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A significant number of options exist for anyone worried about debt and considering a debt management plan. In this article we explain the background to the options available and how each source of advice actually links with the provision of a debt management plan if appropriate.

We also include useful information about how to avoid poor debt management plan advice and options.

Lead Generating Debt Management Plan Websites

A major source of initial debt advice is now the internet. Many people like the fact that they can research the debt management options available to them whenever they wish and in the comfort of their own homes. Many such websites will be operated by debt management plan charities and companies themselves.

However a significant number of such websites are set-up simply to generate “leads”. Effectively these websites capture your data when you complete a form on the site... then sell it to the highest bidder!

This obviously leaves you with no control over the quality of the debt management company that will later get in touch with you. Another threat is that their debt management plan advice may be tainted by the fact that they paid for your information and need to get their money back (either through directing you to a debt solution that suits them, or by charging very high debt management fees).

How do you spot (and avoid) such lead generating debt management websites? Firstly you should steer clear of any website that has very little content; many such lead generating websites have very few pages and concentrate their homepage pretty much solely on a contact form. A second research option is to write the name of the website into Google to get reviews on their service. For example if a website was called “Government Debt Helper” you could write “government debt helper debt management reviews” into a Google search. If you cannot find any reviews or comments on their debt management plan service you might assume that this site exists to generate leads rather than being a debt management plan company itself.

Fee Charging Debt Management Plan Companies

Some debt management plan companies have received significant criticism from the Office of Fair Trading following a recent investigation into their advertising, debt management plan advice and their debt management services.

These companies directly provide debt management plan advice and debt management plans to consumers.

Debt management plan companies have the option to sign up to join one of two trade associations that are dedicated to improving the level of services provided by the debt management plan industry. The trade associations are called DEMSA and the DRF.

We strongly advise anyone choosing a debt management plan company to restrict their search to companies that have volunteered to join DEMSA or the DRF. A clear and obvious concern exists about any company that has not made this decision. If they are members it should be displayed on their own website and the membership of DEMSA and DRF is available on their websites.

A second suggestion is, once again, to look for services reviews on the company you are considering online. Have they received any positive feedback on their debt management plan services? How much negative feedback exists online?

Finally we suggest that you examine the basis of their fees. Most companies will charge one or two of your initial debt management plan payments as an upfront fee. Their are some companies on the margin of the debt management plan industry that charge initial fees that are much higher than this. These companies should be avoided as their simply is no need to pay excessive amounts in upfront fees.

Free Debt Management Plan Providers

The major providers of “free” debt management plans are CCCS and Payplan. CCCS is primarily funded by creditor organisations such as banks and credit card companies. This funding allows them to provide a debt management plan without charge to a debtor. Payplan operates on a commercial basis and receives payment from creditor organisations in return for their work operating a debt management plan and collecting funds for the creditors.

Both organisations are direct providers of debt management plan advice and plans to the public.

Similarly to commercial debt management providers we suggest that you seek online reviews on their services using web searches. This will provide an insight into the service levels on offer from which you can start to make a decision on which organisation or company to choose.

Citizens Advice Bureau Debt Management Plan Advice

The Citizens Advice Bureau is actually a network of individual charities providing advice on a huge variety of subjects to anyone who gets in touch.

Local CAB’s are staffed by a combination of paid specialist employees and volunteers who use internal systems to assist them in providing advice.

The Citizens Advice Bureau itself is not a direct provider of debt management plans though it has traditionally assisted visitors via written communications with creditors to try to set up debt management arrangements.

More recently it has accepted the need to be able to connect visitors for whom a debt management plan is suitable with a direct provider of debt management plans. The service has been tendered out.

Making a debt management plan decision

There are many factors to be weighed up when making a decision about what sources of debt management plan advice to select. We hope that this article helps readers to make an educated choice.

For further debt management plan advice you can visit the forum on our website. In this forum representatives from three different debt management and debt advice operations are available to provide insight, information and feedback. Additional insight is provided by visitors who themselves are making decisions on which sources of debt management plan advice to trust and select.

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