Ithuseng Credit Solutions

Debt Relief Mediation

What is a debt relief plan?

Where you are in arrears, have received a section 129 notice, summons or been handed over, and have opted not to go under debt counselling, the ICS will arrange a debt relief plan for you. It is a negotiated repayment plan for each credit agreement that is meant to allow you to catch up or manage arrears:

  • It is a plan that allows you to meet your essential living expenses and manage your arrears according to your affordability.
  • It is a plan for when you cannot afford to make the full contractual monthly payments on your debts due to a change in circumstances like divorce, retrenchment, maternity leave, illness, and other unexpected expenses or events.
  • It will not write off your debts but it will allow you to make negotiated reduced monthly payments.
  • The plan is not court-ordered and can be cancelled by you when your situation changes but as long as you keep to your restructured payments credit providers will normally not take legal action.
  • You may still be contacted by your creditors if you use a third party like us to arrange a payment plan on your behalf. Do not agree to any arrangement without first consulting with us as it is important that any arrangement you make is within your prepared budget.
  • You will continue paying your creditors directly on the agreed method which could either be a debit order or cash.
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Is Debt Relief Mediation for me?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above you might need Debt Relief/Mediation Assistance.

How can mediation help?

If you are considering getting our mediation services, here are a few ways that we can help you mediate with your creditors on your behalf. 

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Restructure

Organise an affordable, realistic and structured monthly budget and debt repayment plan if you are in arrears to facilitate the stopping of any legal action that might lead to the creditor obtaining a judgment against you.

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Repossesion Prevention

By agreement, prevent the creditor from executing a court order (where your car or house is in the process of being repossessed OR auctioned) or proceeding with legal action by negotiating an acceptable repayment plan.

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Negotiate Settlements

Negotiate discounted settlements or repayment plan where you have a judgment or adverse listing.

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Dispute Resolution

Resolve any dispute you have with your credit provider through mediation, conciliation or arbitration.

Benefits of a Debt Relief Plan (DRP)

How we help

We have an 80% success rate and you are allowed to exit the arrangement at any time when your circumstances change, without having to seek a court order.

Zero Lawyers Fees

It is a process that does not involve the courts or lawyers thus saving you money;

Less Stress

The stress of having to deal with your credit providers or their legal representatives on your own is reduced as we assists you through the process;

Legal Protection

You are protected from legal action as long as the credit provider has agreed to any new arrangement and you continue to pay according to the new terms

Better Rating

If you pay off the debt all adverse listings regarding each of the accounts will be removed but your repayment history will continue to show the payment patterns;

Support

You will receive support and guidance from us on how to manage your budget and sustain the new arrangement.

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Our 5 Step Plan

Step 1

Debt analysis with a  consultant. 

Step 2

A revised budget will be prepared for you 

Step 3

We set up negotiations with your creditors. 

Step 4

Facilitations between you and credit providers.

Step 5

New payment plan will be implemented.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Section 129 of the National Credit Act allows a consumer who is in arrears to refer that credit agreement to a debt counsellor or Alternative Dispute Resolution Agent (ADR) to develop and agree on a plan to bring the payments under the agreement up to date OR resolve any dispute they have. Our CEO and one of our consultants are registered Debt Counsellors and we are also a Registered Alternative Dispute Resolution Agent.  We are therefore legally empowered to assist you with a range of debt relief options.

With credit agreements that are regulated by the National Credit Act (NCA), the legal process usually commences with:

  • A section 129 notice that credit providers are obliged to issue to you once you are in default for at least 20 business days.
  • Once you have received a section 129 letter you have the option to refer that specific credit agreement to a debt counsellor, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agent, Consumer Court or Ombud with jurisdiction. The intention is that the credit provider and you resolve any dispute related to the agreement or agree on a plan to bring the arrears up to date.
  • If 10 business days elapse without you responding to the section 129 notice or if negotiations are not successful, the credit provider is at liberty to proceed to issue a Summons; and
  • After summonses are served the court will issue a judgment against you if you defend the matter or a default judgment if you are not present in court;
  • Once a judgment is issued the credit provider also obtains the right to repossess and sell any asset “ or Garnishee” your salary

Debt Relief/Mediation Assistance can be applied at any stage of the legal process as explained above, even where the credit provider has commenced with legal action OR has a court order but has not yet executed it. Instead of approaching a lawyer, you can approach the ICS to assist you with making payment arrangements OR resolving the dispute.

 

Protection from Legal Action for section 129 arrangements

 

In terms of section 130(3)(c) of the National Credit Act a credit provider cannot proceed with legal action under the following circumstances:

(a) When the matter is being considered by a Debt Counsellor, Alternative Dispute Resolution Agent, Consumer Court or Ombud with Jurisdiction or when the consumer has;

(i) Surrendered property to the credit provider and that property has not been sold yet;

(ii) The credit provider has agreed to a debt relief proposal made in terms of section 129(1) and the consumer is acting in good faith to fulfil that agreement;

(iii) The consumer has fully complied with the agreed debt relief plan; and

(iv) The consumer has brought the account up to date.

 

Credit Provider Rights:

 
  • The success and outcome of the negotiations is not guaranteed and depends on the history and the status of the account, the law and other related factors;
  • Creditors can charge interest and fees up to the prescribed legal limit.
  • The new arrangement will be cancelled if you do not honour the agreement and credit providers can continue with legal action.
  • There are some instances where the credit providers will not make further concessions if concessions were already made or where the previous arrangements were not honoured.
  • Each credit provider will apply its own restructuring or payment arrangement policy and the outcome of the negotiation will depend on the amount of arrears, the action already taken and previous repayment behaviour.
  • The collections departments might still call you but as long as you have the new arrangement in writing you should be fine.

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