When interviewing clients, one of the things they have said they enjoy the most about the debt review process is that the constant phone calls from creditors stop.
The collection agents who phoned in the past no longer harass you and make you feel like a criminal because you can’t afford your installments.
Why did they harass you in the first place?
Simply put: You were not making contractual payments to your debt. In other words, you had an agreement with the creditor to pay a specific amount, circumstances changed and you started paying less than you agreed to pay.
When you apply for debt review, you are committing to settling your debt through a restructured repayment arrangement which is affordable under your new circumstances. This means that collection agents should, in theory, stop phoning you, but this isn’t always the case. Some creditors have automated systems that are programmed to SMS or call you regularly and they fail to update them when you enter Debt Review.
So, what do you do when receiving phone calls?
- Remain calm and ask for details of the caller, telephone number and email address;
- Inform the caller that you are under debt review;
- You may send them a copy of your Form 17.1 (ask your debt counsellor for a copy if you have not yet received one);
- Notify your debt counsellor immediately and give them details of the collections caller.
Remember that the debt counsellor receives a monthly fee for managing your debt review. This fee is to cover the management of your profile whilst under debt review until your clearance is issued, but they cannot do anything about a creditor’s phone calls unless they are informed.
What should your debt counsellor do?
- Whenever a client is being called, the debt counsellor must get those calls to stop;
- Your debt counsellor will contact the collector to establish the situation and reason why they are calling you;
- They must ensure that your record on their system is updated correctly with the debt review details so that the messages and phone calls will cease;
- They send to the creditor bank proof of payments which should be in line with the granted court order.
If all of the above is in order, the creditor has no valid reason to call you. Keep an eye out for Part 2, where we will discuss what you should do when you are in arrears with your debt review.