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Court Matters

In a recent matter that was before the National Consumer Tribunal which resulted from complaints by a consumer the NCT was asked, by the NCR, to rule on whether the Debt Counsellor had failed in their job.

There were a number of interesting points in the ruling* but one thought that came out quite strongly was that consumers need to cooperate with the debt review process.

Imagine someone suing their personal trainer for failing to make them fit but the client refused to do any exercise.

Paragraph 62 and 63 were particularly interesting.

They state, in part (we added some bold to some text):


    1. The responsibility of consumers is particularly important when a credit provider does not accept a proposal from the debt counsellor following consultations with the consumer. In such an instance, the consumer must participate in good faith in further negotiations with the credit provider and comply with any reasonable request by the debt counsellor to facilitate a responsible debt re-arrangement plan with a credit provider. The Tribunal finds that a request to contact the debt counsellor to discuss alternative settlement proposals is reasonable. According to the evidence before the Tribunal, the Respondent made numerous attempts to contact the consumers as sampled, to further engage in alternative settlement proposals where credit providers did not accept the initial proposal. By failing to respond and accordingly participate in good faith in further settlement negotiations, consumers contravene the Act.


    1. The consumer’s responsibility to act in good faith during the debt review process is similarly essential in the proper execution of sections 86(7)(b) and 86(8)(b). The Tribunal reiterates that these sections apply to an assessment outcome that the consumer is not over-indebted but nevertheless experiencing difficulty satisfying all his or her obligations under credit agreements in a timely manner. Where a debt counsellor makes a recommendation in such an instance, and this recommendation is not accepted by all the credit providers, the debt counsellor must [Emphasis added] refer the recommendation to the Magistrate’s Court.

The ruling reminds consumers that they must communicate and cooperate with their Debt Counsellor and must be open to making changes to their lifestyle in order to pay off their debts.

*Over the next few weeks we will be mentioning other highlights from this case ( NCR vs Munsamy) so be sure to visit for more information.

Note: To read the rest of this issue of Debtfree magazine click next/previous