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A guide and advice to self managed DMP's Debt Management Plans

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  • A guide and advice to self managed DMP's Debt Management Plans

    Hi All

    There is a lot of information on this forum and the internet about DMP's and also people who manage DMP's themselves, but there is nothing that collates a lot of the information together in one place.

    As someone who has gone, and going, through the pain of a self managed DMP I thought I would start a series of threads to help anyone considering doing the same.

    I am going to look at this subject in the following series of posts:

    1) What does starting a Self Managed DMP mean?

    2) The DMP Toolkit

    3) DMP Getting Started

    4) DMP Dealing with Creditors

    5) DMP Reviewing



    What does a Self Managed DMP mean?

    Basically, a self managed DMP is where an individual offers a payment plan to creditors, and manages this plan themselves rather than using the services of a company to do this for them.

    This plan is usually a result of falling into financial difficulty resulting in being unable to meet minimum/contractual obligations.

    It is important to point out from the outset that embarking on a DMP is a significant financial commitment in itself and should not be undertaken lightly.

    A DMP usually lasts many years and so consideration shoud be made as to the long term consequences that this can have on you (as well as the short term consequences).

    Don't get me wrong here! I am not trying to put anyone off from starting a DMP (in fact for me it was one the best financial decisions I have made for a long long time) however you just need to be aware of the impact a DMP will have.

    A DMP is NOT a short term 'quick fix' or a 'get of debt free card'.


    Getting independant impartial financial advice
    If you are considering embarking on a self managed DMP then I will make a big assumption that you have already recognised that you are in financial difficulty and are wanting to do something about it.

    If you have been advised by a debt management company, or a claims management company, or any other commercial company who charge a fee, or a percentage of the payment you make to them, to start a DMP then I would say STOP until you have done the following:

    It would be sensible (if you've not already done so) to take independant (and more importantly) IMPARTIAL advise. Anyone who charges a fee is NOT going to be impartial and, as the majority of these people work on commission, they will be tempted to recommend 'products' that are going to make them the most money.

    The best places for independant and impartial advice are:

    1) Legalbeagles forum (though other forums are available)

    Seriously - there are actually debt counsellors who post on these forums, and there are forum members who will have been through the same thing as you so a massive amount of experience is available to you - for free! More importantly it will be 'warts n all' opinions you will get so you will not have a rose-tinted view of what you are taking on

    2) CCCS (http://www.cccs.co.uk/) now renamed to STEPCHANGE ( http://www.stepchange.org/ )

    Consumer Credit Counselling Service/StepChange. The most familiar, and consequently busy. Excellent website with online assessment tools (e.g. Debt Remedy) which can give an indication of the best solution for you.

    3) National Debt Line (http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/)

    Free debt telephone service and another great source of information. DO NOT mistake other fee charging companies who have deliberately set themselves up with a similar sounding name to confuse things for you

    4) Christians against poverty (http://www.capuk.org/home/index.php)

    Another charity offering a free debt counselling service that I have heard excellent reports though no personal experience. Again another excellent website to gather information.


    Do I go for a Managed DMP or Self Managed DMP?
    So this thread is about self managed DMP's but as part of your research any of these organizations will look at your current financial status and give you the best possible advice on whether a DMP is actually right for you or not.

    This is a serious consideration you have to make simply because a DMP is a serious commitment and there may be other solutions that are more suited for your circumstances (IVA, DRO, Bankruptsy etc).

    This is important - I have seen far too many claims/debt management companies recommend DMP's when a simple change in income/expenditure and budgeting would have been sufficient to increase surplus income and consequently reduce someones debt.

    Simply - I would NEVER pay anyone to manage a DMP. You will ultimately be in debt for longer, and as has been seen with many companies, could end up more in debt than you were before.

