Call for OFT Debt Management Guidance Consultation Responses

The OFT debt management Guidance consultation ends on September 5th. ClearDebt will be publishing their responses here. View the Guidance here.

On the 14th June, the Office of Fair Trading published the Debt Management Guidance document and started a period of consultation with interested parties.

The consultation period ends September 5th.

This OFT consultation document represents the draft guidance for all licensees engaged in the licensable activities of debt counselling and debt adjusting (where the debts arise under consumer credit or hire agreements).This OFT consultation document represents the draft guidance for all licensees engaged in the licensable activities of debt counselling and debt adjusting (where the debts arise under consumer credit or hire agreements).  –Office of Fair Trading


This is an important moment for the debt industry and interested parties are invited to voice their concerns and express support for the Guidance before September 5th 2011.

ClearDebt will be publishing their response to the Guidance here on cleardebt.co.uk/blog in the coming weeks.

Download the OFT Guidance  direct from the OFT website (PDF) or view/download it from this page.

Full details of how to respond are detailed on the OFT website.

Tell others:

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Comments:10

  1. OK – SEO and PPC people: My industry (debt resolution) is under threat by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading that we might have to stop using Google Adwords (in fact, any PPC) as a marketing tool as well as being denied the ability to have conversations on Twitter and Facebook. This consultation finishes on September 6.

    I have a selfish interest in this – but so should many of you, this could be the thin end of the wedge for many financial services in the UK, especially credit – which is also currently under government review.You only need to look at one page (32) which says:

    “Before using internet based and social media (For example micro blogging and social networking services such as ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’) marketing, licensees should consider whether they can exercise adequate control over its content, whether it is an appropriate medium and whether the required information, warnings and caveats, can be included sufficiently prominently. The OFT considers that search engine sponsored links and online messaging forums which limit the number of characters are unlikely to be an appropriate means of providing consumers with sufficiently balanced and adequate information.”

    Any thoughts from those who know?

    1. You read that as not being allowed to Tweet / update?! Think it has far more to do with not having an avatar like http://twitter.com/#!/QuickQuid. Likewise , it is very much about the content that you share through social media. I am not aware of DRF or DEMSA members sharing specific advice through social media, so much as commentary about UK debt stats. That is the relationship we have maintained with DMCs who wish to post to our site – no explicit debt advice, simple commentary demonstrating industry knowledge. That’s a good thing, no?

      1. I don’t yet know how I read it. The bit i find worrying is this:

        “The OFT considers that search engine sponsored links and online messaging forums which limit the number of characters are unlikely to be an appropriate means of providing consumers with sufficiently balanced and adequate information.”

        I absolutely agree with your view above – but think the OFT want as few grey areas as possible, this time around,

        1. I think you’ve read this right, Andrew. In addition, it is not at all clear – between the OFT, ASA, & OFCOM – who has the last word and what standards are being applied across what media.As it reads at present, there is a real risk of anti-competitive regulation – allowing TV ads with minimal small print qualification whilst effectively making print advertising and some Web advertising impractical. Leaving it to the ASA would create proportionate consistency across all media and force companies to use their copy approval scheme –  not least, this would prevent companies like PayPlan from continuing to claim on their website that their IVAs are ‘free ‘ . 

          1. Please check out the ‘About Us ‘ section of PayPlan’s main website. It’s a categorical statement in bold reading ‘ We are proud to be the UK’s largest provider of free debt solutions, including free debt management plans and Individual Voluntary Arrangements or IVAs ‘.

          2. Hi Stuart, Gemma. yes, i see what Stuart means

            Looking at the index page ( http://www.payplan.com/ ) there is the statement

            “Free Debt Management Plans, IVAs & Free Debt Advice

            Like 100,000 people each year with debt problems, you could benefit from our 19 years’ experience providing free debt solutions.”

            I can see that Payplan don’t actually say the IVAs are free – but i’m pretty sure OFT wouldn’t let a fee-charging debt resolution company make that statement with that prominence.They’d probably actually find the page you refer to less dodgy (http://www.payplan.com/who-are-payplan.php) where it says:

            “Who are Payplan?
            Payplan offers a fresh approach to dealing with financial difficulties. We are proud to be the UK’s largest provider of free debt solutions, including free debt management plans and Individual Voluntary Arrangements or IVAs.”

            But, yes, if one did not know better one might assume the IVAs are free, especially as underneath it says:

            “A helping hand…We have expertise in offering a full range of debt solutions including free Debt Management plans (DMPs) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) which can be tailored to suit your personal circumstances.”

            I also think this would be non-compliant (as not all the solutions are free:”Our promise is straightforward – we provide free debt advice and free debt solutions for anyone experiencing financial difficulties, whatever the circumstance or situation.”

          3. It amazes me that payplan are able to use this terminology. The market has been heavily leaned on to include fair practice and non mis-leading quotes yet this is on a par with fee charging companies claim of ‘free advice’ yet they have been stopped from using this terminology. There seems to be a heavy weighting in the OFT guidance to ‘free’ sector, when in fact many fee charging companies offer a very good value service and do so compliantly, but are ‘fighting’ with the free sector with one arm behind their backs.

          4. I agree that companies need to be clearer with their advertising. But in defense of Payplan, now where on our website does it state that doing an IVA is free with us.

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