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  • Will a Government approved debt management protocol assist consumers in the search for compliant debt consolidation help and advice services?
  • Does a Government protocol that is not compulsory to sign up to, offer enough protection to a vulnerable consumer in need of personal debt advice and help?
  • Can an industry that has had such bad press for over a decade, self regulate itself to a point that it automatically identifies and excludes companies that employ bad or non-compliant business practices / models?

At Lewis Alexander Financial Management, we strongly believe that the one answer to the above questions is YES!

The recent launch of the Governments Debt Management Plan Protocol on February 7th 2013 has been widely accepted by compliant DMC’s or Debt Management Companies throughout the UK.

The new debt management protocol is basically a set of rules set out by Government for debt management companies to follow when offering and servicing, fee charged, consumer debt management plans in the UK.

A document named “Debt Management Guidance” has been in place for over a decade now. This guidance is created, updated and policed by the Office of Fair Trading. The guidance and debt management industry itself is not regulated but the OFT debt management guidance is a concise set of guidelines for any consumer credit license holder to follow if they wish to carry on the activity of debt adjusting and counselling on a commercial basis. The new debt management protocol set out by the Government will run alongside and add to the debt management guidance for the time being. There is also a sister document named “Debt Collection Guidance” that is also set out by the OFT for creditors and debt collection agents to follow for the opposite industry practices they carry out.

  • The new government debt management plan protocol is welcomed and embraced by the team here at Lewis Alexander Financial Management.

Debt Solution Finder

Some of the new debt management protocol compliance requirements have been strictly adhered to by Lewis Alexander and in place for some time prior to the protocol being released, such as the requirement to inform consumers about free to client debt services available, we have been doing this verbally for some 5-6 years!  Operators who wish to mislead and feed off vulnerable consumers may laugh at this but maybe this honesty is what makes our clients select and continue to utilise the debt consolidation services of Lewis Alexander Financial Management.

There are certain parts of the new protocol that will put a stop to the bad practices of some debt management companies or lead generators.  These companies will no longer be able to afford to advertise for clients that get churned within the first 3 months and never seem to obtain a back end debt management service.

The new debt management protocol requires 1st payments / set up fees for a debt management plan to be taken over no less than a 6 month period.  This will have a detrimental negative cash flow effect on any company attempting to operate a “churn model”! A long overdue and welcomed move by the Government!

It is expected that with the general roll out of the protocol and the uptake in companies adhering and signing up to it, that potentially non compliant debt management operators will have to find other ways of extorting vulnerable consumers suffering with personal debt problems.

  • Consumers will be able to identify a protocol compliant debt management company. This is likely to be as simple as a “protocol approved” logo on the respective debt management companies’ website.

One debt management consultant / company has been reported to say that “The failure of a consumer to establish if a fee charging debt management provider that they may be about to select is a member of one the two trade associations such as the DRF or DEMSA will mean that the provider is most likely to be a non compliant debt management provider / operator.

  • THIS STATEMENT IS NOT 100% CORRECT!

Homebase Pet InsuranceLewis Alexander is NOT a member of any of the above debt management trade associations. The main reason for this is due to membership fees being the same for companies who have massively varying turnovers and subsequent varying profitability! We have stated before that when the membership fees are in line or pro rata to a companies’ turnover, Lewis Alexander will acknowledge and join the mentioned association/s.

With the wide acceptance of the new protocol and the already well established debt management guidance, the only requirement for the industry now should surely be a policing structure placed within an authoritative body! This could potentially be funded by replacing association membership fees with an annual charge as a percentage of turnover that mirrors the great or small potential damage / risk that a respective company presents to the industry.

As previously reported, Lewis Alexander Financial Management is due to launch a revolutionary online debt consolidation software solution / platform, that will enable consumers to self manage debts, self diagnose and subsequently go on to clear personal debt problems. The new debt management protocol is an integral part of the new Lewis Alexander, online debt management software soon to be available.

(The following information is published by the Insolvency website from the UK Government as a guide to dealing with debt. It will be required as part of the protocol that each debt management consultant / provider will have to inform a potential client about the existence of the free to client debt services / charities).

