The Enquiry line is open between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. If you can’t make that sort of telephone call when you are at work, you could submit your query using the Insolvency Service form and you will get a reply by email.
You may be sceptical about calling a government “help line”, expecting your call to be answered by call centre staff who aren’t going to understand your situation. But the Insolvency Service enquiry line is answered by experts. And you don’t usually have to wait in a queue for ages.
Some comments I have heard include:
The menu was fast and easy to understand.
The person who I spoke with was very brief but very clear with the instructions.
What sort of enquiries does it deal with?
They will answer factual questions about bankruptcy, providing information but not advice. The questions have to be general, not analysing your particular situation.
The boundary between information and advice may be difficult for you to judge, but to give you a feel, here are some examples of questions they will answer:
- how do I get a copy of my discharge certificate?
- my DRO ended last year and I have received a back payment of a disability benefit – do I have to tell anyone?
- if I go bankrupt do you tell my employer?
- I have handed back the keys to a house but it hasn’t yet been sold, will the shortfall be wiped out if I go bankrupt now?
- is a tax credits overpayment included in a Debt Relief Order?
- I was discharged last year and may be made redundant – will any redundancy payment be taken to pay my IPA?
- I went bankrupt years ago and I want to contact the OR but the office seems to have closed down.
and some that they won’t:
- should I go bankrupt?
- would I have to make a monthly payment?
- I let my ex keep the house when we split up last year, what will happen if I go bankrupt?
- can you help me fill in the bankruptcy forms?
- when can I get a mortgage if I have a DRO this year?
Basically, if your query involves details about your own situation rather than a general rule that applies to everyone, then the Enquiry Line is not going to give you an opinion. Instead, you need to talk to a debt advisor: visit your local Citizens Advice or phone National Debtline.
So they only answer the “easy questions”, which a debt advisor could answer?
Yes, I’m not suggesting the Enquiry Line should be your first thought if you need debt advice on whether to go bankrupt. Everyone who is thinking about bankruptcy should take debt advice and for most people that will answer all their questions. The Guide to Bankruptcy on this site provides a lot of useful information with as little jargon as possible. B
But if you are still very worried or feel that you have seen conflicting information then it can be a relief to get things clarified by the Enquiry Line.
Queries about Debt Relief Orders and IVAs
Although the Enquiry Line answers questions about Debt Relief Orders, you have to go to a debt adviser to set up a DRO who will perform all the checks to see if you qualify, so talk any queries through with them first. You may also find my DRO applications FAQs article useful.
You can also use the line to make a complaint about an Insolvency Practitioner in an IVA, but most people will find it easier to use the online form to do this.