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Some Consumers Recieve a Concerning SMS

Because of changes to ABSA’s computer system and a drive to clean up old data some consumers have recently received a somewhat scary email from ABSA about their debt review.

The SMS messages, that some consumers who have been in debt review for a long time received, may look something like this:

The SMS is part of a fancy new system that has recently come online at ABSA as they make upgrades to their internal processes for debt review. Recently, the new system sent a number of these messages where it (the system) does not have a particular form allocated to the consumer’s file (a Form 17.2).

A Form 17.2 is a form that is sent right near the start of the process, to let the bank know if a Debt Counsellor feels that a person, who has asked for their debt to be reviewed, now needs to take the next step to have their debt restructured (or not). Every consumer who is properly in debt review should have such a form sent to all their credit providers (including ABSA).

Read More: What is a Form 17.2?

As you can see in the example above, the SMS mentions that the consumer should contact their Debt Counsellor. Many consumers who are actually in debt review have been doing so out of concern. Some Debt Counsellors say they have been flooded by calls which they worry is impacting on their ability to assist other consumers. 

‘The SMS is part of an automated system that has recently come online at ABSA’

At the same time, the system has also generated many, many emails and sent them on to Debt Counsellors requesting copies of the same documentation.

In cases where the debt review did not go ahead then this will help clear up any inaccurate or incomplete information the bank has. Consumers who perhaps did apply but never went ahead with the process will know that their original obligations for that debt are still in place (as per the SMS).

Some Debt Counsellors, however, report that they have previously provided these forms when their clients were accepted into the process and so are hesitant to have to send it again. They also worry that these legitimate, well paying, clients are getting stressed by the messages.

This request for copies of the form, though simple, can be somewhat time consuming as it involves going through older files to locate the correct document, drafting emails and sending in a data protected manner. As a result, it may take some time before Debt Counsellors provide the new system with all the information it needs to be “happy” so to speak.

‘the system has also generated … many emails and sent them on to Debt Counsellors requesting copies of the same document…’

Regularly paying debt review consumers should also not be overly concerned that suddenly their accounts are now not being handled through ABSA’s debt review process, at the amounts agreed to long ago (or as set out in court orders). Yes, the SMS indicates that the ‘original repayment term’ is running but this will not be accurate where a debt review has been underway for some time and an arrangement is actually in place. In such cases, it is simply a case of clearing up the status and information.

ABSA Eager To Clean Up Older Records

ABSA say they are eager to ensure that each client, who they have been dealing with through debt review, has this document allocated to their matter. They are trying to clear up any older matters where this form (and perhaps other information) is missing. 

ABSA want to ensure that their records are 100% accurate and that they have all the associated documents on hand when they work with Debt Counsellors to assist consumers.  While they realise it may be an inconvenience for Debt Counsellors, they are also certain that it will proactively resolve some ongoing issues and ultimately improve their client’s experience of the debt review process.

It can clearly be seen that this SMS process is especially ideal for brand new clients where the form 17.2 has not yet been received within the expected time period and it will serve as a great prompt for consumers and Debt Counsellor alike to ensure these documents are in place.