Recently Debt & Claims Ltd (also trading as Grassroots Financial or GRF) were ordered to cease trading by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They were also told to refund any client money they were holding and hand over a list of their clients to the FCA.
We don’t know yet if the FCA will let Grass Roots begin trading again. But we do know that their website has disappeared and their clients are now being contacted by other fee-charging companies, including one called Angel Advance.
When you’re told your debt management company is no longer trading – with no website, no correspondence, not even a number to call for answers – what do you do next?
Who’s the FCA?
Earlier this year Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over from the Office of Fair Trading. They ensure that consumer credit companies and advice agencies act fairly and ethically.
Following the collapse of Debt & Claims Ltd, the FCA recommends that people contact StepChange Debt Charity or Citizens Advice for free and independent debt advice.
The debt management company has my money! Can I get it back?
If the debt management company you’re currently with has ceased trading, the FCA should be able to put you in touch with the administrators overseeing the process.
Please contact the FCA consumer helpline on 0800 111 6768 (freephone) or 0300 500 8082 (charged at a local rate for mobile phone users), and press ‘2’.
Can I move my DMP to StepChange Debt Charity?
If you contact us we’ll look at your budget to determine the best option for your debts. We pride ourselves on giving reliable, non-biased advice and would never recommend a solution that wasn’t right for your situation.
If a DMP is most suitable for you, then we’ll be happy to provide one that’s completely free of charge. If another solution suits you better, then our specialist debt advisors can guide you through this and help you with your journey.
Please be aware that other fee-chargers make calls to former customers of closed debt management companies. Should you receive a call from a company offering to take over your plan we strongly advise that you seek free debt advice before you agree to anything they’re offering.
Is a free DMP is better than a fee-charging DMP?
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.
Please note that as with all DMPs, your creditors still have the right to contact you and charge interest and fees on your debt. Rest assured that we will offer support and advice every step of the way.