0860 627 627 (Call Centre) / 011 554 2700  (Reception) 

  info@ncr.org.za / complaints@ncr.org.za / workshops@ncr.org.za

Misleading advertising on Social Media platforms regarding debt counselling

March 2022

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has in recent times noted advertising practices by debt counsellors and unregistered persons that are misleading and deceptive, unlawful and contrary to the provisions of the National Credit Act and its regulations, causing harm and distress to unsuspecting consumers. This press release is intended to warn consumers against such advertising practices and request consumers to report these practices to the NCR.

Advocate (Adv.) Kedilatile Legodi, the Manager of the NCR Debt Counselling Department says that “in recent times, there has been a surge in advertising for “debt review removals” and some consumers are charged in the excess of R8000 to have his/her debt review flag removed”. Consumers are warned that this “debt review removal” is not supported by law. In a recent High Court Judgment, delivered by three High Court Judges, the Court stated that debt review removal is not possible for consumers who have been declared over indebted, and that consumers need to pay up all debt, except where a bond is not in arrears, to be removed from debt review. Where a consumer has a debt review court order, no Court, not even the High Court can rescind such judgment.

Adv. Legodi further requests consumers to access the NCR Withdrawal Guidelines issued in 2021, from the NCR’s website, which clearly state the circumstances under which a consumer can exit debt review. “If any company offers a service contrary to the provisions of the NCR Withdrawal Guidelines, even attorneys, consumers are running a risk of paying for a service that has no prospect of success without any recourse against persons not registered with the NCR”. Adv. Legodi warns that “before any consumer pays for such services, consumers they are urged to make contact with the NCR, or access the website to verify the registration status of such a person offering the service.”

In addition, Adv. Legodi noted the unlawful practice of consumers being contacted telephonically by “NCR Agents” to discuss his/her debt review status, or debt review flag removal. “The NCR does not have any personal information of consumers and will at no stage contact a consumer to discuss his/her debt review status” she warns. “Consumers are requested to report these “NCR Agents” to the NCR Complaints Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 0860 627 627 and not be scammed by these practices.”

It has further been noted that there are companies that advertise that they work with the NCR to investigate debt counsellors. Adv. Legodi informed that “the NCR has the exclusive mandate under law to perform an investigation into registrants, and cannot outsource such mandate to any outside company. Consumers are urged to request an official Inspector Certificate issued by the NCR from such companies prior to engaging with them. If such Inspector Certificate cannot not be produced, consumers are requested to report such companies to the NCR’s Complaints Department.”

The NCR further noted the prevalence of advertising, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram of claims that debt counsellors can:

  • Get debt written off by credit providers;
  • Payment of a large amount of debt in a very short period of time;
  • Government approved method to get debt written off;
  • Government approved debt relief for over 30’s / 40’s / 50’s / 60’s (Bait marketing);
  • Pictures of senior government officials advertising debt relief; and
  • Save consumers 63% / 60% / 55% / 43% on debt repayments.

Adv. Legodi warns that “if it is too good to be true, it probably is”. She explains that “debt relief measures under the National Credit Act (NCA) are intended to repay all debt to credit providers with certain interest concessions and extended terms to facilitate relief to consumers. It is not a savings plan or magic trick to let debt disappear Consumers remain responsible for debt repayments and there are no provisions in the NCA or the Regulations that can facilitate the claims made in these advertisements. “Don’t be fooled or scammed by such unlawful and false advertising”.

Consumers should not trust any advertising that do not contain the NCR registration number of the debt counsellor. “If the debt counsellor is not clearly identified in the advertising, how can a consumer verify the identity and status of the debt counsellor, or the validity of the service”, explains Adv. Legodi. Therefore, consumers should be vigilant and report any advertising to the NCR where the advertiser cannot be identified. Consumers should also keep in mind that no person, not even attorneys can provide the services of a debt counsellor, if they are not registered to do so. “Always ask for the NCR registration number before engaging with any person, even attorneys who claims to be a debt counsellor or to provide any service surrounding your credit agreements” Adv. Legodi warns. 

