How Debt Review Changed My Life: Olivia’s Story

image of a mother with children showing the Cape Debt Clinic logo
image of a single mother happily reading to her children with no worries about debt

On 15 February 2015 I applied for debt review. Today, 6 May 2019 I am completely debt free. This is my story.

My journey did not begin with debt review.

It began when I found myself in financial difficulties and unable to repay my debt. This was due to a combination of things: I was working for a retail clothing company earning very little and I was pregnant with my third child. My husband left me early on in my pregnancy and we have not heard from him since.

image of a woman desperate because of debt
I was desperate because of my debt. When I was advised by an Administrator, I did not fully understand the implications of this process. It was stressful and embarassing.
I was desperate and called a company for help.

The original solution was offered by an Administrator. I did not understand what it was all about and had to go to court and explain my situation to a Magistrate. It was stressful and embarrassing.

Little did I know that this decision would have far-reaching consequences. When my baby was born, I could not pay my Administration Order. Instead of sympathy, I was met with hostility and no measures were available to allow me a breathing period while I was on Maternity Leave. The constant harassment from the Administrator reminding me of the Court Order left me depressed and fearful.

Then I heard about Debt Review.

I met my debt counsellor and soon realized that another journey would be on the cards for me to get out of Administration.

We had to apply for a rescission of the Administration Court Order. The day that I attended court, my debt counsellor came with me and we both cried at how the Administrator treated me. He insisted that a judgement be taken against me for R3000 which would be served on my employer as a Garnishee Order. Two years ago this was finally settled.

image of a debt counselor explaining debt review to a client
My debt counselor helped me understand the differences between Administration and Debt Review. She helped me to exit the traumatic process of Administration and worked out my Debt Review repayments based on what I could afford.

Once the Rescission of the Administration Order was done, the Debt Review process commenced.  All the creditors’ balances had increased –  I did not understand the basics of Administration. Briefly: 12,5% commission is payable, administration costs and distributions only take place every three months and no rate reductions are negotiated. You just pay less – Imagine then how the balance increases!

The debt counsellor worked out my repayment amount based on my affordability and size of my debt.

I had 2 loans, a credit card and three retail accounts. One of the creditors refused to allow me to include their account in debt review and I paid it outside of debt review.

The debt review is also a Legal Process, but what a difference!

I did not need to go to court, all of the legal work was handled professionally and soon my debt review court order was granted. Another of the creditors kept their Administration records despite the rescission and debt review Order, so the creditors could improve their processes as this delayed the Clearance which was really quick and no rescission or standing in court again.

Before going into debt review my life was a mess.

I tried my best to do what I could to protect my children by applying for Administration which I thought was the best at the time. I really trusted them. My three children and I stayed with my parents and we really struggled.  No Sassa, No child support. I paid for school fees, school clothes and all relevant costs and somehow made it. My eldest child is now 18 and my youngest 6 years old.

From the first salary that I did not have to pay to creditors, I asked the children what they would like as a special treat. I have not yet treated myself. Next week is my 40th birthday, and will be celebrating my birthday, freedom from debt and my engagement to a wonderful man.

I feel now that I had to go through this process to be the person I am today.

image of a happy woman after debt review clearance
Debt review changed my life for the better. Since my Debt Review Clearance has been done, I can look forward to celebrating and building a good life for my children and I.

I am a proud mother of three wonderful children and I have learnt how to survive and keep my head held high. My debt review Clearance has been done, and we are planning on buying a house together.

Debt Review changed my life for the better. I had a close relationship with my debt counsellor throughout the past 4 years.

*Olivia is an actual client of Cape Debt Clinic. She was so pleased with the outcome of her Debt Review process that she gave us permission to publish her real-life story. This article is her story. For privacy, all images are merely illustrative representations of Olivia’s situation.