When I started as a DC in 2010 it was possible to send a creditor a repayment proposal saying that the client has lost his/her job, and that a moratorium be placed on the accounts in question. Whether the creditor agreed with this or not did not matter, as long as the matter was set down in a magistrate’s court. We were also under the impression that legal action only commences once a summons has been issued, so all accounts could be included as long as summons was not issued…

Since then things have changed quite considerably, and we as debt counsellors were shown the arrogance of our ways. We needed to show the creditors more respect, and send off responsible repayment proposals, not ones that will have the consumer finish paying in 50 years’ time…

This meant that creditors now had more power, and a Section 129 notice constituted the initiation of legal action, excluding that specific account from debt review. This changed the game. No longer can consumers wait until it is almost too late before taking action. Now, there is a small window of opportunity from the date of default in which you can apply for debt review before a creditor is entitled to send out a S129 notice, which they do, especially on bonds and vehicle finance.

This means that you as a consumer need to act as soon as you realise that you may be in trouble, as it might ensure that all creditors are treated equally under debt review, instead of one creditor getting a large chunk of the money available while the rest take action because they are not getting enough…