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

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

Frequently asked questions

QUESTION

ANSWER

Who can lodge a complaint with the NCR

Any person can lodge a complaint in which the consumer is a natural person and in certain instances, if the consumer is a juristic person (e.g. company, partnership).

If you are a third party lodging a complaint on behalf of a consumer, you must obtain that consumer’s written consent.

The complaint form to initiate a complaint as well as the written consent form will be provided by the NCR or found on the Website.

Are there limitations that apply to complaints

If a period of 3 years or more has passed since the act or conduct that you wish to complain about, the NCR may be prevented from referring that conduct to the National Consumer Tribunal or a consumer court but may assist with informal resolution of the dispute if the dispute is against a credit provider or a credit bureau.

Secondly, if the person or entity that you wish to lodge a complaint against was previously referred to the National Consumer Tribunal for a complaint that is substantially similar to yours, the NCR may be limited from referring your complaint to the National Consumer Tribunal or a consumer court. The NCR may assist with informal resolution of the dispute if the dispute is against a credit provider or a credit bureau.

What is reckless lending?

Firstly, when a credit provider gives you credit without conducting an affordability assessment that is considered reckless lending. During the affordability assessment, the credit provider must make sure that you understand the terms of credit, must consider your credit bureau record as well as your existing financial means prospects and your debt obligations must be considered.

Secondly, credit will be reckless if the credit provider does conduct an affordability assessment but continues to give you credit even if the affordability assessment shows that you are over-indebted, or that you will become over-indebted if the credit provider gives you credit.

If you suspect that you were granted credit recklessly you may approach the NCR to lodge a complaint against the credit provider.

What is prescribed debt and what prevents a debt from prescribing

Loosely speaking, prescribed debt is debt that has expired and which a credit provider may not collect from you. Most debt prescribes after 3 years from the date of your last payment, but be careful, a judgment debt and a debt secured by a mortgage bond expires after 30 years.

The following prevents a debt from prescribing:

  • an acknowledgment of debt by a debtor (for example, if a debtor pays part of his/her debt to the creditor before prescription, or agrees (expressly or by implication) before the debt expires that he or she knows about the debt and that he or she owes that debt or
  • a summons served by the credit provider on the debtor in order to claim payment of the debt.

What is credit life insurance

 

Credit life insurance is a sub-category of 3 other types of credit insurance. A credit provider may require you to take credit life insurance to cover your obligations to the credit provider in the event of your death, permanent or temporary disability, or in the event that you become unemployed or unable to earn an income.

The NCA prescribes the maximum cost of credit life insurance a credit provider may charge.

Can I refuse to take up credit life insurance and can I choose my own insurer

The credit provider may require you to take up credit life insurance as a condition for giving you credit. So if you do not want to take up the credit life insurance, the credit provider may also refuse to grant you credit.

You may however choose to take up your own credit life insurance and not the one offered by the credit provider, as long as it covers the minimum benefits such as death or permanent disability and unemployment or inability to earn income. The credit provider must inform you that you have the right to choose your own insurance provider.

What are the charges that a credit provider can charge me for borrowing money?

When the credit provider gives you credit, the credit provider can charge you interest, a service fee, an initiation fee, credit insurance, default administration charges and collection costs (for defaulting on your credit agreement).

The National Credit Act sets limits for all these costs. So if you suspect that you may have been charged more than the limit prescribed by the National Credit Act, you may lodge a complaint with the NCR.

There are other costs that a credit provider can charge you in addition to the above when you have an instalment sale agreement such as vehicle finance or for a mortgage bond. These are costs of an extended warranty agreement delivery, installation and initial fuelling charges connection fees, levies or charges taxes, licence or registration fees.

The above costs are referred to as the cost of credit in the National Credit Act.

What is in duplum

In duplum loosely refers to a rule in terms of the National Credit Act that limits how much a credit provider can charge you while you are in default. According to this rule, if you default on your debt repayment obligations, the cost of credit cannot be more than the amount of the unpaid principal debt at the time that you defaulted for as long as you remain in default.

What is set-off

Set-off happens where you have a debt obligation with a credit provider such as a personal and you also have asset or a savings account for example held by the credit provider. If the credit provider takes funds from your savings account to pay into your overdue personal loan account without your consent - that is a set-off.

Set-off is not allowed unless your consent has been obtained by the credit provider.

Why are my outstanding balancing increasing or not decreasing

Defaulting on your payments may lead to an increasing outstanding balance because when you don’t pay your account or you make short payments on your account, the credit provider may charge default interest and continues to charge contractual interest and other charges. If there is no instalment going into your account or the instalment is lower than the agreed amount, this interest and charges will accumulate thus increasing your outstanding balance.

Generally, during the early stages of your credit agreement or debt review, a large portion of your instalments goes towards paying off your interest and other charges therefore your outstanding balance may decrease very slowly initially.

What is the difference between repossession and voluntary surrender

Repossession can happen when you have been in default of your debt repayment obligations for more than 20 business days and you do not respond to the notice from your credit provider to make a payment arrangement to bring up your arrears or refer the dispute to a debt counsellor, alternative dispute resolution or an ombud. The credit provider can then issue a summons and ask the court to grant the credit provider an order and a warrant which a sheriff can use to repossess the goods.

