Debt news dominated by pre-budget fears – July 5

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The news this week was largely dominated by pre-budget speculation, hopes and fears. But there were other interesting articles you may have missed - if you only have time to read one of the links below, I suggest you choose "The Ballad of Steak Pants Man". First the news that wasn't... A couple of weeks ago the June DRO Unit newsletter said Intermediaries should stop including Child Benefit as … [Read more...]

Using bankruptcy to collect council tax arrears


More councils are using bankruptcy and charging orders as a method for collecting council tax arrears according to research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens. In 2013/14, 32% of councils used bankruptcy for some council tax debts - a sharp increase from 20% in 2009/10. It is estimated that councils petitioned to make 1,100 people bankrupt in 2013/14 because of council tax debts. But is … [Read more...]

PPI claims after your IVA has finished

PPI claims after an IVA has completed

In February 2015, the High Court in Manchester heard an appeal relating to PPI refunds after an IVA has satisfactorily completed: the original decision was that the PPI compensation should go to the debtor not the IVA's creditors; the IVA supervisor appealed this decision - this appeal was rejected - here is the full Green v Wright appeal judgment; there is a summary here: Setting a … [Read more...]

Debt news – regulator slams DMP firms and more – June 28

debt news 28 Jun

No doubt about the top debt story this week - the FCA's thematic review of DMP firms makes uncomfortable reading for the whole industry, with unacceptable levels of poor debt advice and misleading advertising from the fee-charging sector. The free DMP sector was generally of a higher standard but there was still room for material improvement. Debt TR15/8: Quality of debt management … [Read more...]

How good is your DMP? Five things to check

5 checks to see if your DMP is a good one

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday published a paper:  Quality of debt management advice. This review looked in detail at large numbers of cases from eight firms that provide Debt Management Plans (DMPs).  It concluded: "our findings were very disappointing and have reaffirmed our view that poor debt management firms pose a high risk to consumers (particularly those in vulnerable … [Read more...]

“I’m bored, Mum” – cheap things to do in the holidays

Free & cheap things to do with the kids in 2015

Thinking ahead to this summer and how to keep the kids happily occupied at the lowest possible cost? I've updated last year's article with a pile of new activities for 2015 - and they are almost all free, except where I quote prices. Get out of the house as often as possible Picnics! In the back garden or the local park. Sit around in the sun and show them how to make daisy-chains. (If the … [Read more...]

Debt news: from bankruptcy to more payday refunds – June 21

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No fewer than three news stories about bankruptcy this week and Sunny starting to write-off unaffordable payday loans - which lender will be next? Also a range of stories on benefits and housing and a shout-out for MoneySavingExpert's 12 free Money Saving Tools. (If you missed the previous week's news, so did I - away on holiday with little internet access!) Debt Pregnant and can't afford … [Read more...]

Creditfix’s proposed IVA variation (updated)


In October 2014, some people who had IVAs with PJG Recovery had their cases transferred to Creditfix. PJG are a medium-sized IVA firm, handling a few hundred new cases a year. Creditfix are one of the larger firms, registering move than 2,500 IVAs in the last year. The people who have been transferred were told that nothing else would change in their IVA. Two months on in December 2014 however, … [Read more...]

More payday refunds – should you get one?

More payday loan refunds - can you get one?

Last week another payday lender, Sunny, sent a letter to some borrowers saying it was going to refund them. In January 2015 I suggested that many more payday borrowers could get compensation because the loans they were given were "unaffordable", so I wasn't surprised at Sunny's decision. If you borrowed from Sunny but haven't had a refund offer, or if you had a payday loan from a different lender, … [Read more...]

Help with mortgage interest is cut

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Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) provides help to some people getting means-tested benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance and Pension Credit. From July 2015, this help is being reduced because mortgage rates have been falling. This isn't a new cut thought up by the new government as the rules haven't changed - but it is going to feel a lot like that to the thousands of people, many of them … [Read more...]

Pregnant and can’t afford your IVA?


A reader asked for help as she is pregnant and can no longer afford the monthly IVA payments. An IVA is a contract between you and your creditors - you make monthly payments and at the end of five or sometimes six years, your remaining debts are wiped out. There is some flexibility built in, but not a lot... if a major life event such as redundancy, sickness, separation or, as in this case, a new … [Read more...]

Is it possible to cancel a DRO?


A reader asked me recently:  "I applied for a Debt Relief Order last year and my debt was discharged a few months ago. Now I am working and I have a good income. Can I speak with my creditors and pay off my debts? Can I cancel my DRO ?"  There is a procedure to cancel a bankruptcy even after you are discharged - it is called "annulment". It is usually extremely expensive as you have to repay … [Read more...]

How will my DMP affect my partner?

How will a DMP affect my partner?

Debt problems come in all shapes and sizes. So do personal relationships. And debt management plans are very flexible arrangements. The combination of all these variables means there isn't a simple answer to the question about how your DMP will affect your partner, but here I look at the most commonly points that people worry. Will my partner's income be taken into account? In a DMP, you show … [Read more...]

Debt news – from biggest ever overdraft to repossessions – June 7

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Are you more amazed at the idea of a £100 fine for 6 minutes parking or £400,000 in overdraft charges? Of course the housing and benefits news this week is more important, but sometimes it's the individual debt cases that stick in your memory. Debt Couple suing over £400,000 overdraft charge   Wow... How equity release in an IVA works - new Debt Camel article tries to answer the most common … [Read more...]

Four “bad credit” card traps & how to avoid them

Look out for the problems with "bad credit" cards

There are several "bad credit" cards in Britain, including Vanquis, Aqua and Luma.  They are aimed at people who can't get a standard credit card or loan because of their poor credit score. The cards are promoted as: giving you access to credit you need but can't get; and enabling you to improve your credit score by making your card repayments on time. There are situations where these … [Read more...]