Finally, consumers must be made aware that it is unlawful for debt counsellors to receive any payments of money directly from consumers. Adv. Legodi explains that “Regulation 11 of the NCA clearly prohibit debt counsellors from taking any money from consumers and can be deregistered for doing so. Consumers are requested to report to the NCR if the debt counsellor request payment of any monies to them directly.”

ENDS


About The National Credit Regulator
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) was established as the regulator under the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (NCA) and is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry. The NCR is mandated with the registration of Credit Providers, Credit Bureaus, Debt Counsellors, Payment Distribution Agents, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents; and monitoring their conduct in compliance with the National Credit Act as amended. The National Credit Regulator offers education and protection to consumers of credit in promotion of a South African credit market that is fair, transparent, accessible and dynamic.

For more information contact:
Media Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or
Didi Sebothoma
064 752 3910
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.ncr.org.za

Consumer rights in the digital world

March 2022

On 15 March 2022, the National Credit Regulator (NCR) will join the world in commemorating the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) to raise awareness about consumer rights in terms of the National Credit Act. The international theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2022 is Fair Digital Finance, whilst the South African Government has adopted “#BetterDigitalWorld” as its theme. The NCR together with the Consumer Protection Forum will be using the “Sustainable Consumer” theme. This theme will be aligned to the South African Government one in the context of better and safer online and digital interactions.

“With digital technologies reshaping the financial landscape and making all financial transactions, including credit, convenient, simpler and more accessible to consumers, new threats to consumer credit rights in the digital and online space have emerged which can leave consumers vulnerable,” says Ms. Boitumelo Geldenhuis, Acting Manager: Education and Communication at the NCR.

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely impacted on the finances of most consumers causing economic hardship and creating desperation, making them more susceptible to taking credit in one form or another. “In celebrating WCRD this year, the NCR wants to ensure that all consumers performing credit transactions online do so in an informed and safe manner, protecting not only their rights and information, but also making these transactions smart and sustainable,” added Ms. Geldenhuis.

To ensure that your online and credit transactions are safe, smart and sustainable the NCR is urging consumers to follow the following:

  • Always verify if the credit provider is registered with the NCR by checking their NCRCP
  • number against the one which appears on the NCR website (www.ncr.org.za ) to ensure that the registration number belongs to that credit provider. Alternatively, you can call the NCR on 0860 627 627 to verify for you;
  • Beware of fake credit providers when transacting online;
  • Know the full cost of credit you are being offered or applying for by requesting a preagreement
  • statement and quotation before committing or signing any credit agreement;
  • Beware of deceptive credit advertisements such as “no credit checks”, “blacklisted
  • welcome”, “free credit”;
  • Beware of credit providers asking for “upfront fees” before they give you the actual loan.
  • Never pay any upfront fees;
  • Pay careful attention to “Terms & Conditions” – click and read, do not accept without
  • understanding;
  • When you apply for debt counselling, ensure that you understand what you are getting
  • yourself into, before agreeing to anything;
  • Only use a registered debt counsellor that is situated close to where you work or live;
  • and
  • Remember the golden rule “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”

“Being a “Sustainable Consumer” in the digital era means that you need to be informed of your rights and make smart choices with the information that you consume. Remember even when you transact online, you still have rights and responsibilities as per the National Credit Act. Also, take note that the NCR conducts educational workshops for consumers throughout the country, if you require one, you may contact the NCR on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.” concludes Ms. Geldenhuis.

Ends


The National Credit Regulator (NCR) was established in terms of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (the Act) and is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry. The NCR is mandated with the registration of Credit Providers, Credit Bureaus, Debt Counsellors, Payment Distribution Agents, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents; and monitoring their conduct in compliance with the National Credit Act as amended. The National Credit Regulator offers education and protection to consumers of credit in promotion of a South African credit market that is fair, transparent, accessible and dynamic.

