If you’ve taken the decision to enter into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, then it’s vital to get the right insolvency practitioner from the outset. Unfortunately, once you’ve entered into an IVA then it isn’t possible to change the company or practitioner acting on your behalf, since he or she will have been legally appointed by your creditors.
If you find yourself unhappy with the service being provided by your chosen advisor (for whatever reason) then you should try and resolve the situation as quickly as possible by using these three easy steps:
- In the first instance, speak to your IVA companies advisor about any concerns you might have. Ideally, he or she will be able to offer you some reassurance and answer any specific questions you might have – whether that relates to the IVA itself or the way in which they’re managing it on your behalf.
- If initial talks don’t resolve the situation, then you should ask to see a copy of the firm’s complaints procedure. This will usually request that you put any concerns in writing (and this is certainly advisable). Complaints are usually dealt with in-house by an impartial person i.e. not the person who’s handling your IVA. Instead, complaints will typically be reviewed by a Compliance Officer or trained Complaints Manager. In your letter of complaint, you should outline any concerns you might have and if appropriate, advise what sort of action you’d like them to take on your behalf to put things right.
- If this course of action still doesn’t resolve the issue, then you can escalate your complaint to the Insolvency Service. This is a Government department which is ultimately responsible for overseeing the activities of all Insolvency Practitioners across the UK.
Whilst the vast majority of complaints are resolved by this stage, you can also opt to cancel your IVA and try another debt management solution. You should, however, remain mindful that if you come out of your IVA your creditors will remain at liberty to take further action against you i.e. by pursuing you directly for the debt amount or even applying to make you bankrupt. For this reason, you shouldn’t be tempted to come out of an IVA without very good reason – and certainly not before looking at other appropriate options.
That said – and depending on your circumstances – you can start a new IVA with another company, although you will be required to start your payments all over again. Another option, of course, is to file for bankruptcy. This can certainly be a solution in certain circumstances – for example, if you don’t own any property and it won’t impact on your employment status. Remember that certain professions (such as the police force, armed forces and so on) have certain clauses within employment contracts which mean you could lose your job in the event you file for bankruptcy – or, in the alternative, creditors apply to make you bankrupt. Consequently, you should give the matter due consideration before deciding on the best way forward.