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Organisations offering Free IVA Advice

Free IVA advice for Individual Voluntary Arrangements is available across the UK to consumers and self employed individuals with overwhelming debt problems and do not wish to apply for a personal bankruptcy.

The number of organisations offering free IVA advice has grown significantly over the last few years. In fact a recent comment in The Times suggested that there were now more than 500 different companies offering advice to consumers with significant debt problems. Until recently there were very few IVA Advice companies in the UK. Most private debt advice companies, as well as Citizens Advice and CCCS, concentrated on offering Debt Management Plans - an informal arrangement to repay creditors without guaranteeing to stop interest and charges. However the huge growth in consumer lending by UK financial institutions, coupled with the relaxation of the legislation on bankruptcy, has led to an explosion in the number of companies offering IVA advice.

Much of the IVA advice advertising in national press and TV states that free advice is offered. Distinctions need to be drawn between what free advice you actually get when you make contact with any of these debt advice companies. Firstly, all of the "advice" is actually free. You ring up any debt advice company; tell them your debt circumstances and they will hopefully provide you with a reasonably accurate debt solution. This information actually costs you nothing other than your time. The potential costs arise depending upon what action you wish to take to resolve your debt problems.

In the case of free IVA advice, there are a significant number of "IVA introducers" in the debt advice sector. These companies are not able to complete an IVA – the actual legal side of an IVA can only be drawn up by a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner, so they gather the debtors information up into a package and then send this forward to an Insolvency Practitioner for review. Such IVA introducers are rewarded with a "finders fee" from the Insolvency Practitioner (a similar scenario to a Personal Injury Law firm paying an Accident Claims introducer a fee). Moreover the IVA advice introducer usually also seeks an upfront fee from the debtor for the advice. The level of the fee can range from £500 to £1500 payable over a period of time to the IVA introducer. Once the fee is paid the debtor is then "introduced" to the Insolvency Practitioner to actually put forward the IVA proposal and completion process.

The conclusions to be drawn for those seeking free IVA advice to resolve their debt problems are basically as follows :-

  • Always talk to an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) firm rather than an IVA introducer. IP firms can deal with your case directly without the need to involve middlemen.
  • Confirm that no upfront IVA fees are payable at any time. Even IP firms will want some form of payment from you upfront. There is no need to pay any monies, even to an IP, before your IVA is formally approved. There are none fee charging IP firms available.
  • Ensure you never pay any money to the IVA Company before your IVA has actually been agreed by creditors. Some companies will ask you to sign a Standing Order "for when your IVA is approved". You do not need to do this as some professional IP Firms will not charge you at all until the IVA is approved.
  • Maintain as much of your existing debt repayments as possible while the IVA is being processed. Rather than pay fees to middlemen you should be trying to make payments to those creditors you can afford to pay.

If you want further advice on any aspect of IVA's then please continue to use the resources contained within this site. If you have specific questions relating to IVA advice then either complete our enquiry form or contact us on freephone 0800 043 5 043.

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The IVA Advice site is owned by Guardian Insolvency Ltd. Guardian Insolvency Ltd is registered in England and Wales No. 07906134 whose registered address is Coppull Business Centre, Mill Lane, Coppull, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 5BW. Data Protection Number: ZA093360