    So you've been advised that a DMP is the right option for you. You now have two choices on how your DMP will be managed. You can either let one of the organizations above manage your DMP for you, or alternatively you can choose to manage your DMP yourself. There are pros/cons to each a selection of which are below:

    Managed DMP Pro's
    1) Organizations like CCCS are recognised by creditors and hold a great deal of credibility (this is because they go through a lot of due diligence to ensure that your financial circumstances are accurate) and so, sometimes, are more likely to be co-operative and agree to your DMP

    2) They will contact your creditors on your behalf and negotiate with them, removing a lot of the stress

    3) They will take a single payment from you and distribute it fairly among your creditors removing the stress of having to manage payments

    4) Can be used as a shield, or 'lightening rod' to deflect creditors if they contact you

    5) Trained, impartial debt advisors, who can offer advice and support

    Managed DMP Con's
    1) Will not necessarily offer the best advice in the rare event a creditor takes you to court (certainly cannot offer legal advice)

    2) Will insist on ALL your creditors being included on your DMP (this is generally good advice anyway, however there are circumstances where you may not want to include a creditor, or you may want to remove a creditor)

    3) Some organizations do not like challenging creditors on the validity of credit agreements removing a potentially useful leverage tool

    4) Less feeling of 'financial control'

    Self Managed DMP Pro's
    1) Complete control of your finances which can be very satisfying

    2) You can choose which creditors you will include on your DMP and which ones you will handle differently (if you wish to challenge enforceability or if you wish to stop payments as a creditor refuses to stop interest/charges)

    3) You will develop an indepth knowledge of consumer rights and protection which will make you more confident in dealing with creditors and recognise when they are being naughty and slip up and use to your advantage

    Self Managed DMP Con's
    1) You will have to negotiate with creditors yourself which can be stressful

    2) You will have to manage payments to creditors which can be stressful

    3) You will have to learn about your consumer rights and protection (though this will become a Pro over time!)

    4) Can be time consuming (especially in the early days) to write/post letters etc


    DMP's Myths & Truths
    So you have decided that you still want to embark on a DMP and you want to manage your DMP yourself. Excellent!

    It is important though to be aware of some of the myths that are peddled about DMP's, and also some of the consequences:

    MYTH: A DMP is a legally binding contract between creditor and debtor
    TRUTH: A DMP although agreed by your creditors is not legally binding at all

    MYTH: If I set up a DMP with a company my creditors have to accept it
    TRUTH: Creditors are under no obligation to accept a DMP proposal

    MYTH: Once on a DMP my creditors will stop calling me.
    TRUTH: Once you are on a DMP it is more than likely that your creditors will stop calling. They are under no obligation to do so though (see next)

    MYTH: Once on a DMP my creditors will not be able to continue collection activities nor take me to court
    TRUTH: Creditors, if they wish, are still able to continue collection activities and can still take you to court. However being on a DMP gives you more leverage against them in terms of harrassment, being unreasonable etc.

    MYTH: I have to pay a company to set up a DMP
    TRUTH: Anyone can set up a DMP, you can even do it yourself if you wish. There are debt charities that also do this service for FREE. Personally I would never pay a company to do something you can do yourself or get just the same service for FREE!

    MYTH: Creditors cannot default you or put anything bad on your credit file when they have agreed to a DMP
    TRUTH: Creditors can, and most certainly will, default you should you enter into a DMP and they accept and this will be marked on your credit file

    MYTH: Creditors cannot charge interest or add fees to an account subject to a DMP
    TRUTH: Creditors are under no obligation to freeze interest or charges although many will if asked to do so

    MYTH: The amount paid into a DMP cannot be changed
    TRUTH: The whole point of a DMP is that you only pay what you can afford. If your circumstances change either in a positive or negative way you should review your DMP accordingly. This will of course mean your creditors will have to agree the new amount if it reduces. I don't think many creditors would complain if it increased!!

