Has Someone At Capitec Declared War on Debt Review?
A Declaration of War
Over the last few months Debt Counsellors have been complaining that some of the marketing material coming out of Capitec Bank has had a very negative tone about debt review.
Many are now asking if someone, somewhere at Capitec has declared war on debt review?
First off, we must note that Capitec Bank have a dedicated debt review department who have worked closely with Debt Counsellors for years, and continues to do so. These are hard working individuals who all Debt Counsellors know and work with almost daily. So, obviously this department within the bank supports debt review and makes sure that Capitec Bank clients who enter the process are taken care of.
‘obviously this department within the bank supports debt review and makes sure that Capitec Bank clients who enter the process are taken care of’
But we all know that a bank is more than one department.
If you visit the bank’s website and look for info about debt review you will find this statement, which sounds very informative and accurate:
‘You can also consider debt review if debt rescheduling or consolidation does not provide the relief you need. If you’re over-indebted, a debt counsellor can help by restructuring your debt repayments based on what you can afford. The debt counsellor will assess your living expenses and calculates an affordable payment plan.’
This sounds very nice and we agree. Speak to your credit providers first and then, if no workable solution presents itself, get professional help that deals with your total debt situation.
However, the tone on the webpage then sours a little as the rest of the information they present follows a pattern similar to Facebook and online adverts focusing on the negatives consumer might face. They quote their ‘experience’ which may be a reference to some research that Capitec commissioned in the recent past (that the industry has yet to see).
‘Some things to bear in mind:
The aim of debt review is to help you manage and repay your debt. Debt review doesn’t mean that your debt gets written off.
Our experience shows that 75% of people under debt review experience no long-term benefits afterwards despite paying all the debt review fees.
Under debt review:
- You could pay R9500 or more in debt review fees
- You won’t be able to use your existing credit
- You won’t be able to get any new credit for up to 10 years afterwards
- You can only end the process by paying up your debt or if a court finds you not-over-indebted
Speak to us first if you need help. We can look at zero-fee personalised options to improve your situation.’
The statement about 75% is…well, it is problematic (to be diplomatic). Little info is given beyond this figure in essence telling consumers: you are likely to be one of the 75% that won’t benefit. They do not define what benefit would mean or explain the statement or context.
Though the highest possible fee is mentioned it is not tempered by any reference to the fact that few ever pay that amount, since it works on a (admittedly confusing and complicated) sliding scale.
Imagine a Debt Counsellor site saying: You could pay up to R1 or less in debt review fees.
That would be technically correct but…well, misleading or unrealistic.
The statement about not getting new credit for 10 years is false**.
We are not sure who on the marketing or web team came up with that but someone may have asked an Ai to write it or research it and maybe it got confused with sequestration? Who knows? Very weird.
For many years, consumers who have entered debt review and are looking for a new savings or transmission account have been told to consider (among others) a Capitec account. At one stage (due to set off) this was almost standard advice to new clients.
‘This…has now left some Debt Counsellors feeling unhappy’
This webpage (along with the recent advert which made similar statements and articles in the press) has now left some Debt Counsellors feeling unhappy that consumers are getting slanted information that seems aimed at keeping them from making use of the debt review process to deal with all their debts.
*in our experience, during conversations, 75.6% of all statistics are made up on the spur of the moment.
** We did let the Capitec Debt Review Department team know. Maybe they can help the web team out.