KUANTAN: The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has never appointed any third-party agents and will never charge for its services, said its corporate services division general manager Azman Hasim.
He said AKPK had received numerous complaints from the public that third-party agents, claiming to act on behalf of the agency, were charging exorbitant fees for consultancy services.
“These agents will usually cold call people and coax information from them. If the person fits the profile, the agent will say they are representing AKPK and offer their restructuring plan services.
“However, when the agent has collected the fees, they will simply redirect the customer to AKPK,” Azman said after holding a talk for financial institutions, government and private organisations and the media here recently.
While it was legal to provide consultancy services, it was wrong to misrepresent AKPK, he said.
“It is giving the impression that AKPK is charging a fee when the truth is the services we offer are free of charge,” said Azman.
He said the third-party agents would usually charge 5% to 10% of the customer’s total outstanding loan and this would only add to the burden the customer already had.
“Please deal with us directly. Why pay for something you can get for free? Any kind of deals with AKPK should be conducted at our offices. I strongly encourage meeting our officers face-to-face to avoid getting duped,” he said.
On another matter, Azman said AKPK was undergoing a brand positioning as an agency that could improve one’s personal financial management through its financial counselling, debt management programme and financial education services.
“We want the public to be aware that our services are not for those with financial difficulties only but also for those who wants to improve their financial management knowledge in view of the increased cost of living, subsidy rationalisation and the implementation of the goods and services tax soon,” he said.
Azman said rather than focusing on loan restructuring, the agency wanted to prevent it from happening in the first place by instilling efficiency in managing finances.