    MYTH: I will not be able to get additional credit if on a DMP
    TRUTH: It will be highly unlikely that you will be offered credit purely because of the defaults that will be likely put on your credit files. However you should be asking yourself why are you looking to extend your credit even further if you have had to set up a DMP in the first place

    MYTH: If I enter into a DMP I will lose my house
    TRUTH: Entering into a DMP will do no such thing. Only not paying your mortgage, defaulting on a CCJ etc will put your house at risk

    MYTH: DMP's are for losers, failures, you should be ashamed.
    TRUTH: DMP's are everyone who are in a particular debt situation and are a solution to that situation. Being on a DMP does not make you a bad person or a failure. Quite the opposite. It shows you are not burying your head in the sand and are looking to deal with your debt.


    So if you're still happy that a self managed DMP is the way forward for you the next thing to do is to put together your DMP toolkit
    Last edited by Amethyst; 19th September 2013, 08:40:AM. Reason: Added links
    Tags: None

  • #2
    A guide to self managed DMP's - DMP Toolkit

    2) The DMP Toolkit




    The DMP toolkit
    Ok so the following list is not exhaustive but are the basics of what you should put in place before you start your DMP

    1) New basic bank account with online access (WITHOUT overdraft will explain later)

    2) New telephone number or mobile (optional but will explain why you may want to do this later)

    3) Access to Computer and Internet Access (for letter writing and research)

    4) Access to Printer & Scanner/Photocopier (Scanner/Photocopier optional but will explain why you may want to do this later)

    5) Filing Cabinet (optional but will explain why you may want to do this later)

    6) Common Financial Statement aka Income & Expenditure Sheet aka Statement of Affairs (SOA)

    7) Letter Template Library

    8) Copies of current consumer credit legislation and guidelines for creditors

    9) Commitment and a thick skin!

    New basic bank account
    One of the first things that you must do is open a new bank account and arrange for your wages to be paid into this bank account. It is essential that the bank account you open is NOT linked in any way to any of your creditors otherwise they may use their ability to 'offset'; that is they will take money from your current account to offset your debt.

    See the following thread from Nattie for more info on offsetting:
    Can the bank offset my debts against other accounts?

    This is also especially important if payday loans form any of your debt as these companies are notorious for emptying peoples accounts by trying for smaller and smaller amounts of money until they have a successful payment.

    You should not open an account that has an overdraft facility as you are effectively opening another 'credit line' which will not look good if you are trying to negotiate with creditors and stating that you are unable to manage credit...............

    Most basic bank accounts will allow a cheque book, online banking, as well as a debit card so all the banking facilities you need.

    Once you have your new bank account it is essential that you do not provide the bank details to any of your creditors. I may be being paranoid here, but if none of your creditors (especially Debt Collecting Agencies) have your details then there can be no possibility of taking unauthorised payments. Some DCA's and Payday Loan companies have been known to set up Direct Debits without authorization and then taking money.

    Forget the moral argument on whether they should be able to do this or not, once the money has been taken, it is gone. The Direct Debit Guarantee etc is no good to you at this point if you have no money to feed your family or put fuel in the car to get to work.

    Cancel all your Direct Debits at your old bank as you will be setting up standing orders (see DMP - Getting Started)


    New Telephone Number or Mobile
    Once your start missing payments, or enter into a DMP, your creditors or DCA's are going to harrass you constantly by phone. You should be able to stop this via one of the letters in your template library, however some may still ignore this.

    Consequently you may want to change your phone number (or mobile) and then this problem is sorted! A quick text to family/friends and job done.

    Alternatively you may look at buying a product like Trucall, which can block unwanted phone calls and even record the conversations that take place (VERY useful if you want to catch DCA's playing dirty). Just like your new bank account, once you have done this NEVER give your new number to a creditor or DCA.

    Be very careful of calling DCA's or creditors too as many now have caller display capability so if you have not protected yourself against this, they will have your number, even if you refuse to give it............


    Access to a Computer & the Internet
    You will need this to compose your letters to creditors, store these letters and responses you get, and the internet for research and support. The internet, and forums like this, are the biggest weapon you will have in managing your creditors and getting advice.


