We live in a time when it can be difficult to decipher between what is real and what is fake, whether it's mainstream news, social media posts or debt advice adverts. We, like many other people, read the false promises being promoted on social media and want to offer some clarity.
When it comes to dealing with debt - which is a sensitive subject - reliability and accuracy are paramount. However, some adverts claim to offer solutions which seem too good to be true.
So, we've had a discussion and listed the top adverts we've seen which make bold and often unlikely claims about resolving debt problems.
Common False Advertising Claims
"Write off up between 80% - 95% of your debt" - This is an extremely misleading statement because while there are debt solutions which allow people to repay an affordable monthly repayment towards their debts, with the potential of a percentage of their debt being written off at the end of the solution, the amount isn't fixed. An IVA ( in England, Wales & Northern Ireland) or a Protected Trust Deed (in Scotland), allow for you to pay an affordable contribution towards your debt on a monthly basis. Often you'll only repay a percentage of your debt, however until a person has completed either debt solution there is no way to know if there will be any debt write off. The reason for this is, if during the period of time you're in the solution and your circumstances change then it's possible you would repay the full amount of debt plus fees for the solution. As an example, if you inherit money or won the lottery during the term of either debt solution then you would be asked to pay this money into the estate for the benefit of your creditors.
"Be Debt Free In X Number of Years" - Until a person has spoken to a debt adviser there is no way of knowing when they will be debt free. Someone may have assets which they could sell to clear their debt within a very short period of time, while others may need a solution which will last 6 years or longer. There's never a one solution fits all answer to personal debt problems. Consequently, advice is required and a statement of affairs collated to estimate when a person will be debt free again.
"Buy Your Debt For £1" - This is consider to be more of a scam, rather than simply misleading and it is something to be very wary of. Ads will claim you can pay just £1 and they will purcahse the debt, however despite a person often paying far more than just the £1, they will still be liable for the debt.
"Consolidate Your Debts" - Some adverts claim a company will consolidate all their debts and they can make one monthly payment. Often what happens is you pay one company your monthly payment, typically in a debt management plan, and they disperse the funds on a pro-rata basis. The debts don't get consolidated like a loan, but the company will liaise between you and the creditors. If you leave the plan each creditor will still be owed their outstanding share of the debt. If you believe a debt management plan is the correct debt solution then there are organisations offering free debt management plans so you don't have to pay any fees from your monthly payments.
"Write off Secured Debt" - This is just simply not true. Secured debts cannot be written off or included in a debt repayment solution. If a person sells or has the secured asset (i.e a property, car etc) repossessed and there is a shortfall or balance remaining then the debt would typically become unsecured and could be suitable for a debt solution at that stage.
These are just some of the many false claims that can be found and by no means the full list.
If You're Unsure We Can Help
If you've seen an advert which sounds too good to be true then why not ask us for a second opinion? Even if you've entered a solution we can still offer helpful advice and support. You can speak to one of our friendly team on 0800 085 0226.
By speaking to a register and regulated debt advice organisation such as Debt Support Trust or a local Citizens Advice Bureau, a full financial assessment of your circumstances will be taken before making any claims about how to deal with your debt.
If you would like the facts not the fiction to solve your debt problem, give us a call on 0800 085 0226.