There is a maze of companies that help people with debt, and picking through the ones you think are best suited can be daunting because you realize that you actually will have to have a relationship with that company for a long period of time. But choosing who to go with a certain debt counsellor need not be daunting as South Africa has great legislation around debt through the NCR and its national credit, and it is through this legislation that you can be able to choose the correct debt counselling.
The first thing that will help you in choosing between debt counsellors is to see which debt counselling services comply with law. Do a check with the NCR as all debt counselling institutions have to be registered. This is to ensure they comply with the law and have safe practise. Read more on counselling.
There are guidelines as to what fees debt counsellors may charge. This is until the fees have been finalized by the department of trade and industry.
In terms of the guidelines, a Debt Counsellor may receive the following amounts in respect of consumers with an individual gross income of more than R2 500.00 per month
or household income of more than R3 500.00 per month:
An application fee, recoverable directly from the consumer upon receiving an application for debt review, limited to R50 as prescribed by the Act.
A rejection fee of R300.00 in respect of consumers whose applications have been
rejected in terms of section 86(7) (a);
A restructuring fee of the lesser of the first installment of the debt re-arrangement
plan which is capped at R3000.00 (excluding Vat), in respect of a consumer whose
applications have been accepted in terms of sections 86(7) (b) or 86(7) (c). (Should
a joint application be required the fee can be increased to R4000.00 (excluding
Should a Debt Counsellor fail to submit proposals to Credit Providers or refer the
matter to a Tribunal or a Magistrate Court within 60 business days from date of the
debt review application the Debt Counsellor has to refund 100% percent of the
fee paid by the consumer.
A monthly after-care fee of 5 percent (excluding Vat) of the monthly instalment of
the debt re-arrangement plan up to a maximum of R300 (excluding Vat), for a period of 24 months, thereafter reducing to 3 percent (excluding Vat) of the monthly
instalment, to a maximum of R300 (excluding Vat), for the remaining period of the
debt re-arrangement plan.
Should the consumer wish to withdraw from the process after the Debt Counselor
has completed the restructuring negotiations a fee equal to 75 percent of the
restructuring fee as per 1.3 above is payable by the consumer;
Legal fees, if and when they occur, may be recovered from the consumer provided
the amount of such fees are disclosed up-front to the consumer and agreed to in
writing by the consumer.
You have the right to negotiate this fee.
Second of all you should look for a debt counsellor that is genuinely interested in helping you. Staff that is reluctant to help and seem unfriendly will only make you feel uncomfortable to be in such a relationship with the company for long periods of time. They should be willing to help you in reducing your monthly expenditures, setting up your budgets, reducing bad debts and giving advice on how to live a much healthier and wealthier financial lifestyle.