    Access to printer & scanner/photocopier
    You can of course use pen and paper but its easier to print off letters that you send to creditors, and also print multiple copies. Use a scanner/photocopier to copy any letters you receive from creditors as well as proof of postage etc that you may have


    Filing Cabinet
    Personally I scan all letters creditors send me and save them on my computer, along with scanned images of the proof of postage of letters sent to my creditors.

    Almost all companies are poor at storing communication from their customers so it doesn't take much for you to be better. If you have better record keeping then this gives you huge leverage over creditors, especially should they decide to take things to court.

    However scanning/saving stuff can be a lot of effort so sometimes its simpler to just put the letters you receive and send in a filing cabinet. This does have the benefit that you can also staple the envelope the letter came in to the letter to.

    Remember how I talked about having better record keeping than your creditors?

    Many are guilty of backdating letters to make them seem they were written days earlier than when they were posted, however the postmark on the envelope will show a different story. Keeping the envelopes, showing the postmark, will establish whether this is a common practice, and also useful if you wish to contest things like Default Notices.


    Common Financial Statement
    The common financial statement is what you will use to record your income/expenditure. You can find a sample one here:
    Common Financial Statement - Income and Expenditure


    I think Amethyst also has an updated one which you can PM her for

    This will be one of your main tools as you will use it to calculate your surplus income which will be then split between your creditors.

    Template Letter Library
    Having a template letter library is a great resource in your toolkit as it enables you to quickly develop content for letters to write, and respond to your creditors.

    There are several great resources here on LegalBeagles which you can find here:

    Letter Templates Re Debt (offer to pay / freeze interest etc)




    Copies of current legislation and guidelines
    Believe it or not but creditors should conduct themselves in line with a series of guidelines set down my organizations such as the Office of Fair Trading and the British Banking Association when recovering debt.

    However creditors and especially DCA's frequently flout these guidelines, as it is your ignorance of your rights, and their legal capabilities, that they rely on to harrass and apply pressure to you.

    Knowledge is power, so by having access to, and understanding the guidelines they are supposed to adhere to, you will be able to deal with, and respond to, this behaviour more effectively.

    Some documents to get you started in this section of your toolkit include:

    1) OFT Final Guidance on Unfair Business Practices for Debt Collection (Google OFT664). This is currently being reviewed by the OFT (May 2011).

    2) OFT Guidance on sections 77/78/79 of the consumer credit act 1974

    3) The CSA and DBSG Guidelines for the use, format and content of debt collection letters

    4) The BBA Common Financial Statement Brochure

    5) OFT Unfair relationships enforcement action under part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Google OFT854)

    6) The BBA Lending Code


    Commitment and a thick skin!
    No seriously!! As mentioned in part 1 of this series a DMP is a long term commitment and you need to be dedicated to it. Dealing with creditors yourself can also be draining, stressful and upsetting.

    This is, of course, their intention, as they want to wear you down. This is where the thick skin is needed. You have to remember that you are not a person to your creditors. There is no such thing as customer loyalty any more as far your creditors are concerned.

    Your debt will be just a number on a balance sheet, or will be a target for someone to recover to receive some commission.

    Consequently, you should try not to take things personally too. I know this is difficult, as your debt will be very personal to you, however try to remember the context your creditors will be viewing things in and hopefully you will develop a different perspective.

    Next you need to inform your creditors......
    Last edited by Tools; 28th October 2014, 23:59:PM. Reason: Added links

    Comment


    • #3
      A guide to self managed DMP's - Getting Started

      3) DMP Getting Started



      In this thread I will look at getting started with your DMP and using the DMP toolkit that you developed in part 2. In getting started on your DMP you will need to look at the following

      1) Starting afresh with your finances and your new bank account
      2) Using Template Letters
      3) Informing your creditors of your financial situation and your DMP proposal
      4) Keeping/filing correspondance with your creditors
      5) Setting up payments with your creditors
      6) Confirming payments with your creditors


      Starting afresh with your finances
      Ok, so as per part 2 you should have set up a new bank account and arranged for your wages to be paid into this bank account. You should then cancel all of your direct debits on your old account.

