The Creditor Climate for 2012 – time for a change?

An insight into the world of Debt Management Plans and how ClearDebt are working with creditors

Further to the success of his blog on Lloyds, Creditor Liaison Team Leader, Chris Brown, takes a moment to put fingers to keyboard and finally, tell us how it is.

Starting a Debt Management Plan

Photo credit to Pat Pilon

It’s a common experience for many of our debt management clients, that the first few weeks of a plan can be the most difficult. Contact from creditors does not stop overnight and it is during this time that we write to creditors explaining our client/s have chosen to enter into a debt management plan. In order to progress with the plan, we ask creditors for information regarding what is owed to them and then await their replies…and in some cases we can be made to wait for an unreasonably long time while the contact to our client persists.

We understand how stressful this time can be for our clients, so we work as quickly as we can to deal with your creditors and get the process moving; our team are always looking for new ways to make this process as fast as possible but as you’d expect, there are a few obstacles in place to slow us down.

Some creditors are easier to contact than others

Obtaining information from Barclays, for example, can be like trying to get military secrets out of North Korea. We get a standard pre-prepared response which outlines their resolve to shun western conventions such as helpful call centre staff or debt management departments who use email. Instead we are given no other option but to send our correspondence in the post and wait for Barclays to sort, read and reply to our query.

We have hundreds of clients with debts to Barclays but despite this, they are unwilling to re-evaluate their procedures and consider allowing us to call them so that we can move our Debt Management Plans forward as quickly as possible.

Scripted answers to our queries

Another stumbling block for our team is speaking with non UK call centres. Some staff at companies such as Capital One and Blair, Oliver & Scott are trained to only answer certain queries with pre agreed scripts. This can often be like talking to a badly programmed robot whose owner didn’t install the basic logic software correctly. I could go on more about this issue but I suspect many of you reading this will also have experienced similar problems and so share my frustration.

Photo credit to Douglas County History Research Center

Using data protection to slow down the process

We take the protection of our clients’ personal information extremely seriously and expect creditors to do the same. However, recently there have been a couple of creditors who appear to be abusing the Data Protection Act, making obtaining information and setting up payment arrangements as slow as possible. Capital One, for example, reject on a daily basis countless letters of authority (which permit us to speak on our clients behalf) claiming that the signature does not match the one they have on their records.

It’s as if they have somebody with a magnifying glass, who spends their day rejecting our authorities on the basis that the first letter is angled forward 45 degrees rather than the 46 degrees the debtor used on the credit agreement.

We applaud creditors who are moving with the times

Despite these problems, a vast majority of creditors and collectors are now accepting payments by BACS (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services) which is much quicker than cheques. And a growing number of creditors (Allied International Credit, Moorcroft, Apex and JD Williams but to name but a few) are also now communicating with us by email, eliminating the need to wait for their letters in the post.

Each day our team is trying to communicate with creditors and grow relationships so that we can improve the processes – for you – our clients. We’re finding more logical, time and cost efficient methods of progressing a client’s Debt Management Plan with as little inconvenience and stress to either party.

Have your say

If you have any ideas which you feel creditors could consider to improve the process of Debt Management Plans, then why not have your say here too? Consider your thoughts carefully as we value your feedback and we will use some ideas to put forward to creditors as we develop our relationships with them.

Tell others:



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  1. The likes of Barcley’s or Capitol One should be reported to the fsa for thier persistant blocking of DMP’s from company’s like yours ,its as if they don’t want customer’s to clear thier debts any other way but through them and at thier rates of payback and added intrest. To me this smacks of a form of extortion as the people on dmp’s are sturggeling to meet thier commitments and are looking to do so in the fairest way for all .
    But these type of company’s don’t seem intrested in helping thier clients .

    1. the FSA is not a governing body but simply provide guidelines for financial services.

  2. I entered a debt management program with Abacus who have been exemplary in their handling of the case. I was then declared bankrupt in July 2010. So far I have received  letters from 5 debt collection agencies who have been sold-on a debt by M.B.N.A., which is held within the bankruptcy. M.B.N.A. seem to want to use ever hungry debt agencies to pursue and psychologically harass people like myself who are struggling to get back on a financial even keel. The debt agencies seem very reasonable when I inform them that they are unwittingly behaving illegally, but it is unnecessary time spent trawling through 2 year old debt issues that I object to.

  3. It should be made compulsory when a letter of authority is given to a Debt Management Company that all the creditors accept it immediately and work quickly to resolve any issues. It is not just money but peoples lives they are damaging, just at the time they need help. Having experienced problems with Barclays I can confirm the truth in your statement. They were the bank that when approached by me about difficulty making payments offered an increased overdraft facility with higher fees. Claiming they were trying to help me. When really they just wanted more money out of me.
    Creditors that are shown to hinder Company’s like yours that are helping people should be financially punished, perhaps if they are shown to obstruct Debt Management then the courts should write off the debt. This wold make them respond quickly enough.

  4. Barclays
    have always been awkward from day one, they quite happily supply
    Loans and credit cards, but when you go into the branch to speak to
    them about difficulty in paying, they have no interest in trying to
    help and keep fobbing you off with excuses.

    creditors are quick at getting debt collection agencies on your case,
    but extremely slow to respond when your willing to pay via a debt
    management company.

    There should
    be some law in place, stating if they do not respond to the debt
    management companies and accept the authorisation within an allotted
    time, then the debt is wrote off or reduced by a percentage. this
    will encourage creditors to respond more quickly, as it’s in their

    As for off
    shore call centres, it is extremely annoying when you phone a call
    centre trying to resolve debt issues, and the only words they seem to
    know is Direct Debit.

    The call
    centres can speak English, but seem not to understand English, if the
    words you speak do not appear on their list of responses, then your
    at a dead end, if you don’t pay when you call them, then they don’t

    As tax
    payers we have bailed out countless banks and companies for their
    debts, yet they won’t help then your having difficulties

  5. Good Share.I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about.  Can’t wait to read more from you!

  6. I got caught and have unfinished projects, I cant raise any capital to finish them and sell.
    Most self employed people I know are stalled and the banks are to blame. I have heard one MP saying RBS should be lending to small business but there should be hundreds. How can I move the projects forward to completion and sale without cash.The banks just dont want to know and the whole uk ECONOMY IS AT RISK AS NEVER BEFORE. !n 1992 I went thro a similar downturn but then you could get credit and trade out . DMP are good for a temporary hold off but they cannot be the long term solution and there needs to be a route for business people to work and trade out  of the position. Come on Abacus try any bank that will listen to you when you know someone such as me has met two years of the plan and wants to start trading again, but get me finance.

  7. I am very pleased with my debt management plan and no longer have to hide from creditors.  I was marvelous last weekend when I was “caught” out in daylight by a debt recovery agent and after telling me i owed his client a rather large sum of money, i simply replied yes I know, i am on a debt mananagement plan managed by Abacus, this is my reference number and the gentleman wrote it down and bade me farewell….

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