UPDATE 28 May 2014: Debt Help & Advice Ltd. have been placed into administration. Instructions on how to get in touch with the administrators can be found on the FCA website.
Debt management firm Debt Help and Advice Limited ceased trading on 20 May 2014 leaving their customers wondering what will happen next. The company provided fee-charging debt solutions and it is currently unclear if their clients stand to lose any money from the company’s closure.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) around 3,000 and 3,500 customers have a debt management plan (DMP) with them or their affiliated companies, Primary Business Solutions Ltd and First Step Finance Ltd. Debts that were previously managed by the company will still need to be paid, but as Debt Help and Advice Ltd. is no longer operating it’s important to stop making payments to them as the money will not reach creditors.
Debt Help and Advice Limited used a number of different trading names. No money should be paid to the following companies:
- Atria Finance
- Sales Help and Advice
- Debt Help and Advice
- Debt Help & Advice
- DH and A
- DH & A
“A confusing and distressing time”
StepChange Debt Charity chief executive, Mike O’Connor said: “This is an confusing and distressing time for these companies’ clients. Thousands of people who thought that they were dealing with their debts have now been left in limbo. We urge any clients of these firms to contact StepChange Debt Charity, our advisers are aware of the situation and are on standby to offer free and independent advice to anyone who needs it.”
I’m a Debt Help and Advice Limited customer, what should I do?
It’s important to take immediate advice regarding your debts.The Financial Conduct Authority recommends that Debt Help and Advice Ltd. customers come to us here at StepChange Debt Charity. The first step is to use our online Debt Remedy advice tool or phone us on 0800 138 1111 (Free from all landlines and mobiles).
What about the money I’ve already paid to Debt Help and Advice Limited?
It’s hard to say at the moment. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is involved and they’re the best people to talk with about what will happen next. If you’ve got questions you can contact the FCA’s consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 (charged at a local rate for mobile phone users), and press ‘2’.
Paul Stanley and Jason Greenhalgh of Begbies Traynor have been appointed as joint administrators and have set up a website to keep customers updated. The login details, which are case sensitive, are as follows:
The FCA is also attempting to track down creditors that are expecting to receive payments from Debt Help and Advice Limited to let them know the situation and will encourage them to take a sympathetic view of repayments while the situation is clarified.
Can I switch my DMP over to StepChange Debt Charity?
If a DMP is your best option then we’ll be happy to provide one for you that’s completely free of charge. Firstly we’ll want to make sure that it’s definitely your best option. We pride ourselves on giving reliable advice and wouldn’t want to set people up on a payment plan that wasn’t right for their situation.
Is a free debt management plan as good as a paid one?
Yes. Free DMPs do just the same thing as fee-based DMPs but because you’re not having fees deducted from your payments you’ll see more money being paid to your creditors. This means you’ll be able to get out of debt quicker.
How can I get advice from StepChange Debt Charity?
We try to make it easy as possible to get debt advice from us. You can either phone our helpline (free, even from mobiles), or you can use our online Debt Remedy tool. Either way we’ll be able to recommend a solution for you and guide you through the process of getting it set up.
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