Terms of Service

Debt Advice Foundation is a charity registered in England & Wales (number 1148498).

By agreeing to use the Debt Advice Foundation debt advice helpline, you acknowledge you have read, understood and accepted these Terms of Service.

Our Terms of Service set out the legal meanings of some of the words we use, what we agree to do and how we agree to do it. They also set out how we protect your personal information.

1.  Definition of terms

This is what we mean when we use the following words:

‘You’; our client and your partner, where your partner has consented to having their personal details included in the financial review and where debts are in joint names.

‘Us’ or ‘Our’ or ‘We’; Debt Advice Foundation of 1 Anchor Court, Commercial Road, Darwen, BB3 0DB.

‘Creditors’; any and all of your unsecured creditors whose details you will provide to us in accordance with section 4 below.

‘Debt Solution Programme’; a plan of repayments produced by the product provider in accordance with section 3 below.

‘Period’; the period during which the Debt Solution Programme is in operation.

‘Fees’; the fees to be paid by you in accordance with the terms of the Debt Solution Programme.

‘Monthly Payment’; the total amount paid by you every month as part of your Debt Solution Programme.

Product Provider’; is an organisation which deals with your creditors and is licensed to carry out debt adjusting on your behalf.

2.  Agreement

You request and we agree to provide you with a debt advisory service in accordance with these Terms of Service.  Once you have provided consent, we will pass on your details to a reputable product provider to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf.

3.  Our responsibilities

3.1  We will undertake a comprehensive review your current financial situation, including an analysis of your income (all the money that comes into your household), your essential and priority expenditure (things like rent or mortgage, gas, electricity, food, transport to work and any repayments towards loans that secured against an asset such as your home), unsecured debts (such as credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans) and assets (things you own that have a saleable value, such as property and cars).

3.2  Using this information, we will calculate the amount that you have available to offer to your creditors each month.  We do this by working out how much you have left over after essential household expenditure and priority payments have been accounted for (we do not include payments to your unsecured creditors in this calculation).  We will then recommend the most appropriate solution for your situation in accordance with the charity’s ethical debt advice charter.  In order of importance, this says that: 

  • Our advice will fully solve the person's debt problem
  • We will recommend the least drastic and most appropriate solution available
  • We will aim to achieve the above in the shortest time possible

3.3  The Debt Solution Programme that we recommend could be any one of, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Administration Order
  • Free Debt Management Plan
  • Debt Relief Order (DRO)
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
  • Bankruptcy/Sequestration
  • Protect Trust Deed
  • Debt Arrangement scheme

3.4  If the debt solution you choose requires the services of a specialist product provider then we will ask you whether you consent to having your details passed to a partner organisation.

3.5  If you choose a Debt Management Plan, we will pass your details to Payplan, a provider of free Debt Management Plans.  Free debt management means 100% of your monthly payment goes towards repaying your debt, without any deductions for fees.  If you choose an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, we will pass your details to Carrington George Associates, a specialist insolvency practice.  If you choose a Trust Deed then we will pass your details to KPMG, Europe’s largest integrated firm of accountants.

3.6  The product provider will attempt to agree with your creditors, where appropriate, that they freeze or reduce interest and charges and that they suspend or withdraw enforcement proceedings issued in connection with your agreements with them.  We can give no guarantees that interest rates will be frozen or reduced, or that legal action by your creditors will be stopped.

3.7  Your creditors may continue to charge interest and other recovery charges whilst your Debt Solution Programme is being set up.  If you choose a Debt Management Plan, your creditors may also continue to charge interest and other recovery charges throughout the course of the plan.  Where this happens, interest and other recovery charges will be paid off as part of your Debt Solution Programme.

4.  Your responsibilities

4.1  You will provide to us on request all relevant financial information.  This will include (but not be limited to) details of your household income and expenditure, unsecured credit agreements, secured credit agreements, any court  judgements made against you or any other enforcement action being taken against you.

4.2  You will provide verbal consent for us to transfer your details to an appropriate product provider which will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf.

4.3  You will agree to perform your duties in accordance with the terms of the Debt Solution Programme provided by the product provider.

4.4  Should your circumstances or any other relevant matter change during the Debt Solution Programme, it is your responsibility to inform your product provider.

4.5  If your creditors do not disclose all required information to the product provider, you will endeavour to obtain this information and supply to the product provider accordingly.

4.6  You remain responsible for continuing to pay any secured loans, mortgages or hire purchase agreements and all essential expenditure items such as household bills.

5.  Fees

5.1   Some Debt Solution Programmes generate income for the charity. These are Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Protected Trust Deeds and Debt Management Plans.  Only about five per cent of the calls to our helpline result in these Debt Solution Programmes.

5.2  If a Debt Management Plan is the most appropriate solution for you, we will only ever recommend you use a product provider which does not charge you fees.  Free product providers are part of a voluntary funding scheme called Fairshare, which allows lenders to financially support the free debt management sector. This means that all of your monthly payment goes towards your debt with no deduction for fees.

5.3  We will provide you with an explanation of how the fees in the chosen Debt Solution Programme will be calculated.  The product provider will provide you with a full written break down of anticipated fees before you make a final decision on whether or not you wish to proceed with the Debt Solution Programme.

5.4  The income that we receive will enable the charity to carry out its objects, namely: 

The prevention or relief of poverty for the public benefit and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, this may include:

  • the provision of free, impartial and appropriate advice to people with unaffordable debt;
  • to help people with debt problems to gain access to appropriate solutions that will help them;
  • to promote education, for the public benefit, in financial capability and money management so as to reduce the likelihood of debt misuse;
  • to undertake or fund research to understand why problem debt happens and its effect on individuals, families and the wider United Kingdom economy and to disseminate useful results.

6.  Termination of agreement

Once we have introduced you to a product provider, our formal agreement with you ends.  However, you may call us at any time to discuss your case.

7.  Data Protection Statement

7.1  We will use your personal information to: 

  • prepare your Financial Statement;
  • recommend the Debt Solution Programme that we believe is most appropriate for your current financial situation;
  • introduce your case to a product provider, assuming you have given your consent.

7.2  Other than as set out above, we will only disclose your personal information when we are required to do so by law, court order or as requested by other government or law enforcement authorities.

7.3  You may contact our Data Protection Officer in writing at any time at the address given below  if you want to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you (see Legal notices page).

7.4  Please note that telephone calls may be recorded for monitoring and training purposes.