credit providers for the rest of your life. It is then when we at DEBT CENTRE come to the rescue and take you through the options to clear your good name.
For your knowledge
The National Credit Act No.34 of 2005 came in effect in 2007, regarding over-indebtedness and restructuring of debt. It made provision for the registration of debt counsellors with professional training and credentials, to be approved by the administrative body of the NCA, and the overseeing body called the National Credit Regulator (NCR).
Only listed practitioners, certified with a NCR Debt Counsellor Registration Number, are legally authorised to assist consumers with their debt restructuring and related services.
The Process in action
Ever since the NCR appointed debt counsellors to assist the debt stressed consumers, the term Debt Review became a household name with a bad taste. The reason was because of the fact that the ones in the debt review program cannot apply for new credit while active in their repayment plan, and they felt ashamed to be known as financial strained amidst others.
We would like to change that view and educate our readers that there are options, and it should be explained to you by a professional and registered debt counsellor.
The overall credit providers and banks learned to accept the ruling of the court, once the application was approved that the debtor was granted to be listed into a debt review repayment plan. We had a lot of successful clients in the program that qualified at the end to apply to exit debt review, and was declared debt free by means of clearance certificate or where their situation changed the application was dismissed by the court, before the debt restructuring order was granted. They enjoyed life with a better perspective of how to maintain a constructive wealth plan, never to fall into the debt trap again.
Your creditors and banks will continue with payment enforcements, legal action against you towards your late payments or arrears to that effect, which will force you to consider other options to get out from under that pressure.
The National Credit Act came to the rescue after millions of debtors became over-indebted, to apply a restructuring of debt repayment plan, in order to get the payments to the creditors, and provide relief to the over stressed consumer.
Registered Debt Councillors with a NCR DC Number became the only legal solution for consumers who are in debt trouble, and need the help to become debt free once again.
Calls to you from the Call Centre
Most of the Debt Counsellor firms in South Africa make use of Call Centres to get in contact with the consumers with debt related problems.
We at Debt Centre, have a professional team of well-trained contact centre personnel that follow the acquired procedures under monitored supervision of a debt counsellor present, when on a call with our clients. (Visit our website at https://www.debtcentre.co.za to learn more…)
When you receive a cold call from our Debt Centre contact centre, you need to know that the person on the line is there to start a process of introducing you to the company, and informing you of how they could legally help you with your possible debt problems. You could be wanting to get help but did not know where to start to pay less on your accounts.
These agents are not registered practitioners, but highly trained at Debt Centre and will refer you to one of our registered debt councillors on the floor, stating their NCR DC Number for true identification purposes. The Debt counsellor will then assist you with further assessment to make sure that you fully understand what debt review is all about, and if you qualify for any of the options we have available.
You should always know that all such calls must and will be recorded for quality and evidential purposes. So should there ever be a complaint, or uncertainty of what was said or any other related misunderstandings, our recordings can be used to assist in the matter.
No process will commence without your consent by law
When we make contact with a consumer, we do request their permission to do an assessment on their listed credit accounts.
- We have an SMS OPT-IN message that is confirmed by the client of that mobile.
- A second verification SMS OPT-IN is sent to ensure the consumer want assistance. The consumer OPT-IN to be contacted.
- A third SMS OPT-IN to finally verify the call back from one of our agents is then received from the client.
- That is when one of our agents will make contact with that OPT-IN verified client that is monitored and all calls are recorded to ensure we call only consumers that want us to contact them.
- While on the call, the consumer will receive a SMS notification on their cell phone to select their approval for their records to be accessed at the credit bureau.
At Debt Centre we have the state-of-the-art online system that permits us to continue only when the consumer grants permission to gain access to their credit records. We never make any promises of what the consumer will be paying less in percentages but will look at the consumer’s personal situation to see how we can assist to reduce his or her payments.
The calculated repayment structure our online system gives the call agent is not always affordable to the consumer. Then the debt counsellor alone can do a manual restructuring assessment that could ensure the consumer’s affordability on lower repayments, which the creditors could agree on with the terms of the debt to be resolved.
Technology made easy
We have come across a serious problem in the industry, where the consumers complained that they found themselves listed under debt review but they never signed any documents to that regard.
Debt Centre has an approved online IDOX system in place together with the NCR to protect the privacy of our clients, and to simplify the authorisation process. The system is user friendly.
Our clients will receive their debt review application packs, Form 16, and related legal documents on their mobile devices or via email, with the prompts to follow and a digital signature option to sign their name with their finger on the screen where necessary. The system identifies the GPS IP address of the consumer’s device, which will be registered as a recognised signature on all the documents signed by the client, and accepted by the Magistrate Court and NCR.
A consumer signed IDOX pack with visible GPS IP location will be uploaded on DHS (Debt Help System), with a clear copy of a ID document, the documents requested payslips, bank statements, proof of address be uploaded together with the application before it is submitted. Therefore, with all parties involved, there can be no dispute to the consent given.
How the National Credit Regulator (NCR) can help you
The NCR is the administrative body of the National Credit Act of South Africa, which applies to all credit agreements with all consumers and credit providing entities.
The NCR monitor policy development and the industry participants, investigate complaints and enforce the Credit Act through a National Credit Tribunal body, conducting legal court hearings into complaints under the NCA.
Not all the consumers know about the NCR or what debt counselling can do for them and can become easy targets for unregistered practitioners with illegal intentions.
Allow us to lay out an easy to follow guideline
- Contact the NCR on their number 0860 627 627 and get the contact details of a registered debt counsellor near your area, ask for the related NCR DC registration number to confirm later on.
- Alternatively visit their user friendly website ncr.org.za and search for an active debt counsellor and all their credentials before you contact them. All vital information about your options is also available for you to access.
- Contact the given or obtained numbers and ask to speak to the debt counsellor personally if possible, alternatively, schedule an appointment where you can consult in privacy about your case.
- Check up on your debt counsellor’s NCR number at org.za/register_of_registrants_dc.php
Important tips of what to be aware of and to be reported immediately to the NCR – Protect your identity
Never sign a copy of your ID document, or sign a blank A4 sheet of paper with your signature and submit it on request to any person or a debt counselling or call centre company it can be used to unlawfully list you on debt review and your signature can be copied on other documents without your knowledge by unethical practitioners.
Never allow or ask anyone to sign or authorise any consent form on your behalf, it is always in your best interest to keep your signature safe from identity thieves and prevent yourself becoming a victim of a debt review scam application.
It is of vital importance that YOU should remember that it is all about your finances, and you should remain in control, be kept informed, sign consent for everything, and are at the end responsible for your debt payments regarding all agreements you have signed for.
There are NCR appointed entities where you can go to when in doubt, the information we shared in this blog was to alert you of the scammers that can use your signature without your knowledge, and where to report all your complaints with regards to ignorant debt counselling services that left you astray.
Message from the author: Ms Annienne Nel
We at Debt Centre pride ourselves to work with our clients every step of the way. We keep active communication on-going, share monthly payment records, assure debit orders on the Debi Check system, assist with joint applications, keep updates, represent our clients in court, negotiate with their creditors, and assure their debt free status at the end of their term.
We have streamlined our technology and are in compliance with all the stipulations of the NCR and the NCA.
We stand for the integrity of the debt counselling industry and would like to offer you our services at DEBT CENTRE as your first choice when you need help with your debt. Wherever you are, Whatsapp me direct on 0834593056 or visit our popular website https:www.debtcentre.co.za and read more about our DREAM TEAM for you!