If you're in debt counselling, it can be stressful to receive calls or letters from your creditors. But don't panic. There are steps you can take to deal with creditors who contact you directly. Let’s go through them.
Why Do Creditors Contact You Directly?
Creditors may contact you directly for a variety of reasons. They may not be aware that you are under debt counselling, or they may be trying to collect a debt that is not included in your debt counselling plan. In some cases, they may be trying to pressure you into paying more than you can afford.
What to Do When Creditors Contact You Directly
If a creditor contacts you directly while you are under debt counselling, here are a few things we recommend you should do.
Inform Them That You're Under Debt Counselling
The first step is to inform the creditor that you are under debt counselling. Give them the name and contact details of your debt counsellor, and let them know that all communication should go through your debt counsellor.
Provide Your Debt Counsellor's Details
Provide your debt counsellor's contact details to the creditor, and ask them to contact your debt counsellor directly. Your debt counsellor will be able to provide them with information about your debt counselling plan and negotiate with them on your behalf.
Keep records of all communication with your creditors. This includes emails, letters, and phone calls. If a creditor contacts you directly, make a note of the date, time, and details of the conversation. This information may be useful if there are any disputes later on.
Don't Agree to Anything Without Consulting Your Debt Counsellor
If a creditor asks you to make a payment or agrees to a payment arrangement, don't agree to anything without consulting your debt counsellor first. Your debt counsellor will be able to advise you on whether the arrangement is affordable and sustainable.
Report Any Harassment to Your Debt Counsellor
If a creditor is harassing you, report it to your debt counsellor immediately. They will be able to take steps to stop the harassment and protect you from further contact.
Can creditors contact me at all if I'm under debt counselling?
Creditors are legally required to deal with your debt counsellor rather than contacting you directly. However, they may contact you if they are not aware that you are under debt counselling or if they are trying to collect a debt that is not included in your debt counselling plan.
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What should I do if a creditor contacts me after I've informed them that I'm under debt counselling?
If a creditor contacts you after you've informed them that you're under debt counselling, provide them with your debt counsellor's contact details and ask them to contact your debt counsellor directly.
What happens if I agree to a payment arrangement with a creditor without consulting my debt counsellor?
It's important to consult your debt counsellor before agreeing to any payment arrangements with creditors. If you agree to an arrangement without consulting your debt counsellor, you may end up committing to a payment that is not sustainable or affordable.
Can I change my debt counselling plan if my financial circumstances change?
Yes, you can change your debt counselling plan if your financial circumstances change. You will need to speak to your debt counsellor and provide them with updated financial information. They will be able to adjust your debt repayment plan accordingly.
Find a reputable debt counsellor in South Africa
Debt counselling can be a stressful time, but it's important to remember that you have rights. If a creditor contacts you directly, inform them that you are under debt counselling and provide them with your debt counsellor's contact details. Keep records of all communication, and don't agree to anything without consulting your debt counsellor first. If you're being harassed, report it to your debt counsellor.
You can find a reputable debt counsellor in South Africa by checking with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) where DebtBusters is listed (NCR number: NCRDC2484). The NCR maintains a list of registered debt counsellors on their website. It's important to do your research and choose a debt counsellor who is reputable and experienced.
Need debt counselling or consolidation?
Explore DebtBusters' solutions for reducing your interest rates and unlocking cash.