Welcome to January’s debt news – the first of 2013! We think you’ll agree it was a long, long month.
As usual we’ve put together all the latest debt news into one easy to digest blogpost. So, without further ado….
In early January it was reported that 17% of British consumers started 2013 still paying debts from Christmas 2011. The uSwitch survey also found that seven percent of those people questioned couldn’t imagine ever paying off the debt.
The well-publicised changes to child benefit early in the month meant that many ‘better off’ parents lost out on the entitlement.
MPs also voted to cap benefit rises at one percent, to put them in line with public sector pay, also capped at one percent currently. Pension age benefits have been excluded from the cap. This comes after a report that retirement incomes have declined rapidly over the past five years.
We’ll be highlighting the huge change to benefits throughout 2013 – if you’re interested in finding out more you can start with the introduction of Universal Credit.
Reclaiming mis-sold PPI
The Financial Ombudsman Service has hired 1000 new staff as the sheer volume of complaints about mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) increase. If you think you’ve been mis-sold PPI you should look no further than our blogpost – Reclaim PPI for free!
At MoneyAware we look to promote good budgeting and frugal living – after all we don’t want you to get into debt in the first place. That’s why we’re pleased to see a report that claims Britons are hot for money tips. The report confirmed that many more people now shop around for bargains and that the recession has changed some of those surveyed attitudes toward money for the better.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
The OFT must have a sore finger this month as they’ve been wagging it vigorously at various people. They’ve warned energy suppliers about poor practice and they’ve also warned two banks about using charging orders to secure unsecured debts.
The two banks concerned – NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland – claimed they only used charging orders as a last resort.
Payday loan debts
Payday loan provider Wonga has admitted for the first time that it may use third party debt collection agents to help collect defaulted debt. The payday loan industry was also recently been criticised for showing a ‘lack of forbearance’ (or tolerance, for those among us who didn’t go to posh universities!) to those with debt problems.
New rules for bailiffs
The Ministry of Justice cracked down on aggressive bailiff behaviour this month. Although we didn’t think it went far enough we do welcome new proposals banning the use of force against debtors.
There are lot of myths and conjecture about what exactly a bailiff can and cannot do; if you’re concerned, know your bailiff rights.