Voluntary surrender is when you voluntarily give up the asset especially where you feel that you can no longer afford to keep up with your payments. When you voluntarily surrender the goods, the credit provider must value those goods and provide you with the sale value of the goods. If you do not agree with that sale value, you can withdraw surrender of the goods. If you do not withdraw, the goods will be sold, as in the case of a repossession, and the proceeds (minus the credit provider’s reasonable expenses in selling the goods) will be debited to your account and you will be liable for the shortfall.

I applied for a loan and was told that my application is declined because I’m under debt review. I do not know who listed me, what do I do?

You may call the NCR, provide your ID number and we can check the details of your debt counsellor. You may also lodge a complaint against the debt counsellor if you believe you were placed under debt review without your consent.

How do I know that the credit provider that I want to deal with is legit?

You may check the registration details of a credit provider by searching for it on our website under “credit providers” or you may call 0860 627 627 to enquire. Avoid dealing with credit providers who charge upfront payment for a credit application. Report such credit providers to the NCR.

There is a listing I do not agree with on my credit bureau report and I am blacklisted.

If you do not agree with the information listed on your credit report, you may contact the credit bureau and lodge a dispute. The credit bureau will give you a reference number.

I applied for debt review a few months ago but I realize that I do not want to continue with it anymore. I called the debt counsellor and told them to cancel me but they are unwilling to.

The National Credit Act does not make provision to cancel debt review. If you have been assessed and found to be over-indebted, you have to pay and settle all your debts in full before your debt counsellor can issue a certificate clearing your debt review.

 

I’m not satisfied with the services offered by my debt counsellor. He never responds to my email or calls. I want to cancel this.

If you are not satisfied with your debt counsellor’s service, you can transfer to another registered debt counselor of your choice.  A list of registered debt counsellors can be found on our website under “Debt Counsellor”.

I have received a 17.W from my debt counsellor but I still can’t get credit, I’m told I am under debt review.

The 17.W only means that the debt counsellor has suspended his or her service. That does not mean you have been removed from debt review. You will remain under debt review until you have settled all the debts.

I joined debt review 3 years ago and my credit providers recently informed me that they are not receiving payments, how do I resolve this.

You may lodge an official complaint with our office. Send a detailed enquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also access the complaint initiation form on our website.

I have been out of a job ever since the country went into lockdown. I do not have an income and my creditors are not offering any assistance.

Some credit providers have provided relief to their consumers/customers in line with the internal measures they have put in place. You may formally inform your creditor of your current state, however, kindly note that the relief they officer is solely at their discretion.

I want to apply for credit life insurance but I’m not sure how to go about it. I’m not receiving a salary because of the current pandemic.

You may refer to your credit agreement to see if it covers this period. If you do not have it in your possession, you may request one from the credit provider or submit an application by obtaining the application forms from the credit provider.

 

I was financed by NSFAS more than 3 years ago. I’m unemployed and they never contacted me for payment. I was only contacted this year and I told them that the debt has prescribed but they are disputing this. Please assist.

Before a debt can prescribe it must first become due. If the credit provider is not aware that the debt is due because of something in the credit agreement making it the responsibility of the debtor to inform the credit provider that the debt is now due, prescription will not begin to run. If for example your NSFAS contract states that you must start paying back the debt when you start earning R20 000.00 and NSFAS is not aware that you have been earning R20 000.00, the debt has not prescribed.

Complaints we can handle

The NCR can assist you with the following types of complaints:

  • Cost of credit e.g. overcharging of interest, initiation fee, service fee, etc
  • The conduct of a debt counsellor
  • Credit related disputes against any credit provider
  • Complaints against credit bureaus, on condition that the issue was brought to the attention of the bureau prior to lodging a complaint with the NCR
  • Failure and/or refusal to issue statements of account or other documents relating to an existing credit agreement
  • Failure and/or refusal by a debt counsellor to issue a clearance certificate
  • Refusal by a credit provider to cancel an agreement during the cooling off period which is 5 days 
  • Reckless lending
  • Non-adherence to section 127 & 129 of the NCA by credit providers (taking legal action and repossessing assets without following the prescribed steps)
  • Non distribution of funds by a payment distribution agent and/or debt counsellor
  • Credit providers taking legal action whilst the consumer is under debt review
  • Credit provider’s failure to restructure accounts in accordance with a debt review court order
  • Unlawful termination of accounts by creditors
  • Overcharging of fees by debt counsellors
  • A debt counsellor’s failure to obtain a debt review court order
  • In-duplum-non-adherence to section 103(5) of the NCA
  • Credit provider collecting on prescribed debt

Complaints that fall outside the NCR’s mandate

We cannot assist if your complaint involves: 

  • Service agreements, e.g. Vodacom, MTN,  Levies, Municipal accounts, gym etc.
  • A matter that would more appropriately be dealt with by a court of law or another dispute resolution process.
  • A matter which is or has been or currently is the subject of litigation, subject to certain exceptions.
  • A matter relating to administration or Administrators.
  • Complaints relating to damaged goods, these should be sent to the National Consumer Commission or Motor  Vehicle Ombudsman for vehicles. 
  • Debit orders going off on the wrong dates. 

Who can complain to us?

Any person can lodge a complaint in which the consumer is a natural person and in certain instances, if the consumer is a juristic person (e.g. company, partnership) or a trust with the necessary authority. Complaints may include complaints against any institution offering credit, against a debt counsellor, a PDA or a credit bureau provided the NCR has jurisdiction. Only persons with a written consent may lodge a complaint on behalf of another person. Consumers are encouraged to first lodge a dispute with the relevant credit providers, debt counsellors or credit bureaus before referring the matter to the NCR.

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1683

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Midrand
1683

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