First of all, you need to know that you will still be responsible for your debt. Debt counselling doesn’t imply that your debt will disappear or that someone else will take it over and pay it for you. If you are experiencing any of the following, you should give debt counselling some serious thought.
• After you have paid for your basic necessities (food, housing) you don’t have money left to pay your creditors
• You use your credit card and overdraft facilities to pay debts and buy food and other necessities
• You borrow money to pay other debts
• You skip payments on some accounts to pay others
• You are literally hiding from your creditors and your heart skips a beat every time your phone rings
• You receive letters and summonses from creditors and/or lawyers
• You have judgments granted against you
• You feel like you are drowning in debt and it is having a negative influence on your wellbeing or health.
A court of law can also refer you to a Debt Counsellor, and even a creditor can recommend that should seek debt help.
What happens during Debt Counselling?
Your Debt Counsellor will be able to give you budget advice and assist you in the restructuring of your payments as well as negotiate with creditors on your behalf.
It is interesting to note that, although you have the right to apply for debt restructuring, this doesn’t mean that you will automatically qualify for the service. A Debt Counsellor might conclude that you aren’t really over-indebted and could issue a letter of rejection. This is merely done to discourage consumers from misusing the service – usually, by the time most people seek help; there is no denying that they are in real financial trouble.
Where can I find a Debt Counsellor?
The National Credit Regulator has a list of registered counsellors on their website. Have a look at www.ncr.org.za