  • Dealing With Debt5 Things You Should Know
  1. There are sources of free debt advice and services. You can find out more by contacting the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000 (8-8 Monday to Friday, 9-1 on Saturday).
  2. You should have been advised on all the options for dealing with your debt. Protocol compliant providers will explain all the options that are open to you (e.g bankruptcy, debt relief order, individual voluntary arrangement, trust deed in Scotland, debt management plan). The advantages and disadvantages of each will be discussed with you so that you can make an informed choice.
  3. You will know the estimated total cost to you of the arrangement and the time it will take for your debts to be paid. Protocol compliant providers always give you this information. If your provider does not, you must ask to find out. Any money you pay to your provider to cover their fees will not be used to repay your debts. Think carefully if more money is being used to pay your provider than your creditors.
  4. Your provider will go through a full and accurate budgeting process with you. This is vital to make sure that the payments you are asked to make are affordable for yourself and fair to your creditors.
  5. If you are not happy with the service you receive, you can complain. You should refer such complaints to the provider first to give them a chance to put things right.  They should tell you clearly how to do this. If they are a member of the DRF or DEMSA they will also tell you how to use their own conciliation and complaints scheme as a second step. You can be repaid any fees charged and may be awarded compensation by these schemes. If you are still not happy with the outcome, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service which is an independent service who will look into your complaint and can award you compensation if they decide in your favour.

Debt Solution Finder

If you require the help and assistance of a compliant, licensed debt consolidation service when dealing with debt, then please call our personal debt helpline today in absolute confidence, your call is usually free from a UK land line but mobile call costs may vary.

  • Call 0800 018 6868
  • Lines are open 24 hours / 7 days
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Client Debt Levels for Existing Debt Management Plans

On June 22, 2012, in News, by Lewis Alexander

The amount of debt currently being managed under the wings of Lewis Alexander Financial Management escalates into many millions of UK GBP.

The average client being managed by Lewis Alexander Financial Management owes approximately £21000, whilst the amount of disposable income averages approximately £221 per client, this disposable income is offered as repayment to unsecured creditors after deducting normal and expected monthly household and living expenditure.

The repayment plans for many would identify that an IVA would be the best advice for the client but due to property ownership and other financial investments, most clients choose to stay on an informal debt management plan whilst leaving the option of the IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) open for a later date, there is nothing wrong with the client making this decision as long as the correct advice has been offered to allow them to make an informed decision.

This could be changed in the future which in some cases could be beneficial as we don’t always want to do what is best for us in life even though we have the correct advice or information to hand.

If you are struggling with personal debt issues and would benefit from the advice or help available from a debt consolidation service then please call our debt helpline which is available by dialing;

  • 0800 018 6868
  • Calls are usually free from a land line but mobile call costs may vary.
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  • The last 2 weeks have been most ironic for news regarding PPI Claims in the UK.

First off, the BBC called upon a fee charging debt management and insolvency company director to offer advice on the breakfast show about how to claim back your PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) for free.

The personal debt management and insolvency company director was not heard rushing to recommend the free to client debt charities that can help with self debt management plans such as the CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service) or the National Debtline etc.

The BBC are regularly reporting on the problems within the personal debt management sector.

The fee charging side of the debt management industry who mostly are and do remain compliant get a tough ride from the news and it is rare to see an independent compliant industry member given the opportunity to publicly share views regarding compliant fee charging operations.

Why did the BBC simply not decide to have an IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) who has no commercial fee charging connection or gain from the personal debt / insolvency industry offer advice on how to claim back PPI for free?

What the BBC seem to have done is recruit a number of local professionals “up north” who make guest bookings easy for the news channel and gives them industry content for the business news, better research would ensure the correct message reached the correct people with what we believe should be a balanced message.

A comparable analogy for what the BBC did with the PPI industry last week as referred to above could be viewed as asking an active Political Dictator to advise another currently democratic electorate on policies that should be undertaken and implemented for the benefit of that currently democratic state.

The BBC did not come over as balanced in reporting about the good PPI companies if mentioned at all, no defamation is meant as this is written by a fully paid BBC TV License (2012) holder!

Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert has teamed up with the consumer action / review group Which to offer free advice on how to claim back PPI for free, or doing it yourself.

We have been led to believe without confirmation that money saving expert run by Martin Lewis operates by receiving a commission for a link or click through for savings and offers as referral payments for sales generated by the money saving expert site.

  • Does the link up with Which not get Martin Lewis extra revenue at the end of each day?
  • Is this now a bandwagon that all are jumping on for whatever gain is possible?
  • Who can be trusted as 100% transparent?
  • Why is he not mentioning this on Watchdog when commenting on other financial organisations?
  • It would be leading by example if Martin put his “how the site is funded” info at the top of his site with transparency and equality regarding prominent compliance.

As with anything in life, you can either pay for a service or decide to do it yourself.

Let’s consider some choices in daily life that we face on the above decision making basis;

  • Car Servicing – Do it yourself or get it done by a mechanic?
  • Breakdown Cover – Use the RAC / AA or call a mate to collect you?
  • Health Care – BUPA v National Health Service (NHS)
  • Dentist – Dental insurance plan, visit a dentist or pull your own teeth out?
  • Washing – Do it yourself or visit a Cleaner or Dry Cleaner Service?
  • Job recruitment – Find a job yourself or use a recruitment agency?

