My background is Construction, and as been for the past 23 years. In this time I have encountered some of the most hard-nosed crooks you could ever wish to meet.
Know inquiring about an IVA, I see the Insolvency industry also as its fair share of crooks as well.
I spoke to one company, whose name I shall withhold, who said I need to pay £670 per month for the next 3 months, and then this will qualify for me speaking with an IP. Another company stipulated that 80% of my debt will most definitely be written off!!
It seems that thankfully it is the minority of companies who will try and shaft you when your down.
Where is the regulatory bodies covering the IVA practice?
I would love to hear an experts view on this matter.
As an industry we are very heavily regulated and some of the practices you describe are not permitted but there are firms out there not covered by the same regulatory bodies and that would be an issue for the OFT. For example the 'bankruptcy advisory' firms are consistently giving out bad and dangerous advice and the Insolvency Service have issued warnings against them. However, there is nothing that our regulators can do to them as they are not covered. If we gave out similar advice we would be fined and closed down.
Hopefully the longed for regulation in this industry, expected this year, will seek to sort a lot of these issues out.
If Sinking Fast's experiences are from within the insolvency profession - ie IP firms - then I am simply disappointed, but this shows the advantage of speaking to more than one firm when taking advice. Firms engaging in the practices mentioned above, are unlikely to have a long shelflife.
Do also take time to speak to 2 or 3 reputable firms, who will be happy to give you no nonsense, no obligation advice. When you are happy then you can proceed from there.
The greatest problems seem to me to come from certain lead generation firms who will often say and/or do whatever it takes to create a case and make some money.
Of course they end up with little responsibility for what they have said or done because the case gets handled by an external firm (IVA or DMP).
Not to say that the debt management industry wouldn't benefit from further regulation and/or control. A lot of responsible DMP providers welcome the prospect of regulation or self-regulation to improve the services that those who select debt management as an option receive.
So in a nut shell you have to phone around and also look out for endorsements as well and select an IP you are comfortable with (as we are), it's a long term commitment you will enter into.
As MG points out; these cowboys do tarnish the reputation of the respectable experts who post on this site. The sooner regulations are tightened, and the squeeze is put on these irresponsible companies then the better.
My concern is people who are looking at going down the IVA route, and are unaware of this forum, could be easily duped into thinking that an IVA is a panacea to all their debt problems on the basis of what they are advised from these cowboys.
Thank god for the IVA forum.
Sadly there are cowboys in every industry.
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