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NCR Webinar with Debt Counsellors About NCA Sect 68

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) held a series of Webinars on Monday 11th October 2021 in regard to requirements for protecting consumer information as set out by the National Credit Act (NCA).

The NCA requires that efforts are made by both the NCR and Debt COunsellors to protect consumers personal information such as names and ID numbers. While it may be debated that NCA section 38 exempts Debt Counsellors from having to do this, there are some simple practical steps that can be taken to do so.

The NCR were quick to point out that they do not have jurisdiction regarding the PoPI Act to dictate what should and should not be done and as a result will not be issuing a Guideline in regard to PoPI. This is something of a change in viewpoint at the NCR who in the past have been accused of overstepping their remit and issuing guidelines that cover matters they should leave to other parties.

The Webinar focused in on NCA Section 68 and touched on NCA Section 52 (5)(b).

NCA Section 68

In an effort to protect consumer information the NCR ask that DEbt Counsellors communicate with them by using the following process.

    1. When first emailing the NCR about a consumer: use the consumers’ name and ID number.
    2. The NCR will then reply but edit their reply to only show some of the consumers’ name and ID numbers (eg the last few numbers). They will also edit the first email they received which will be included in the email reply. They would like Debt Counsellors to reply to them and keep the email chain going and only then use the obscured ID number etc.
    3. Email attachments of word documents should be encrypted (password protected) and they shared a password that should be used during the webinar (which obviously we will not share in this article but those who attended now know and any who missed the webinar can enquire directly with the NCR about).
    4. They will also share information soon about encrypting PDFs.
    5. Debt Counsellors are reminded that they should include their unique NCRDC number when corresponding with the NCR (so they know who they are talking to).

By following this process they feel that Debt Counsellors will be adhering to the law.

NCA Section 52(5)(b)

The NCR reminded Debt Counsellors to include their NCRDC number in correspondence as well as in marketing material and adverts. This is a requirement set out in the NCA in Section 52.

By doing this it helps reassure consumers that they are dealing with an officially registered and qualified individual. With the prevalence of scams out there and companies offering illegal mediation scams and services this has increasingly become more important.

Protect Consumers Where Possible

The underlying message was to make efforts to protect consumers information as far as possible. By following these processes Debt Counsellors can feel confident that they are following the requirements as set out in the National Credit Act.

The NCR did recommend also talking to an attorney for further advice about the POPI Act.