Time manages and influences everything that we do. When we go to bed, when we wake up, what time we start work, when we eat lunch, when we can drive, etc. As important as all of these are, time also manages many of the processes that are used in our Credit market. This article will give you an idea of what some of those processes are and how you can make sure that you are not “out of time”.
Due Dates for Payment
Most retail accounts are due between the 1st and the 7th of every month. Paying one of these accounts late (even 1 day late) will lead to a reduction in your credit score. The reason for this is that the late payment on your Credit Report will look exactly the same as if you paid 1 month late. Set up debit orders to make sure that these payments are made on time every month. Also, set the debit order to run as close to your salary date as possible. This will reduce the risk of you spending the money on other items.
Everything that you do that involves debt, credit or payments will have an effect on your credit report and credit score. A skipped or late payment will show for 24 months and can carry on affecting your score behind the scenes for years to come. Read our detailed article on credit report retention times.
In South Africa, our Tax Season runs from July to November. Make sure that you have filed your return before the due date so that there are no issues. Late submission WILL lead to penalties being added by SARS. Follow this link to see all the upcoming important dates at SARS.
Time-Frame on Letter of Demand
If you have defaulted on a credit agreement (no payment, short payment, etc) then your Creditor will send you a Letter in terms of Section 129 of the National Credit Act. This letter is sent to advise you of your options. In this letter, you should be told that you are in default and that you have the option to approach a Debt Counsellor, alternative dispute resolution agent, consumer court, or Ombud. If you have received this letter you have 10 days to act. If you do not approach someone for help then your creditor may proceed with legal action against you.
Often consumers will ignore these letters when they arrive and sometimes will not even collect the letter from the post office mistakenly thinking that this will protect them. Your creditor just needs to prove that they sent the letter by registered mail and that it arrived at your post office. This is enough for the Court. If you pick it up or not changes nothing.
IF YOU SEE A DEBT COUNSELLOR WITHIN 10 DAYS THE CREDITOR CANNOT PROCEED AGAINST YOU WITH LEGAL ACTION.
These are just a few of the time frames that are important in our market. Make sure that you stick to these, come what may.
Should you have a problem with meeting any of these then you need to approach the relevant people in time. If you have a problem that prevents you from paying an account in one month, speak to your creditor. Creditors don’t want to take legal action and they won’t if you keep them advised on what is happening.
Whatever you do, if you do contact a creditor and make alternate arrangements, get it in writing! If you don’t then you have nothing to fall back on if there is a problem. Don’t rely on the fact that the creditor has recorded the conversation, you don’t have access to the recording so it cannot help you.
If you have a longer term problem then speak to a professional who can assist. If the problem is with the law then speak to an attorney, Debt Counsellors are trained and qualified to assist you with credit agreements and the National Credit Act.
Sticking your head in the sand does not make the problem go away.
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