Posted March 1, 2023
The Money Advice Trust has responded to findings in a new report from Citizens Advice, which identifies serious problems with Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs), a form of debt solution, as “deeply troubling” and paints a worrying picture for people struggling with problem debt.
The findings reveal people in financial difficulty are being misled by firms offering IVAs into a debt solution often unsuitable for their circumstances leaving them in a worse position than before and unable to keep up with repayments.
The charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, and alongside Citizens Advice and partners in the debt advice sector has continued to highlight the issue of misleading debt advice adverts, is supporting Citizens Advice’s call for stronger regulation of the IVA market.
Figures released yesterday by the Insolvency Service show that the IVA market has boomed in recent years, with the number of active agreements increasing from less than 10,000 before 2003 to almost 88,000 by 2022.
Jane Tully, director of external affairs and partnerships at the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said:
“Citizens Advice’s findings paint a deeply troubling picture of the IVA market and the harmful impact incorrect advice and misleading ads are having on people in debt – something regularly seen by our advisers at National Debtline.
“With the impact of rising costs pushing more households into financial difficulty, making sure people can access the free, independent debt advice they need is more important than ever.
“Urgent action is needed from Government and regulators to tackle these harmful practices, and we support Citizens Advice in their call to bring the pre-advice IVA firms deliver under FCA regulation.
“Anyone worried about their finances to seek free debt advice from a service like National Debtline as soon as possible.”
National Debtline provides free, independent debt advice at www.nationaldebtline.org
The Money Advice Trust has produced a short guide on how to report misleading ads to search engines and social media and includes details of how to complain to the ASA and other regulators.