Debt collectors are NOT allowed to

By Danielle van Wyk

Debt - if not managed - can seem like a dark cloud looming. Not only is a large chunk of your salary going towards repayments, but you are constantly being hounded by debt collectors. But, you too have rights.

The National Debt Collection Act 114 of 1998 outlines the debt collecting process in South Africa.

Debt Collection is categorised by an attorney; a person who is an agent of an attorney; or a registered debt collector collecting on behalf of the credit provider. The collection is typically the outstanding amount plus lawful interest, admin costs and collection fees, which by law is capped to certain amounts.

Often you will hear the collector mention ‘their added fee’. While this is allowed, the collector must be registered with the Debt Collectors Council if they are charging you. To check if your debt collector is registered, click here.

Debt collectors are also NOT allowed to:

- Physically threaten you or your family in any way.

- Serve falsified legal documents.

- Use force or threaten force against you.

- Charge more than the Council outlined tariff fees.

- Spread or threaten to spread any fake information about your credit worthiness.

“With rights come responsibility and as a consumer you should not pay over your money to any debt collector unless they are registered with the Council for Debt Collectors,” added the Council for Debt Collectors (CDC).

While debt collectors are within their right to contact you, should you feel that the collector is rude or is harassing you, you can report them to the CDC.

“The Council has powers to investigate the matter and can act by closing down the company or imposing hefty fines if they find that the debt collector in question has gone against their code,” added the CDC.

If you are uncomfortable with the debt/repayment amount you are well within your rights to challenge it and request the information in writing.

For any complaints contact the CDC.

Debt is inevitable. But when the wolves come knocking, make sure you know your rights!

TIP: For trusted guidance through the debt management process, contact Justmoney today. 

READ MORE: Debt intervention may accelerate irresponsible borrowing

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