Debt Management for individuals and businesses: Financial Ombusdman Perspective

Senior financial ombudsman Juliana Francis knows that complaints about debt management services only make up a small proportion of all those received by the Financial Ombudsman Service but says that they can be among ‘the most upsetting’.

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Writing for Ombudsman focus, Juliana says that the impact of poor debt management services on individuals and businesses can be significant because of the nature of the situation they find themselves in. She points out that people only seek the help of debt management services if they are worried about their level of debt or do not have enough confidence to deal with their creditors alone. This can leave them struggling on a practical level and facing mental health issues. It is important to remember that when you are dealing with the finances of your business whether in a healthy or troublesome position your Accountants Cheltenham way can help with financial management as well as helping you to budget for any debt payments that you may have. Cheltenham accountants will be aware of the process that debts take as well as the ways in which you can best deal with these from a business perspective.

What Is the Solution?

Juliana says that there is a range of options that a person and business can consider if they need to deal with serious debt issues, including an IVA or a debt management plan, but she advises anyone to seek professional advice, rather than simply sharing concerns with family or friends.

Juliana and the Financial Ombudsman Service want to work with debt managers to improve the services being offered and to prevent things from going on. The ombudsman wants to see all debt managers ensuring that clients fully understand their options and what they should do if they are unhappy.

The senior ombudsman also adds that if debt management problems do arise it is a mistake to pay a claims management company to deal with the issue rather than contacting the Financial Ombudsman Services directly. The ombudsman’s website features a comprehensive ‘how to complain’ section, offering a step-by-step guide to dealing with problems.

A Hidden Issue?

Juliana also believes that low complaint numbers may not be truly indicative of the problems that exist. The relatively low number of complaints may be explained by the fact that some people feel embarrassed that they have had to seek debt management help in the first place or do not know their rights regarding complaints. Juliana adds that other people do not feel the need to complain until a long time after starting a debt management plan.