Debt 'professionals' were part of my problem


Despite trying debt management and voluntary sequestration, this Fin24 user had to take  matters into his own hands to take control of his debt situation. He writes:

After climbing the corporate ladder of success, I found myself retrenched and with a lot of debt.

I had credit card debt, car payments and normal monthly expenses, which now had to be covered only on my wife’s salary. The debt started piling up.

After two years of freelancing I got a job. We moved to Durban and decided to try debt management. However, after five long years I was shocked to find out that little or no progress had been made with our creditors.

We even had our car repossessed as I refused to pay a cent more. After eight years of payment, the total debt on the car was still higher than what I had initially bought the car for.

READ: How I clawed my way out of debt

Then I was retrenched again.

Creditors were not helpful at all. Phone calls to make arrangements were met with threats and unprofessionalism at call centres.

After accepting Jesus Christ as my personal saviour I finally got the breakthrough I wanted, my wife got a job and so did I.

We still had this huge debt hanging over our heads. We were desperate to rebuild our lives so we took the decision to apply for voluntary sequestration based on an advert I saw on the internet.

I did thorough research before deciding on the company of choice, checking if they were registered as a company and checking them out on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn SA.

We applied with a R5 000 deposit in May 2014 and we were told that the entire process would last about 24 months from when the deposit is paid.

By February 2015, we still had no direction on what was happening and the excuse we got was that the court dates were not easily available in Durban.

My creditors were knocking at my door again and the interest made the debt even more than when we applied for insolvency.
I asked for a refund, but I was told that the “work” done so far exceeds the R5 000 deposit and I would not get it back.

WATCH: Heroic escape from the pit of debt

I have since let this issue go.

I pulled a credit report for both myself and my wife and started phoning my creditors to make payment arrangements.

We have targeted the small amounts first – paying them in full. Then we made payment arrangements on the bigger amounts and increased the instalments as money become available from settling the small debt.

Some creditors don’t want to listen, so they will get paid last.

We have also applied the following rules within our household: tithes first and then saving second - what is left we pump into our debt.

We plan to be debt-free in two years and aim to stay debt free - with the exception of a bond - for life.

ALSO READ: Ten quick ways to cut your costs

Disclaimer: All letters and comments published in The Debt Issue have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views are therefore their own. Fin24 cannot be held liable for any decisions made based on the advice given by Fin24 users and debt experts. Under the ECT Act and to the fullest extent possible under the applicable law, Fin24 disclaims all responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of this site in any manner.

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