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I do not know if any of you reading this have found themselves in an unfortunate situation with debt and have approached (or even considering to) a debt management company.
I am remaining anonymous for this gripe as I found myself in this very distressing, delicate situation myself only last year. I was enjoying annual leave for a few weeks then I had a telephone call, completely out of the blue, from an organisation - I will not mention their name; there was a very friendly advisor on the line who asked me to discuss ALL my financial details, income, outgoings, you name it!
I was on the phone for nearly 2 hours, heavily embroiled in all matters financial, and after offering such intensive, personal information, he had written everything down and spoke very frankly with me and informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was in debt of over £3,500!
I was very shocked to say the least - it was then he explained that they will help by negotiating with my various creditors, and pay a monthly manageable sum. I would then pay them a (what I consider very exorbitant) monthly fee of £290. I signed up, with the assurance that, as soon as my plan was up and running, that I would have no hassle from creditors anymore, be it, telephone, email and more worryingly, being visited at home!!
The first monthly payment became due a month later, which I was more than happy to pay, with the peace of mind that I would have. It all seemed fairly stress-free initially, but I then became aware of telephone calls, on my mobile, land line and rather threatening letters about possible court action or bailiffs. This started happening regularly and this was affecting my performance at work as these "missed calls" were constantly showing up on my phone. This caused me such stress, that I had to take days off work and it has affected me physically and I now have ongoing problems. They do say that stress affects people in different ways.
a few pounds went to creditors whilst the rest was retained for "admin processing fees"
To cut a long story short, I was approached by another debt management company (I will stick with the one I'm referring to; I'll be as brief as possible with this "new" one). The very helpful advisor I spoke to told me, in so many words, that the company I was registered with was NOT listed on the Reputable Traders website, and that out of the £290 monthly fee that I was paying, only a few pounds went to creditors whilst the rest was retained for "admin processing fees" etc.
I was absolutely livid!! And as for this "personal adviser" I was registered with - he would ask me to forward on any further communications and pass on the details of any phone calls that I would receive - I did all this, BUT, more often than not, I could never get through to my adviser, so I'd be permanently moved "from pillar to post" and having to explain EVERYTHING over and over EACH TIME!
To anyone considering paying an exorbitant fee for a debt management company - DON'T!
I have since come away from these organisations and am paying my debts off, satisfactorily, happily and independently - it's saved me a great deal of stress (and probably money too)!!
To anyone considering paying an exorbitant fee for a debt management company - DON'T! They lead you into a false sense of security. I feel that all they wanted was my money with little self-assurance. Apologies for the tone of this gripe but I feel very let down with it all!