For more information contact:
Media Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or
Didi Sebothoma
064 752 3910
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.ncr.org.za

Be smart, mind your money, know your rights webinar

November 2021

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), together with its agencies, National Credit Regulator (NCR), National Consumer Commission (NCC) and Proudly South African (PSA) will be hosting a joint webinar aimed at educating consumers about their rights and responsibilities whenever making purchases. The webinar comes at a time when consumers are facing considerable financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar will take place tomorrow, Thursday, 25 November 2021 from 10:00-12:00.

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina says that the webinar comes at a most critical period in the year when consumers are bombarded with offerings that purport to offer bargain deals.

“It is of the utmost importance that we alert consumers on the possible pitfalls they might find themselves in should they not make wise spending decisions. The key principle this season is to ensure that you make your limited funds go a long way and steer clear of offers that seem too good to be true, because more often than not, they exactly are what your instincts say they are,” says Gina.

The CEO of the National Credit Regulator, Nomsa Motshegare advised consumers who will be taking part in this year’s Black Friday and festive season spending to draft a budget, know your limits and only spend what you can afford to pay back.

She also reminded consumers that cash is king, especially for purchasing consumables such as food, clothing, airtime, data and entertainment. Remember, credit comes with interest and other fees such as monthly service fees, once off initiation fees, credit life insurance. Therefore you will end up paying more at the end.

 

The CEO of Proudly South African, Mr Eustace Mashimbye says: “It is important that we manage our finances according to our means. Spending wisely includes making sure that we select locally manufactured and produced goods and services which assist in economic growth and job creation. Buying ‘local’ increases the chances of companies employing more people and more jobs mean more money in the pockets of consumers.”

The Acting Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission, Ms Thezi Mabuza urges consumers to demand goods that are of good quality, in good order and are free of any defects.

“The goods must be usable and durable for a reasonable period of time. If you suspect that goods received or upon collection might have defects, do not take delivery. I want to remind consumers to also exercise caution when buying online as they might be transacting with scammers masquerading as legit businesses. Always try to use reputable suppliers where possible”, she adds.

All the stakeholders seek to encourage consumers to participate and acquire sound knowledge that will assist in managing their finances during Black Friday and festive season.

Invitation link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3Bp2Fa8yQ_2zQkG9HOFXWg

Enquiries:
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

Consumers are encouraged to borrow wisely and start saving

January 2022

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) encourages consumers to make savings one of their New Year’s resolutions in order to avoid borrowing all the time and to avoid over-indebtedness. The festive season has come and gone, leaving some consumers who did not plan properly with nothing. Some of these consumers will be approaching credit providers in order to borrow money to get by for the month, says Ms. Anne-Carien Du Plooy, Acting Manager: Education and Communication at the NCR.

If you are going to get a loan this January to assist you to keep afloat until the next pay day, do so responsibly, says Du Plooy. Tips for responsible borrowing:

  • Prepare a budget to see how much you can afford in terms of repayments and to track all your monthly costs;
  • Remember the repo rate was increased in November 2021 increasing interest rates, take that into consideration when you apply for credit;
  • Only use credit providers registered with the National Credit Regulator;
  • Get a quotation and pre-agreement statement – these outline the cost of credit and terms and conditions of the credit agreement you will be signing;
  • Understand the total cost of credit outlined in the quotation which includes interest, monthly service fees, one-off initiation fees, credit life insurance etc;
  • Do not take on additional credit just because they say you qualify for more;
  • Do not take out credit for other people as the risk of non-payment will fall on you;
  • Start saving now!
  • Avoid credit providers that say “Blacklisted consumers welcome, No credit checks etc”;
  • Avoid credit providers that require you to pay an upfront payment before they give you the loan;
  • Avoid credit providers that require you to leave your cards, ID and PINs with them;
  • Avoid credit providers that offer you a ridiculously low interest rate, if it too good to be true, it usually is.

