Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Accessibility Statement

Frequently asked questions

From 1 January 2015, some commercial debt management firms will no longer be allowed to pay debt management plans on behalf of their customers.

This means that if you are one of their customers your debt management plan will no longer be paid on your behalf. You should act now to make sure you stay on top on your debts.

We can help you to get free advice and support available to help you sort things out.

  • Why has this happened? See answer
  • Which firms are no longer offering Debt Management Plans? See answer
  • What do I need to do first? See answer
  • Should I cancel my direct debits? See answer
  • How can I get free debt advice? See answer
  • Do I still owe money? See answer
  • What about the money I have already paid? See answer
  • How quickly do I need to act? See answer
  • Will the people I owe money to start contacting me? See answer
  • Are fee-charging debt management firms bad? See answer
  • Can I trust the advice the free debt advisers you recommend will give me? See answer
  • Who do I get in touch with if I want to complain about a debt management firm? See answer

Why has this happened?

The Government has changed how debt management firms are regulated. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was set up by the Government to make sure that all firms are meeting the required standards. The FCA is now checking all firms to make sure they follow our rules and treat their customers fairly. They are doing this by asking them to apply for authorisation.

Some firms have chosen not to apply. That means they are no longer allowed to offer debt advice or debt management plans.

back to top

Which firms are no longer offering Debt Management Plans?

The FCA is checking all firms to make sure they follow its rules and treat their customers fairly. They are doing this by asking them to apply for authorisation. There are some firms that have either chosen not to apply or have not been given it. Click here to see a list of firms that are no longer offering Debt Management Plans.

back to top

What do I need to do first?

Contact a free debt advice provider about your situation as soon as you can. They can help you look at all your options and check that staying in a debt management plan is still the right thing for you. If it is, they’ll help you set one up for free.

back to top

Should I cancel my direct debits?

If your debt management firm has closed and you have a direct debit set up with them you should cancel it as soon as possible. A free debt adviser will be able to tell you the best way you can continue your debt repayments.

back to top

How can I get free debt advice?

You can receive debt advice online, by email, over the phone or face to face. So you can contact someone in the way that you prefer at a time that is convenient for you.

back to top

Do I still owe money?

When a debt management firm closes down, it doesn’t change the amount of debt you still have outstanding at that time. It is important to seek free debt advice to find out what steps you should now take to address the debts you still owe.

back to top

What about the money I have already paid?

Money you have already paid should have gone to reduce your debts but the people you owe money to may have continued to add interest and charges. This means the overall amount you owe may not have reduced significantly. It is important to get free, impartial advice quickly to understand exactly how much you owe so you can find the debt solution that is best for you.

back to top

How quickly do I need to act?

The people you owe money to should be sympathetic if you act quickly. If you don’t, things could get worse and you may end up deeper in debt. A free debt advice provider will be able to help you identify your best course of action.

back to top

Will the people I owe money to start contacting me?

The people you owe money to are likely to get in touch with you. Their priority should be to ensure that you find an alternative advice provider. They should provide a period of forbearance. This means they should not take further action for a limited time. This should give you time to get debt advice and take action.

If you do not take action your creditors will get in touch and expect you to begin making payments directly to them.

back to top

Are fee-charging debt management firms bad?

Charging a fee to provide debt management has been a commonplace business practice for many years. While some firms are choosing to leave the market at this time it does not mean that you should avoid all firms who operate in this way.

It is possible though to set up a debt management plan for free. All the free debt advice providers we recommend are confidential, impartial and give high-quality advice.

back to top

Can I trust the advice the free debt advisers you recommend will give me?

Debt advisers give expert advice to hundreds of thousands of people every year and will understand the situation you are in. They are highly trained and will be able to give you the support you need to manage and reduce your debts.

The benefits of seeking advice are that

  • You continue to repay what you owe
  • An adviser will continue to liaise with the people you owe money to
  • You will receive on-going support if you need it.
back to top

Who do I get in touch with if I want to complain about a debt management firm?

Click here to get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman Service who may be able to help with your complaint.

Or call their consumer helpline

0800 023 4 567 from a landline
0300 123 9 123 from a mobile

Lines are open Monday to Friday – 8am to 8pm, Saturday – 9am to 1pm

back to top

Get free debt help now