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Misled by a debt management plan provider

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sets out certain rules and guidance that any organisation or company providing debt management plans (DMP) must follow. These include not misleading you in advertising and marketing information. If a DMP provider misleads you, you can make a complaint.

This page tells you what to do if you think you've been misled by a DMP provider.

Examples of misleading claims by DMP providers

"This DMP is guaranteed to make you debt-free."

"Your creditors have got to co-operate with us."

"We're offering you this DMP as part of a government scheme."

Misleading claims

A DMP provider isn't allowed to say any of the following things:

  • that you'll be debt-free if you take up their DMP
  • telling you about the savings that you will make without telling you that creditors do not have to accept lower payments or freeze interest
  • telling you that they can guarantee your creditors will co-operate
  • that they're giving help or advice as a charity or government or other public body, for example, by advertising a contact number as a government helpline.

If a provider has told you any of these things, it's highly likely they are misleading you.

Misleading advertising

DMP providers must never mislead you in their advertising, marketing or promotional materials. This can include broadcast advertisements on the television or radio, printed adverts in newspapers or magazines, flyers, posters, things a salesperson says to you and advertising on the internet.

The rules DMP providers must follow say that any marketing, promotion or advertising must:

  • be accurate and clear
  • not be misleading, either directly or by leaving out important facts
  • be easy to read, if printed
  • include any warnings or caveats that are necessary, such as a statement explaining that any savings mentioned are estimates.

If a DMP provider's advertising, promotion or marketing doesn't keep to these rules, you can make a complaint.

What to do if a DMP provider has misled you

If you don't yet have an agreement with the DMP provider that has misled you, don't sign anything and walk away.You should make a complaint.

If you do have an agreement with the DMP provider that has misled you, you can still make a complaint. You may also want to think about cancelling your DMP, as there may be better solutions or providers for you.

Next steps

More information

You can find more about rules DMP providers have to follow in the FCA Consumer Credit Sourcebook on the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk.

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