Communicating To Your Debt Counsellor

Talk to Your Debt Counsellor Sooner, Not Later

Several common problems during debt review are often made worse by not speaking to your Debt Counsellor as soon as possible.

Talk to Your Debt Counsellor

Whether you are in debt review or not, life continues and challenges will come your way. Unforseen economic challenges like those brought about by Covid-19 can hit without notice, causing you to worry about being able to make your court ordered debt review repayment. Your landlord may decide it is time to sell the place where you are renting. Your mobile phone may be stolen by criminals. All such things will impact on your day to day life. They may also force you to make changes that will impact on your debt review.

For many people, they just go ahead and make the changes needed, and then only speak to their Debt Counsellor months after the event. By which time problems may have entered the debt review that could threaten all the progress you have made. It could end the entire debt review if left unchecked. It may in fact already be too late.

A large number of issues in debt review can be mitigated by speaking to your Debt Counsellor sooner rather than later. Let’s look at two such issues and consider how speaking to your Debt Counsellor is beneficial.

Trouble Making A Payment

If you have been put on short time, had your employer send you home for weeks at a time or been forced to take a pay cut then this will directly impact on your income. Less income means that you may be prioritising daily expenses over monthly debt repayments. This is obvious. You need food on the table and electricity etc to get by. Many consumers who have such an unplanned drop in income do not speak to their Debt Counsellor. Instead they make a decision based on their perceived needs at the time.

Often this results in them not having the needed monthly debt restructured repayment amount to their credit providers. Some wisely pay what they can but others foolishly just miss the payment entirely.

If a few days goes by and no one complains immediately they may foolishly think everything is ok, and they will just pick up payments next month as if nothing is wrong. This is naive and unrealistic. Credit provider’s computers will pick up the missed payment and will start the process of them trying to get out of the debt review.

What happens next is that, the credit provider’s computers generate a letter saying they are getting out of the debt review. As the consumer did not stick to the agreement and court order. The provider will begin to collect from the consumer like previously, with pestering phone calls and eventually a summons to court. The consumers stress will begin again leading to running to their Debt Counsellor asking for assistance long after the fact.

They may now face legal action, judgements (which last for 30 years) and the reposession and sale of their assets.

A Sudden Expense

A sudden unplanned expense can also leave consumers needing to spend money that they had set aside for debt review payments. When your car breaks down or your geyser explodes you may decide to take immediate action to fix the problem. This can result in not having the needed funds to make your regular monthly debt restructuring payment.

Missed payments can lead to credit providers leaving the debt review process and starting new legal action against the consumer. This will then increase their stress and can bring the entire debt review down. This results in the consumer owing a lot more money as the benefits of debt review are stripped from the accounts. Next, the collections calls and legal action begins with summonses and more.

In some cases, the car that broke down and debt review money was spent, ends up being repossessed and sold of on auction leaving the consumer without a car for the next few years.

A Change in Contact Info

It is not uncommon for people in South Africa to change contact info. This might be their address, their mobile number or perhaps their email address. Maybe their phone is lost or damaged and they simply get a new sim card and number. Perhaps they decide to move or they change jobs and thus email addresses. This is not unusual and normally they let their friends and family know about the changes.

A challenge may be presented for people under debt review when their postal address has changed, and the credit providers send important legal documents to their old address. This can escalate to a credit provider going to court and the consumer not being present to defend themselves. Next they can be surprised with a judgement and a huge bill from the credit providers attorneys.

Talk To Your Debt Counsellor

If you see problems brewing due to a possible change in income. Your Debt Counsellor can reach out to your credit providers in advance and warn them. This may prevent them from trying to get out of the debt review. It might even be the case that the credit providers being more understanding and giving you a months breathing room. This can only happen if communicate in advance with your Debt Counsellor.

Speak to your Debt Counsellor as soon as you see something change with your income.

If you have a sudden added expense that you were not planning on and have not been saving a little as per your budget with the Debt Counsellor you might in a panic make a decision to spend money that should go towards your debt. After all you need clean clothes, you need to have a shower, you need to be able to get to work.

A short chat with your Debt Counsellor however may help you figure out how much it will cost to use a laundromat this month while you save towards a new washing machine. They may help you realize that your friend has a washing machine or your relatives do that you might use so long. You may be able to get a lift to work with a college or use public transport for a few weeks while the Debt Counsellor speaks to the vehicle finance credit provider about making a reduced payment for a little while to help cover the repairs. You will never know unless you speak to your Debt Counsellor.

Speak to your Debt Counsellor if you face a sudden unplanned expense.

Rather than miss out on the chance to defend your self legally if your credit providers send letters to your old address and rather than miss on on important emails and SMS it is good to update your Debt Counsellor if your contact info changes. They will advise you on who to let know about this change in address. Your counsellor will also remind you to let the credit providers know about the change. You might also be reminded to update your insurance provider or Payment Distribution Agent about the change so that you don’t have problems later.

Speak to your Debt Counsellor if your Contact info changes.

Speak to Your Debt Counsellor Sooner Rather than Later

Simply reaching out to the person who you are paying to help you each month will help you avoid some of the biggest challenges that can arise in debt review. This can mean that the entire Debt Counselling team at their office can work on your problem.

While the Debt Counsellor is not able to just wave their wand and make the problems disappear but they can bring years of experience and good decision making to the table and help you see what all your options are. They can give you sound advice to help you protect your assets and to help you stay in the debt review process even when the unexpected comes along.

The sooner you reach out to them the more time you give them to help you find the best solution for your challenging situation.

Please contact us should you require any assistance with your debt repayments.

Pretoria Office: 012 007 0835
JHB Office: 011 662 1183
Nationwide Enquiries: 087 701 5157
Mobile: 071 630 3863
Fax: 086 549 7202

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Content and post-credits to DebtFree Magazine