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Popular Sources of Trust Deed Advice

26th October 2010

The Trust-Deed.co.uk 2010 survey included a question regarding the sources of debt advice and trust deed advice utilised by visitors to the site. This provides an interesting insight into which sources of trust deed advice are the most popular for people contemplating how best to deal with serious debts.

75% of the survey participants had spoken directly to a trust deed company. Such companies employ very highly trained and regulated individuals (insolvency practitioners) to lead their operations. They are also subject to inspection by their regulatory bodies. This provides a degree of reassurance to those who contact such companies. However, it is clear from both the trust deed forum on this website, and the results of the survey, that the quality of service varies hugely between such companies. We would therefore suggest anyone contemplating contacting a trust deed company is thoughtful about finding one they have good reason to trust.

61% of respondents relied upon websites for information about exactly what trust deeds are and how they work. Websites are a natural first port of call for those looking for information on a massive range of subjects. They are convenient and allow people to learn more about debt solution options in their own time and at their own pace. However, there is growing evidence that the standard of information and advice provided by some debt advisory websites is not of an acceptable standard. The OFT recently conducted a review of UK debt advice websites and were extremely critical of those where “selling” appeared to be more important than providing balanced advice. In particular, some websites almost entirely ignore the drawbacks of debt solutions such as protected trust deeds, choosing to only emphasise the positives.

25% of the survey respondents had spoken with general debt help lines. Many debt advice organisations and debt management companies offer such help lines to the public. At their best they provide almost instant access to information and advice which might otherwise take a long time to research. A note of caution exists with such help lines however. The recent Office of Fair Trading review of debt advice operations in the UK noted that many such help lines were staffed by individuals who lacked the knowledge to properly advise callers. In the worst cases the employees were seen as little more than salespeople pushing callers towards the option that suited the advisor’s company best. Professional qualifications in debt advice are available but many such help lines have not as yet ensured their staff are appropriately qualified to offer accurate and in-depth advice.

24% of visitors had spoken with the Citizens Advice Bureau in their local area. The CAB employs highly trained debt advisers. They also provide internal systems which allow their volunteer advisors to assist visitors who are worried about personal debt. The CAB is generally viewed very positively as an advice source on a huge variety of subjects. They do not provide trust deeds themselves, but may direct people towards a particular trust deed company if they consider it to be appropriate.

16% of respondents had spoken with Money Advisers. Such advisers are typically very well trained and are able to advise on the full variety of debt solutions. Similarly to the Citizens Advice Bureau they cannot directly provide a trust deed. They will however direct people to a trust deed company where it appears correct to do so.

With a variety of sources of advice available we strongly encourage people to take time over any decisions about how to best deal with their debts. It is more important to make the right decision than it is to make a quick decision.

We also encourage anyone who has been referred to a particular trust deed company (by another type of adviser) to satisfy themselves that this particular company is the right one for them. While tough regulation is in place for such companies, the importance of providing high quality client service seems a low priority for some.

The next article in the series will examine whether people believe the advice they have received from various sources was either accurate or useful.

For further Trust Deed news and information, please visit our forum where we have a wealth of free advice from experienced industry experts.

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Wylie & Bisset Grant Thornton

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