Debt Arrangement Scheme
Debt Management Plan Scotland
Tens of thousands of residents of Scotland are believed to currently be in debt management plans. Every year many thousands more Scots consider starting a debt management plan to deal with their debt concerns.
One weakness associated with a debt management plan in Scotland can be the disruption that often occurs when a debtor stops paying their creditors directly and starts to pay a debt management charity or company instead. It takes creditors some time to update their systems and process debt management proposals. During this intervening period the debt collection processes at some creditors go into overdrive. The debtor can find themselves bombarded with calls, texts and letters. The Debt Arrangement Scheme overcomes this by creating the potential for a formal period of relief during which creditors cannot proceed with legal actions against the debtor. This allows breathing space for the debtor and their advisor to get the DAS scheme established.
Another debt management plan weakness is that creditors are not forced to suspend interest charges or cease applying penalty fees. In practical reality most will agree to freeze interest and stop charges but it’s not guaranteed and it’s not typically immediate. Once the Debt Arrangement Scheme has been accepted no creditor can add interest or other charges provided that the DAS scheme payment is maintained as agreed.
One other debt management plan weakness in Scotland can be that a debt management plan does not prevent creditors from taking legal action at any time of their choosing. Even if a debt management plan appears to be working well this technical threat remains and in a minority of cases might become a reality. This may be of particular concern to homeowners amongst others. The Debt Arrangement Scheme prevents creditors from starting legal action which can be a tremendous reassurance to a debtor who is working hard to repay what they owe.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme is “formal” and therefore may take a little longer to set up than a debt management plan in Scotland. In some ways the DAS scheme is also less flexible than a DMP. However the benefits of DAS compared to a debt management plan Scotland are substantial and should be very carefully considered.
Can you switch to the Debt Arrangement Scheme?
If you live in Scotland and currently have a debt management plan it is highly likely that you will be able to switch from your DMP to the DAS scheme. It would be appropriate to exercise some caution in the timing of cancelling the debt management plan; this should be tied to some reassurance that the Debt Arrangement Scheme will actually be available to you and effective to deal with your needs.
The Role of a DAS Approved Money Adviser
Only a DAS Approved Money Adviser can set up the Debt Arrangement Scheme for you. They are specially qualified and registered to provide this service.
Money Scotland (on their website) provides a tool to help you search for DAS Approved Money Advisers that operate in your area. Some of them will provide their services for free as they are funded and employed by the CAB or a Local Authority. Others work on a commercial basis either for insolvency companies or debt advice organisations.
The choice of whether to select a free or paid-for adviser to set up the Debt Arrangement Scheme for you is a personal matter and choice. Some people argue that it’s unnecessary to pay for a service than can be sourced without any cost, other people have provided feedback that they have received a quicker and more convenient service in return for selecting an adviser that works on a commercial basis. If you do decide to recruit commercial help we advise that you clarify the basis of any charges before you go ahead.
The professional debt advisers at DebtManagementPlanForum.co.uk are trained to provide further advice on the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Please contact them on 0800 0437203 or via one of the contact forms on the site to get advice on DAS and other debt management options available to you.
Some Possible Disadvantages Of The Debt Arrangement Scheme
A mortgage obtained during a Debt Arrangement Scheme (if you can obtain one) is likely to be on less favourable terms than might otherwise be achieved (for example the interest rates may be higher).
A public register of Debt Arrangement Schemes is kept.
When you cease paying your creditors directly you are likely to fall into arrears, or further arrears, on your accounts.
Your expenditure during a DAS scheme will be restricted to enable a fair payment to be made towards your debts. Should your Debt Arrangement Scheme fail it is possible that interest and charges will once again be added to your accounts.
DAS will have a significant effect on your credit record. It might also need to be declared on mortgage applications after your Debt Arrangement Scheme is completed (even if it is no longer visible on a credit record) depending upon the view taken by any particular mortgage lender.