We can go on listing many silly and relevant arguments for the above question of doing something yourself or paying for a service.

Usually when you employ the services or enlist a professional to undertake work for you, it is with peace of mind that the service will be a bona fide one.

Affordability, time and personal choice along with ability are the four main factors that dictate the mental decision process of enlisting paid for help or going along the DIY route in life!

When consumer groups talk about people not being aware about PPI companies charging fees we can quite understand this, however, there are bona fide PPi companies out there. Also out there are the bad ones that are exploiting the industry.

  • As with anything, the consumer must beware.

Then we have to consider the vulnerable consumer, who unfortunately due to a number of reasons actually can make what we call a “rod for their own back”

Most vulnerable consumers will wish to hear that what they actually want or think is right for them, is actually available to them!

  • This is where the problem starts.
  • A compliant and bona fide company will try to explain with conviction that the service or product (when considering the financial services industry) the vulnerable consumer is applying for is not actually the best solution for them.
  • A non-compliant company would try and sell the consumer something as close as possible to what they enquired for originally whilst still matching the vulnerable consumer to a service or product they purport to be able to deliver or supply.

The news reported that banks may win some consumer bonus points as they are writing directly to the consumer to offer PPI claim repayments where they internally evidence the client may be due a refund.

Why then, did the banks previously spend millions of £’s legally trying to win a Judicial Review to stop the requirement for Payment Protection Insurance refunds where applicable?

We appreciate the commerciality of the decision made by Banks but when taking into account the recent and current global economic problems, will it ever become policy or law for big business to incorporate a moral obligation into their business models?

Introducer and offer / savings styled websites such as Money Saving Expert, tell you to go direct to the people that miss-sold the PPI to you originally then legally tried to avoid having to repay it to you and are now offering you to deal directly to claim it back!

Are the bona fide PPI companies and debt management providers merely being reduced to the “Meat in the Sandwich” of the authoritative and media driven “big feast”?

Let’s accept the truth, if the banks did not make the error of miss-selling PPI originally and the credit companies did not overload people with unaffordable loans and credit facilities, the debt management companies and PPI companies would have nothing to do!

  • Chicken or egg scenario?

If you are suffering from any personal debt problems and feel that you would benefit from the assistance of a fee charging professional bona fide and time served established debt consolidation company then contact our;

Lewis Alexander debt helpline today in absolute confidence using 0800 018 6868.

  • Lines are open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.
  • Your call is usually free from a UK land line.
  • Mobile call costs to our debt helpline may vary.
  • Please check before calling with your service provider.
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Financial Management Help and Advice Company in the UK

On April 2, 2012, in News, by Lewis Alexander

Lewis Alexander is a Financial Management Company operating nationally in the UK.

  • We help people who are struggling financially on a daily basis to consolidate personal debts.

free credit report UK from ExperianWe do this by tailoring personal financial management solutions such as Debt Management Plans (DMPs) or Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) to the individual client. These personal debt solutions are particularly useful if a consumer has recently been refused a loan or credit for the purpose of debt consolidation.

Not all financial management companies can or will manage your personal unsecured debts for you.

  • Some just refer you onto other services.

At Lewis Alexander Financial Management, we do manage debt after offering advice and our clients tend to find that once the financial problems they have are managed, financial life can become clearer and they can then try and concentrate on how to clear the debts in a shorter period of time rather than dwelling on the fact that they cannot afford the repayments that they are currently being chased for by credit card or loan companies, including banks and other types of credit suppliers.

A professional financial management company will attempt to get the interest and charges frozen whilst trying to reduce creditor contact for a client on a debt management plan (this cannot be guaranteed with debt management) however, with an IVA or Individual Voluntary Arrangement the interest and charges are guaranteed to be frozen and creditors should also be expected not to contact you directly.

A personal financial management plan is a debt management plan. They are also sometimes called structured repayments plans but most personal financial management companies will call them debt management plans if being set up for an individual consumer. You can read the following information about advantages and disadvantages of a debt management plan.

  • If you think you would benefit from speaking with a trained personal finance consultant who can then offer assistance, please call us free from a land line using 0800 018 6868.

Lewis Alexander Financial Management is an experienced personal debt consolidation service with many happy and satisfied clients who have already used our financial services to clear personal debts in the past.

If you are struggling financially and think you would benefit from a tailored financial consolidation solution that could offer you one monthly repayment without having to take on any further credit, then contact is today.

  • Our lines are open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and your call is usually free from a UK land line.
  • Call 0800 018 6868 now, all calls remain confidential!
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