IVA Companies to Avoid
Feb 24, 2022 ● 10 min
When looking for debt help, you are likely to come across many companies offering IVAs – Individual Voluntary Arrangements. Whilst in so many circumstances this is a suitable solution, it is not the only one available.
Unfortunately, there are some companies who aim to take advantage of financial situations and end up leaving consumers worse off than when they began.
Here’s a guide on what to look out for when shopping around for IVA providers, with the aim of giving you confidence in choosing what’s right for you:
They have poor reviews
One good reflection of a reliable and trustworthy IVA company is their reviews. These should be readily available online and they are a great way to determine how their past customers feel about them.
Those with only a few reviews or with ones containing lots of negative comments from past customers are probably companies to avoid. It would also be concerning if a company is reluctant to disclose where reviews may be found for them.
Reputable review providers include Feefo, Trustpilot or Google reviews and companies, like ourselves, may also include customer testimonials on their site.
They charge unnecessary fees
We believe any debt and IVA advice you receive should be completely free. That includes any support you receive if you decide that you would like to go ahead with an IVA and a company helps you get an application together.
Any companies that charge upfront fees for their services should be avoided.
This implies that a company is taking advantage of your financial situation and only offering help for their own monetary gains. With an IVA there are certain costs and fees that are standard with an IVA but these should always be included in your monthly payment.
In addition, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement should only be based on what you can reasonably afford to pay each month, so if an IVA company is offering a monthly amount that is unreasonable for you, then this would suggest that they are trying to get more money out of you, or that you actually may qualify for cheaper solutions.
They don’t discuss all of your options
It’s unrealistic to assume that every customer approaching a debt advice service is eligible for an IVA. So, it would be a red flag if a company wants to lead you down an IVA route before you have barely got started in the process with them.
Any financial details you do provide will need to be carefully assessed by an IVA company, and they should only offer an IVA if it is within your best interest. They have a professional and ethical duty to discuss all debt solutions that are available to you, and ultimately it should be your decision what route you take – not theirs.
So you can be prepared, you can always read about what debt solutions are available before you talk with an IVA company.
Companies should absolutely avoid over-guaranteeing their IVA acceptance rate and making promises that your IVA will be approved. Whilst no company should be putting your forward for an IVA without genuine reason to believe this is a suitable solution for you, unexpected issues do arise here and there, meaning an application may be rejected.
This can happen right across the board, so no reputable company will have a 100% success rate – those claiming so would be cause for concern.
It’s not uncommon for companies to reference their IVA acceptance rate – these are usually generated using averages of their previous cases and are an honest reflection of the companies performance. Naturally, a low acceptance rate does not reflect positively on a company, and raises questions as to why so many IVA applications are failing. This is usually down to the IVA company referring consumers for an IVA when they do not in fact qualify.
This can lengthen the process for you and you can find yourself back at square one, searching for other debt solutions whilst your debts and interest continue to build.
They rush you
Entering an IVA is an important life and financial decision, so it’s OK for you to want to take time to consider all of your options, as well as discuss these with any friends or family for a second opinion.
Whilst it’s advisable to act swiftly if you’re dealing with building debt, don’t be pressured by any companies giving you ultimatums or time restraints with your decision making.
Signs of a Promising IVA company
You should feel confident from start to finish with any IVA company that you are dealing with. You should be presented with clear contact details and opening times and should not wait a long time to hear back from the IVA advisors you are dealing with.
Once you have an IVA application underway, you should be kept up to date every step of the way so you know exactly what is happening and what to expect next.
Most companies these days have an online presence and we believe that good IVA companies should have websites readily available for potential and existing customers to look at. Not only should a website be informative but this should be accessible for all users and should be easy to navigate.
It would be questionable if a company wants you to come to their office directly, or wants to arrange a home visit. We’d advise avoiding these, unless you have requested such adjustments to be made yourself.
Private and confidential
This is a basic requirement for any company handling customer information as per GDPR guidelines, so if you are dealing with a company who is not transparent about this, they may be breaking the law.
Legitimate IVAs and Insolvency Practitioners
In order for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement to be legal, it must be handled by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner – someone who is authorised by the Insolvency Practitioners Association. An IVA company may offer to oversee the IVA themselves in-house with their own licensed practitioner, or alternatively they should be able pass your application through to another insolvency company.
In either case, you should be confident that anyone handling your application is reputable, so don’t agree to anything until you know exactly who you’re dealing with.
At Money Advice, we offer a free service and space for you to discuss your debt concerns. We will talk you through an IVA and any other debt solutions that are suitable for you, whilst making you aware of any information we might need in order to help you get debt free.
What’s more, is that we offer a non-obligatory service, so you can listen to what we have to say but will never be pressured to take up any of those options with us.
We’re a team of debt experts and IVA specialists – why not contact us today.