Johannesburg - The National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA) has dealt with 1 872 valid complaints since it was set up 19 months ago.
Between April 2009 and September this year, it dealt with 4 664 complaints and enquiries - of which 1 872 were valid complaints and 2 792 were enquiries, CEO Magauta Mphahlele said on Tuesday.
The queries related to consolidation loans and credit bureaus.
Many people wanted to know about debt counselling, holiday packages, admin orders, garnishee orders, payment arrangements, school fee disputes, landlord disputes, and furniture disputes.
Of the 1 240 complaints received from January to September this year, 940 were finalised and 300 were pending, Mphahlele said in a statement.
The NDMA is a non-profit organisation which tries to help consumers get out of debt through mediation. It is allowed to resolve complaints against credit providers who subscribe to the industry code of conduct.
The National Credit Act offers consumers various legal and voluntary options to resolve debt problems, including direct negotiation with credit providers or approaching a debt counsellor.
Mphahlele warned people to spend their thirteenth cheques wisely by drawing up, and sticking to, a budget.
"The budget should be a true reflection of your festive season income and you should spend it wisely so that it does not result in you having to seek loans to cover your expenses," she said.
"A large portion of your budget should be allocated to necessary items like food, school uniform, debt, transport and emergencies.
"An insignificant part of your income should go towards entertainment."