Finance/Debt Advice: Useful Contact Details

#1
DEBT ADVICE

For online CAB advice via the Internet, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

National Debtline
Free telephone-based information and advice for people in England and Wales.

National Debtline:
Telephone: 0800 080 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Consumer Credit Counselling Service
A charity funded by financial services industry specialising in free debt management plans for people in England and Wales.

Telephone: 0800 1381111 or visit www.cccs.co.uk

Payplan
Recommended by some trade unions and employers. Free, confidential and impartial.

Telephone: 0800 917 7823 or visit www.payplan.com

The Money Advice Association
Gives details of your nearest advisor for people in England and Wales.

Telephone: 0113 2708444 or visit www.m-a-a.org.uk

Advices UK
The new name for the federation of Independent Advice Centre. It is a large network of advice-providing organisations.

Telephone: 020 7407 4070 or visit www.adviceuk.org.uk

Unison Member
Free debt line 0800 389 3302, Monday to Friday 8 am - 9 pm, Saturday 9 am -1 pm

Business Debts
Debt counselling service for the self-employed and small businesses, free confidential and independent.

Telephone: 0800 197 6026 or visit www.birminghamsettlement.orq.uk

Community Legal Services Direct
To speak to a qualified advisor about debt and benefits.

Telephone: 0845 345 4345 or www.clsdirect.org.uk to find a solicitor specialising in debt local to you.

Solicitor's Specialising in Debt
Ask at your local CAB about solcitors in your area, offering a “free half hour” or initial interview free of charge.
 
#2
A useful list.

A few points:

- if contacting CAB on debt issues, ask to speak to one of their trained financial advice staff rather than general advisors.

- note that CCCS, PayPlan and CAB will focus on paying back whatever amount is claimed by a creditor. They will not be interested in whether or not any amount claimed is correct. Before going to them, check that any debt claimed is actually owed - see any of the various consumer websites such as Consumer Action Group or Money Saving Expert for details.

- avoid any debt management company that charges fees.

- be very wary of companies offering Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) - the ones advertised on TV that claim to exploit 'little-known government legislation'. IVAs are suitable for very few people, so seek independent advice before signing up.

- if using CCCS, PayPlan or CAB to negotiate a debt management plan (DMP), be aware that such agreements are informal, and can be ended at any time by any creditor. In a DMP, most creditors will agree to freeze interest and charges, but plans can last a very long time. Some creditors won't agree, and CCCS, PayPlan and CAB can't force them to.

- be aware that CCCS, PayPlan and CAB are often very busy - just getting through can be an exercise in perserverance.

- a DMP will feck your credit rating (if it isn't already)

- when dealing with creditors or debt collection agencies, never speak to them on the phone - keep everything in writing.

- checking your credit file is useful, but note that the credit reference agencies will share your data with creditors/debt collectors/tracing agents.

- BAFF members can get free telephone advice on legal matters, including debt.

- the AFF have an excellent DVD about debt, available through UWOs and HIVE etc.

- the military policy on debt is that it is a private matter - see JSP400 for more.
 

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