No way out of debt maze

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A Fin24 user feels like he is going to be under debt review for the rest of his life. He writes:

I have been under debt review since 2009. Originally the amount I handed over was R120 000. My balances now are R100 000.

How is this possible after four (nearly five) years?  What can I do?

I feel like I am going to be under debt review for the rest of my life!

Renee Marais, an independent debt counsellor in Pretoria (NCRDC1780), responds:

When a consumer applies for debt review, the debt is restructured by lowering the amount payable per month (instalment) over a longer period of time; the debt counsellor should also investigate reckless credit and negotiate for lower interest. 

Also when the interest rate is not adjusted downwards, the 103(5) variation of the in duplum rule must be implemented.

In short, this does not allow for costs and interest to accrue for more than double the outstanding balance at the time of the consumer's debt review application. 

The process starts with a notice to creditors, who then provide a current outstanding balance that is used by the debt counsellor to make a repayment recommendation. With acceptance from the consumer and creditors within 60 working days, the matter must be referred to a magistrate's court for a court order.

Debt counsellors must also do a reassessment each year for consumers as their circumstances may have changed, and adjust the proposed repayment schedule accordingly. 

If you make use of a debt counsellor who has not done any of these things, please lodge a complaint on form 29 found on the NCR website

Furthermore, if you made use of a payment distribution agent, insist that the debt counsellor provide you with all the proof of payments and ensure that this reflects on your statements.

If the payment agent is not able to provide you with this information, also lay a complaint with the NCR against them on form 29.  

If the NCR does not resolve your complaint properly within a decent timeframe, the matter can be referred to the National Tribunal for investigation.  

You can also contact a different debt counsellor to review your debt review situation and make recommendations on the way forward. 

You can find other debt counsellors on the DCI website, or on the NCR website.

 - Fin24

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