      If you do not have an overdraft on your old account then close it.
      Once you have done this you will now need to arrange payments for your priority expenditure/debts.

      If you're not sure whats considered a priority debt have a read of Sapphires excellent thread here: http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/...read.php?t=490

      What you need to do is arrange for these priority debts to be paid by Standing Order, not by Direct Debit. This way you remain in control of your payments.
      Once your priority debts are all arranged and being paid you can now move onto sorting out your non priority debt and the payments you will make to each (credit card, personal loan, payday loan, overdraft etc) by using the common financial statement in your DMP toolkit.

      Again have a read of Sapphires thread above. You should now have a figure for each creditor which is the maximum you can afford, and you are now back in control of your finances!


      Using Template Letters
      So you have a library of template letters. What you have to remember about template letters is they are exactly that - templates. This means they are a guide or framework to help you construct a letter more specific to your circumstances.

      There is nothing wrong with using the template as the 'core' of your letter, and remember that templates are also intended to ensure that you do not put anything in writing that could commit you to something later on in court. It is only my opinion, but creditors find it easier to dismiss a stock template letter, especially if you have just copied it verbatim.

      Personally I think you should personalise template letters as it is much more effective to gain leverage.

      This is also where you should start to use the consumer and creditor guidelines to add to templates to give more credibility to your responses.

      An example: It is common for creditors and DCA's to threaten doorstep visits after a debtor has offered a payment plan.

      The OFT guidelines on this are clear in that when an account is 'deadlocked' doorstep visits should not be threatened.

      Therefore your templated response could be tweaked to contain something like the following:

      It is also a breach of OFT guidelines to threaten to visit debtors without prior agreement when an account is in dispute or deadlocked. For the avoidance of doubt and clarification I refer you to the OFT's definition of a deadlocked account in their debt collection guidelines:

      "By 'deadlocked' we mean where a debtor (or debtor’s adviser) agrees there is a debt and has offered a repayment programme which has not been agreed by the creditor or debt collector. We are not saying that any offer must be accepted but we have seen cases where offers are disregarded and a debtor is told that 'we are sending field agents'. Many debtors are unlikely to understand this term and are likely to view the visit as a threat designed to make them offer more money when they can pay no more. Some letters appear to be designed to give this impression."

      I therefore consider your recent letter to be a direct breach of the guidance given by the OFT and any further breaches on your part will be reported accordingly.

      Taking this approach sends the message that you are aware of your consumer rights, and also creditors responsibilities, and you are not just blindly firing out template letters without understanding their content.


      Informing your creditors of your financial situation and your DMP proposal
      So rule number 1 - keep everything in writing, send everything recorded delivery (or at the very least get proof of postage), sign all your correspondance electronically (i.e. do NOT put your real signature to anything) and then keep copies of ALL your letters and their corresponding proof of postage.

      You will be amazed at the number who will try to claim they did not receive your letter, but you will now have proof that they did, and proof that they lie.........

      Never discuss a DMP on the phone with a creditor, keep everything in writing only.

      So using the appropriate template from your library, tweak it to explain to your creditor why you are unable to continue normal payments, and what your proposed payment will be.

      Personally I also include the front sheet of my common financial statement so that creditors can see what my income/expenditure is and also what other creditors are getting so they know that they are being treated fairly. This is a bit contentious as I know some people recommend sending creditors NOTHING.

      While I understand these sentiments it makes it hard to argue your creditors are being unreasonable if they do not have this information. Remember that a DMP is not contractually binding and your creditors are under no obligation to accept, therefore you need to make them the unreasonable ones should they not do so.

