It is an established fact within the debt advice sector that the first 3 months of the year represent the busiest quarter. Post Christmas debt problems and the start of a New Year mean people often prefer to resolve their debt worries during this period.
As a result this coincides with debt advice companies spending substantial sums of money promoting their services in order to maximise their turnover and profit.
There are many high visibility routes used, television and newspapers being the more obvious. However a growing number of debt management companies are also turning to Google advertising as an additional way to connect with people in debt.
Debt advice online
When you type the keywords "Debt Advice" into your search engine, pages of companies appear on screen. On the right hand side of the screen companies vie for business with many claims being completely outrageous. "Write off 70%, 75% and 85% of your debt" being some of the claims made.
Due to the easy nature of starting a Google debt advice advertising account these adverts can be found throughout the year.
Can you trust debt companies advertising on Google?
Some debt companies advertising on Google will not charge you for the advice and be able to provide an excellent service. Unfortunately, a proportion of companies are advertising with many misleading people
Only a small percentage of people in debt ever fit the criteria to achieve what attracted them to that company in the first place. Writing off debt also comes with negatives too with your credit rating and any assets being affected.
Ultimately, the cost of Google advertising can be up to £30,000 per month. How is a company affording to pay for this? Where do they make their money?
Debt charities on Google
Some debt charities have started to advertise on Google in an attempt to reduce the influence of companies who mislead consumers in debt online. These charities do not claim to write off debt but instead offer advice and support if you are struggling to manage your finances.
It can be difficult to identify the debt advice charities on Google.
So, how can you write off debt?
There are some debt solutions where you would repay what you can afford and after a period of time any remaining debt will be cleared. The percentage of debt you can 'write off' depends on your financial situation. The solutions where this is possible are an IVA or bankruptcy (or a Trust Deed in Scotland).
To be applicable for these solutions you must meet the criteria. You may meet the criteria in some cases but may prefer to repay all of your debt over a longer period of time.
Not for profit debt advice
There are many reputable organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau for face to face advice, Debt Support Trust or many other not for profit organisations available to provide advice. We would recommend using one of these organisations as opposed to organisations advertising on Google and other search engines.
Tips if you use a debt company advertise on Google
- Does the company have a consumer credit licence and is it up to date? You can check the consumer credit register here www2.crw.gov.uk/pr/
- Is the advice on offer free? There are various ways to get free debt advice. Free face to face advice is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
- Ask how they make their money to provide the service.
- If the company claim to "Write off your debt" always ensure they give you the positives as well as the negatives of this route.