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Debt Counsellor fined and debt counselling registration cancelled

Debt Counsellors don’t have free rein in South Africa. If they don’t act in accordance with The National Credit Act, the regulating body—The National Credit Regulator—will investigate the individual and after the case is taken to National Consumer Tribunal, they could be fined and have their debt counselling registration cancelled. 

Asia Lamara, previously a Debt Counsellor in South Africa, has been fined R1 million and her debt counselling registration has been removed. 

The National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) found Lamara guilty of not working in a way that aligned with the processes and conduct set out by The National Credit Act (NCA). Lamara has, since this ruling appealed it and the case is now ongoing. 

Lamara provided debt counselling services through her companies, MSA consulting and Consumer Finance Solutions. 

Why was Lamara fined and her debt counselling registration cancelled?

Thousands of debt counselling clients complained about the Debt Counsellor. One of the complaints was:

  • Putting consumers under debt review without having actually applied for debt review.

The process the NCR followed with deregistering a Debt Counsellor

  • Following the complaints the NCR received from several debt review clients, they investigated Lamara and found that she was acting in contravention of The National Credit Act (NCA). 
  • They then applied for the deregistration of Lamara to the National Tribunal Court (NCT). 

Some things you need to know about debt counselling (debt review) in South Africa

  1. It is a regulated process. 
  2. This process is regulated by a body called the National Credit Regulator (NCR). This means that Debt Counsellors cannot just do whatever they want. 
  3. You must do proper research before signing up for debt review (debt counselling). 

A few of the questions you should consider BEFORE signing up for debt review are:

  1. Are they registered with the NCR? Meerkat is registered. 
  2. Are they planning on obtaining debt counselling fees directly from you? This is a red flag! Debt Counsellors work with Payment Distribution Agencies (PDAs) to distribute your money to your relevant creditors. Meerkat works with South Africa’s reputable PDA- Hyphen PDA. 
  3. What are their clients saying about them? Have they successfully helped other South Africans? Or, are there several complaints about them?

Read: How do I choose a debt counselling company in South Africa?

Can you leave one Debt Counsellor or debt counselling company to go to another?

Yes, you can. But you shouldn’t apply to do it just because one debt counselling company has promised a lower monthly repayment. 

If, however, you find that your Debt Counsellor is not contactable, is not providing the service they indicated they would, or is not registered, you can request to change your Debt Counsellor. 

Let us give you a FREE call-back to discuss the process. Simply fill out the contact form and select the debt management option.  

Contact me about debt review >>

What happens if my Debt Counsellor is no longer registered?

Has your Debt Counsellor or debt counselling company been de-registered? Have you, in addition to this, paid up all your debt, but unable to contact them to get the debt review flag removed from your credit report? We can help you!

Start your debt review clearance online application >>

Who are we? Who is Meerkat?

Meerkat is a registered financial services provider. We also have registered Debt Counsellors with the National Credit Regulator (NCR). 

Things you should be aware of when changing Debt Counsellors

  • If the court order has already been granted, you have to stick to the current payment arrangement/ monthly instalment. You can, however, increase the amount you are currently paying and decrease the time spent under debt review. 
  • If the court order has not yet been issued, the Debt Counsellor will reassess your case to determine whether or not you are over-indebted. They may then be able to propose a lower repayment plan for you or even find that you are not actually over-indebted. 

FAQs about The NCR

What does NCR stand for in South Africa?

The full name is The National Credit Regulator. 

What is the role of the NCR?

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) was introduced through the National Credit Act and serves to regulate the South African credit industry.

Where do I report issues to NCR in South Africa?

Feel like you’ve been put under debt review without your consent? You can lodge a complaint with The National Credit Regulator (NCR) by emailing them at complaints@ncr.org.za or calling them on 0860 627 627/011 554 2600. 



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