      However.......... I would NEVER provide copies of bank statements, payslips, etc. The summary sheet of your CFS should be enough for your creditors to make an informed decision and accept your DMP

      Once the letters have been sent off, sit back and relax, you have taken that first step towards being debt free!


      Keeping/filing correspondance with your creditors
      I will emphasise this point again - knowledge is power! Most companies record keeping is a shambles, sooner or later they will be likely to slip up and if your record keeping is better then you can use this against them.

      Repeat - Send everything recorded delivery (or at the very least get proof of postage), sign all your correspondance electronically (i.e. do NOT put your real signature to anything) and then keep copies of ALL your letters and their corresponding proof of postage in your filing cabinet.

      Alternatively scan all this correspondance into your computer to keep electronic copies.


      Setting up payments with your creditors
      Your creditors will then write back, and hopefully will have accepted your DMP (if they have not then see my thread Dealing with Creditors)

      Even if your creditors have not accepted your DMP it can be useful to start making payments to them anyway 'as a gesture of goodwill'

      Always set up payments to be made by standing order. If they refuse to give you bank details then you can use this against them by enquiring why they are refusing your reasonable payments.

      This will NOT look good if they decided (foolishly) to take things to court. Some will demand that you call them to obtain bank details. Remember rule 1!

      They want to get you on the phone to bully you, or get you to reveal your phone number so they can harrass you constantly.


      Confirming payments with your creditors
      Once you have set up the standing order, write to your creditor and inform them that payment has been set up, and on which date the first payment will commence. It is not unknown for some creditors/DCA's to not notice your payment going into their account, and will continue to pursue you for full payment even though they have agreed to your DMP (remember what I said about their record keeping!).

      Next section is on how to dealing with your creditors...
      Last edited by Amethyst; 19th September 2013, 08:40:AM. Reason: Added links

      Comment


      • #4
        A guide to self managed DMP's - Dealing with Creditors

        4) DMP Dealing with Creditors




        This thread is actually going to be quite short.

        The reason for this is I will point you to the most excellent thread started by CurlyBen which gives you all the information you need to know:

        http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/...ead.php?t=7923

        Remember that your creditors will NOT be happy accepting your DMP, nor will they want to accept your DMP. Consequently they will use threats, harrassment, lies and bullying to get you to pay more than you can afford.

        In the early days of a DMP you WILL get a lot of harrassment it is inevitable.

        Once your creditors realise you are in financial difficulty they will circle you like wolves hoping to bite as big a chunk out of your before your other creditors do.

        This is especially the case when dealing with Debt Collection Agencies. The important place to start with DCA's is whether they actually have a legal right to pursue the debt at all.

        Another excellent thread from CurlyBen on debt assignment can be found here:

        http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/...ead.php?t=7923

        Remember what I said that to these companies you are nothing but a number on a balance sheet.

        Keep all your correspondance in writing, and do not let them panic or distress you (easier said than done I know, I get rattled too sometimes).

        Keep everything professional and to the point. Yes use the personal element (i.e. state that you in financial hardship) but never get personal (i.e. if you want your money you can foxtrot oscar).

        Start using the guidelines in your toolkit as leverage (e.g. if a bank, who has subscribed to the lending code, outrightly refuses to accept your DMP, quote the lending code at them and consider complaining to the BOS).

        Some creditors will refuse your DMP and continue adding interest and charges to your account (Shop Direct are a great example). There is a reason why they do this - once they know you are in financial difficulty they will look to bump up the balance to sell onto a debt collection agency. By bumping up the balance, not only do they reduce their liability when they write off the debt but they will be able to sell it for more.

        Not nice I know, but thats how some of these companies work.

        This is where a self managed DMP actually gives you some flexibility over putting leverage on your creditors. You can play hardball and threaten to refuse to pay them anything (especially if your monthly payment does not exceed the monthly interest and charges) or you can explore whether your agreement is enforceable (again to apply leverage over them).

        Many managed DMP providers would not allow you to do this.

        Remember another golden rule - do not be bullied or harrassed into paying more than you can afford. This is your creditors aim.

