Guiding consumers since 2009

National Credit Regulator clamps down on debt counsellors

By Staff Writer

 

This week the National Credit Regulator (NCR) cancelled the registration of two debt counsellors after they obtained orders from the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT). This followed scrutiny by the NCR into their activities and levels of compliance.
 
The NCR conducted its investigation into the business activities of Liezl De Klerk, a debt counsellor from Clubview and Charmaine Moonasamy, a counsellor practicing in Lenasia South, Johannesburg, Gauteng.
 
“De Klerk failed to comply with the provisions of the NCA, its regulations, as well as her conditions of registration as a debt counsellor,” said Obed Tongoane, Chief Operating Officer at the NCR.  
 
Tongoane said she did not utilise the prescribed form 16 for applications for debt review by consumers, and also excluded vital information. 
 
According to Shepherd Silayi, a debt counsellor consultant at Credit Matters, this form is important when it comes to the legal matters pertaining to debt counseling clients. He said some debt counsellors even incorrectly complete this application process with clients telephonically. 
 
De Klerk also charged consumers a fee of R75 in respect of obtaining a credit report and failed to maintain adequate records to demonstrate her compliance with the NCA. She failed to refer matters to court in order to obtain court orders within 60 days from the date of the application for debt review.  De Klerk also received funds directly from consumers in contravention of her specific conditions of registration. 
 
Moonasamy had her registration cancelled after an investigation into her business was carried out by the NCR, following numerous complaints lodged.  The investigation revealed that she provided the NCR with false information, a criminal offence in terms of the NCA.  
 
Tongoane said Moonasamy was subject to an administration order but when she applied to be registered as a debt counsellor, she indicated that she was not under administration. 
 
She also received money from consumers who were under debt review with her which is a contravention of her specific condition of registration.
 
The National Consumer Tribunal ordered the cancellation of the debt counsellor’s registration with immediate effect, and that her conduct of providing the NCR with false information be declared prohibited conduct. 
 
Know your counsellor 
 
“Some debt counsellors don’t do things by the book because they are more concerned with making a profit than caring about the consumer,” said Silayi.
Consumers should do their homework on their counsellor before entering into an agreement. Silayi suggests calling the NCR to enquire about your counsellor’s background. If there were any complaints made about them the NCR will be able to inform you.

Recent Articles

Featured It’s possible to change your marriage regime

Many people wed before they sign an antenuptial contract (ANC). This is especially practiced by people in customary marriages and those not clued up about the ANC. The law says if there’s no ANC before the wedding takes place, the marriage will automatically be in Community of Property. 

Keep this in mind when taking out new financial products

Adding a product to your personal finance portfolio, such as insurance or an investment, is a big decision. We found out what you should keep in mind before taking out a new product, how you can assess the products you already have, and how you can generally improve your financial position.

Are you in debt denial?

With debt levels increasing at 13% more than income levels, South Africans are more debt-stressed now than arguably ever before. This is iterated by the National Credit Regulator’s (NCR) report that nearly half of credit-active consumers in South Africa have damaged credit records. However, only a few seek the necessary help.

Why should you invest in a mutual bank?

Often when people think about banking, they always think about commercial banks. Mutual banks hardly come to mind, but these banks offer investment opportunities that are often overlooked.

 

Deals

Aurora Spa 100-minute Treatment Special

Price: R449
When: Until 31 March
Where: Century City

Woodstock Grill and Tap Steak Thursdays

Price: R100
When: Thursdays
Where: Woodstock

KFC 5+5 Special

Price: R65
When: Until 25 February 2020
Where: Nationwide