Cleardebt And Abacus Offer Free Debt Management Plans To Clients Of Failed Debt Management Firms First Step Finance and Debt Advice & Help
A North West debt management business, which last year had its credit licence stripped only to be rescued in a management buyout saving 100 jobs, has ceased trading leaving more than 3,000 customers potentially in the lurch with their creditors.
The regulator for the debt management sector, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has issued a statement telling customers of Debt Help & Advice Ltd and First Step Finance to cease making payments immediately.
Debt Help & Advice and First Step Finance clients are welcome to come to ClearDebt for any advice. Should they decide to continue on a debt management plan (DMP) they will be able to do this with our sister company, Abacus (Financial Consultants) Limited, free of charge.
Options with ClearDebt for former customers of First Step Finance and Debt Advice & Help
ClearDebt will inform First Step Finance and Debt Advice & Help clients of all options which will be appropriate for them.
If a debt management plan is the most appropriate solution, ClearDebt will waive all the fees normally charged on such arrangements to ensure debts are cleared in the shortest possible time.
This plan will be entirely free of charge (plans will also be free to creditors as well, unlike other providers like StepChange Debt Charity).
Stockport-based First Step Finance Ltd was stripped of its credit licence by the Office of Fair Trading in October 2013, but its assets were bought by Debt Help & Advice Ltd.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has now confirmed that First Step Finance Ltd and Debt Help & Advice Ltd, along with associated business Primary Business Solutions Ltd, have ceased trading.
The regulator has urged customers to stop making payments to the companies immediately.
3,500 First Step Finance customers affected
It is estimated that between 3,000 and 3,500 customers have plans with Debt Help & Advice Ltd and its associated firms.
The FCA said it was “working hard to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected” and would give further updates, via its website, Twitter or further press statements, as and when they become available.
Free Debt Management Plans With Abacus – We’ve Done It Before
2011 saw the collapse of Apex DCM and with it, the emotional turmoil of thousands of people across the UK. In June 2013, Debt Help Direct hit the headlines as they were shut down and their director John Taylor-Groom was arrested.
On both occasions, ClearDebt a member of trade association, the Debt Resolution Forum, offered all former clients of Apex DCM and Debt Help Direct the opportunity to call our teams for free advice and free debt management plans.
Due to the emotional and distressing situation for those affected, we offered new debt management plans with no charge to either the customer or their creditors. Where an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) was the most appropriate solution and the customer wanted to go down this route, standard IVA protocol compliant fees were applied.
In the case of the collapse of Apex DCM, ClearDebt offered advice to over 1,000 of their former clients. 47% of the people we spoken to were offered a debt solution with ClearDebt or Abacus.
62% of those entered a free DMP or protocol compliant IVA with us, paying their debt off and working towards a debt free future.
ClearDebt are a full member of the Debt Resolution Forum, a trade association that monitors, supports and trains Debt Management Firms.