        Next section is on DMP reviewing.....
        Last edited by Amethyst; 19th September 2013, 08:41:AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          A guide to self managed DMP's - Reviewing your DMP

          5) DMP Reviewing

          So once your DMP is set up, it is reasonable for your creditors to expect regular reviews to take place usually every 6 months. Normally your creditors will write to you when a review is due, or alternatively you can set your own review dates and inform your creditors when these dates will be.

          The process is exactly the same as when you initially completed your common financial statement, you just do it again, and confirm what the monthly payments will be.

          Of course your creditors will be hoping that your financial situation has improved sufficiently for you to increase your payment. However there is nothing wrong in decreasing payments should your financial situation have gotten worse.

          It is always a good idea that if the latter has happened that you review your situation immediately and inform your creditors of your new payment.

          Most creditors will be happy to accept that your situation has not changed and your payments remain the same until the next review.

          What I have noticed is that DCA's in particular sell debts off at the end of the tax year if they think they are not going to make enough money on them. Therefore be prepared around March/April time to be approached by a different DCA for an account where you have been happily paying your agreed DMP amount.

          If this happens simply write to them asking for proof of assignment (see thread 4 of this series) and then repeat your DMP offer if they have been legitimately assigned the debt (starting from scratch effectively)
          Last edited by Amethyst; 19th September 2013, 08:17:AM. Reason: Added links

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A guide and advice to self managed DMP's Debt Management Plans

            Good resource on Self Managing your DMP here - https://nedcab.cabmoney.org.uk/dmp.asp
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            • #7
              Re: A guide and advice to self managed DMP's Debt Management Plans

              Some excellent stuff here despite being 5 years old plus your link for even more advice.

              I seem to have been very lucky so far in having done most if not all of the advised things admittedly with LBs help:

              1. I do everything in writing and recorded delivery.
              2. I have a specific DMP signature and I sign in green ink to avoid signature lifting. Not foolproof, I know, but it might make the DCA think first with my signature.
              3. I have set up a complete filing system - something I have been very poor at in the past when life was too easy and I didn't need all this filing paperwork stuff - now I know that personal organisation is key to financial success and more importantly, the opposite is even more true. I never knew how much I owed. I had never added up the debts nor my mortgages (currently 484,000 -say it quickly!) and I didn't even know how much I was paying in interest pre-Compass DMP - at least 2000 per month and possibly 3000. Things have changed dramatically. largely thanks to LB and Compass going under!! I'm not going to thank them though.
              4. I adjust my template letters to fit my situation - I have found that they read better when you do this and I like Crispy Bacon's point that it makes the DCAs know you know the Consumer Credit Act 74 and aren't simply using a template.

              I think Crispy's extremely detailed post should be compulsory reading to all who come out of a DMP and feel they can do it on their own. Knowing the limitations is also extremely useful. I announced to the ex-compass clients at the Liquidator's meeting how important many of these points were; lots of people were phoning their creditors and agreeing to extortionate payments under pressure. One woman with 200 approx monthly disposable income told me that Cabot (?) had told her she had to pay them all of it - she was paying 7 to them with Compass. Another told her that since she was no longer 'protected by Compass, she would have to have interest applied to her account as of her last Compass payment. I told her they are within their rights to do this, but to contact a FREE DMP asap. Clearly, Stepchange and Payplan are ideal for those who fear the self-managed DMP. But what I really worried about was this general desperation and anger in the room that appears to have blinded many as to their rights and the law according to CCA 74. I hope most will come on here for your team's impeccable advice.
              Wingco

              - - - Updated - - -

              Amethyst

              Why is it advisable to use postal orders for the 1 statutory fee when submitting CCAs?

              Wingco
              Robbed, overcharged and revengeful.


              "I told them I was ill"

              Spike Milligan's last words and on his grave stone


              "Bugger Bognor"

              King George V on his deathbed

              Comment

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