Remember, if you take out a loan and do not repay it as agreed in the credit agreement, this will adversely affect your credit report. The devastating effects of such adverse listings on credit profiles are that they restrict your chances of qualifying for credit in the future and/or accessing certain jobs where a candidate is considered for employment in a position that requires honesty in dealing with cash or finances.

When applying for a loan, it is important for consumers to truthfully disclose all their expenses. This will enable credit providers to conduct an affordability assessment on the consumer’s ability to repay the loan. “If you fail to truthfully disclose all expenses, you will lose the protection offered by the National Credit Act. In some situations, unscrupulous agents will encourage consumers not to truthfully disclose expenses in order to enhance their chance of qualifying for credit application,” cautions Ms. Du Plooy.

Consumers who require additional information on borrowing wisely or a list of registered credit providers can log on to www.ncr.org.za or contact our call centre on 0860 627 627.

Ends


About The National Credit Regulator
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) was established in terms of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (the Act) and is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry. The NCR is mandated with the registration of Credit Providers, Credit Bureaus, Debt Counsellors, Payment Distribution Agents, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents; and monitoring their conduct in compliance with the National Credit Act as amended. The National Credit Regulator offers education and protection to consumers of credit in promotion of a South African credit market that is fair, transparent, accessible and dynamic.

For more information contact:

Media Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or
Didi Sebothoma
064 752 3910
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.ncr.org.za

The National Consumer Tribunal finds Mr. Clark Gardner, a director of Summit Financial Partners (Pty) Ltd, guilty of contravening the National Credit Act and his conditions of registration as a debt counsellor

November 2021

The National Consumer Tribunal (“Tribunal”) has found Mr. Clark Gardner (“Mr. Gardner”), a director of Summit Financial Partners (Pty) Ltd, guilty of contravening the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (“the Act”) and his conditions of registration as a debt counsellor.

This follows an investigation of complaints against Mr. Gardner by the National Credit Regulator (“NCR”) related to his activities as a debt counsellor. The Tribunal found Mr. Gardner guilty of contraventions related, amongst others, to –

  1. failing to –
    • make determinations whether consumers are over-indebted;
    • inform consumers of the consequences of applying for debt review;
    • update the records of consumers relating to debt review;
    • notify credit providers and credit bureaus that consumers have applied for debt review; and
    • perform debt counselling functions personally.
  2. over-charging of fees to consumers who applied for debt review; and receiving payments from consumers who applied for debt review at the commencement of the debt review process;
  3. using misleading and deceptive advertisements offering debt repayment reductions of up to 50% and free debt counselling services when his services were not free.

The Tribunal imposed an administrative fine of R500 000.00 on Mr. Gardner.

Furthermore, the Tribunal ordered Mr. Gardner to appoint an independent auditor to audit his consumer files dating back 3 years in order to identify, amongst others, consumers who were overcharged fees by him. The auditors’ report must be given to the NCR once completed, and Mr. Gardner will refund consumers identified by the auditors as having been overcharged.

Ends


About The National Credit Regulator
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) was established in terms of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (the Act) and is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry. The NCR is mandated with the registration of Credit Providers, Credit Bureaus, Debt Counsellors, Payment Distribution Agents, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Agents; and monitoring their conduct in compliance with the National Credit Act as amended. The National Credit Regulator offers education and protection to consumers of credit in promotion of a South African credit market that is fair, transparent, accessible and dynamic.

For more information contact:

Media Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or
Didi Sebothoma
064 752 3910
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.ncr.org.za

Contact details

Physical Address
127 - 15th Road
Randjespark
Midrand
1683

Physical Address
Call-Centre, Complaints and Investigations Department
232-15th Road
Randjespark
Midrand
1683

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Operating Hours

Mon - Thur : 8AM - 5PM
Friday : 8AM - 4:30PM

Call Centre
0860 627 627

Telephone
011 554 2700

National Credit Act

Download the National Credit Act
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