Is your Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) company messing you about? Our team here at Talk About Debt are always getting asked this question: What can I do if I am not happy with my IVA company?
This article explains what you can do if you are unhappy with your IVA company. In most cases, you might have to change the Insolvency Practitioner (IP) involved in your case, as changing an IVA company will not be easy to do.
What can I do, If I am not happy with my IVA company?
An IVA is a legally binding arrangement and the letters and calls that you are receiving should not be made to you, they should be approaching your IP directly. Either you or your IP could make a complaint about the contact you are receiving.
If you believe that the company is not dealing with your case in the correct fashion then the starting point is to make a complaint to the company and you can also seek guidance on making a complaint from the Insolvency Service here.
The Insolvency Service guidance does say that IPs are required to adhere to proper standards of insolvency practice and must comply with Statute, Statements of Insolvency Practice (SIPs) and the Professional Code of Ethics and that a high proportion of insolvency complaints is a breakdown in communications so you should generally try to resolve by the company’s own complaints process first.
Can I change my IVA to another company?
Technically, you’d be requesting a change of IP, who is contracted to work for the IVA company. It is very unusual (although not impossible) for this to happen. Generally, this would only happen if the IP died or lost their license. This is because the fees for an IVA can be steep and make up a large part of your monthly dividend payment. It is very difficult to change supervisors after an IVA is set up.
If you’re unhappy with your IVA or feel misled in any way, we would suggest you make a complaint direct to the IP in the first instance (chances are that you’ve been speaking to administrators up until now – these days, IPs of big firms tend not to deal directly with clients). If their response is not satisfactory, ask them what their licensing authority is and send a letter of complaint.
Please note, you can’t change your IP mid arrangement, without court involvement and quite a lot of expense. The first thing is to talk to your IP and sort out your problems with them or their staff. Further to this, you should also get an annual report showing how your IVA is functioning. You can certainly request that information. The fees should be clearly set out in your original proposal.
It just shows how important it is to get the right advice at an early stage. If you’re IVA isn’t working for you. You should request a variation to change your payments.
Can an IP change the terms of my IVA agreement any time they like?
The first thing to say is that your IP cannot unilaterally decide to change the terms of your proposal. Anything they are asking you to do must have been agreed either at your meeting of creditors when your IVA passed or at a subsequent variation.
On the length of the IVA, it may be that you have a modification stating that you must achieve a minimum dividend for your creditors or that you must make a further 12 months of payments if you are unable to remortgage your property. You need to read your proposal & speak to your IP about the reasons for the extension.
If you are being asked to pay more than you can afford, it is the job of the IP to calculate what you can afford to repay, i.e. what you have left over to offer to your creditors after you’re household essential living costs have been accounted for. If you feel that they are asking for more than you can realistically afford then it might be there’s been a misunderstanding. Please speak to them and find out where the difference is coming from.
Should I change from Payplan to start an IVA?
It is certainly good practice to regularly review your options and the solution you are using. Often your circumstances change or your view changes, and what was previously correct for you is no longer.
Are Gregory Pennington a reputable company?
Gregory Pennington are one of the bigger IVA companies in the UK. If you have enough equity in your home to remortgage and clear your debts, and you can afford the additional repayment, then an IVA sounds like a good one and the least disruptive. We can help you find a company that specialises in remortgaging if you want a second opinion as to whether they will lend to you and at what price. Contact us if you’re interested.
Are IVA watchdog a legit company?
IVA Watchdog, also known as the IVA Council, are not IVA providers. This is a company which searches the Insolvency Register and tries to persuade people in IVAs to use their services to go bankrupt for which they will charge a fee. If you want information on IVA’s and legitimate companies that provide them, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau who can also advise whether an IVA is right for you.
How would another company know if I have been mis-sold my IVA?
Even if you do get your money back from the IVA company you will lose it again in bankruptcy. If you don’t have a problem with your IVA stick with it. Don’t throw it all away now. If you do have a problem, talk to your IP, they are there to help. For more information, you should read the press release by the OFT warning consumers about misleading IVA mailings.
What would the fees be, if I chose to take an IVA with Debt Free Direct?
If you want to avoid paying fees for IVA related issues, then try one of the charities such as the Debt Advice Foundation where the advice is free.
Why would I use a fee-charging company instead of a free one?
It is best to compare services by ringing the different organisations and asking them what they provide. If a free service offers you the same benefits as a fee-charging service then save yourself some money and choose the free one. See our homepage for a list of ‘Leading Debt Advisors’ who can help you.