During the presentation, several challenges were brought to light, along with proposed solutions.
For example, the need for stricter registration requirements for Debt Counsellor, though there was little said about additional training or mentoring.
Then the presentation moved onto some of the NCR’s current concerns such as possibly misleading advertisements and marketing practices within the debt counselling industry. Some advertisements use phrases that the NCR feel may mislead consumers, such as “payment holiday” or “up to 50% reductions on instalments.”
To combat such practices, new regulations were recommended to address possibly misleading advertisements and even to possibly prohibit the selling of leads for debt counselling purposes.
Consumer understanding of the debt counselling process and its implications emerged as another important issue. It was proposed that the application form be amended to clearly outline the obligations of the consumer and provide better transparency about the consequences of debt review.
Another area of concern was the lack of a straightforward exit process for consumers who change their minds or experience improved financial circumstances.
It was suggested that a cooling-off period be introduced in the National Credit Act (NCA) to allow consumers to make informed decisions before committing to debt review. Additionally, changes to the wording in the Act were proposed to facilitate the early exit of consumers whose financial situations improve during the process.