The IVA, short for Individual Voluntary Arrangement, is a way to manage debt, helping people reorganise what they owe and get back on track financially. But there’s been a hitch – some people are getting misled into these IVAs, causing them a whole bunch of problems. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has stepped up to fix this, putting rules in place and going after those who break them. This report dives into what the FCA is doing, ongoing steps to protect people from bad IVAs, and some court cases that have tackled this issue.
Johnny Debt’s View of IVAs
If you are a regular reader of this site, you will be aware that Johnny Debt isn’t exactly singing praises for Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). It’s not just about the massive profits companies rake in by selling IVAs in a dodgy way, but also about the fallout if an IVA fails.
Background and Prevalence of Mis-Selling of IVAs
The FCA looked into the IVA scene and found some instances where people were given the wrong info or not enough guidance about whether an IVA was right for them. This meant they ended up with IVAs that didn’t match what they needed, often leading to crazy high fees and financial trouble.
How the FCA Responded to the Mis-selling of
In response, the FCA jumped into action to protect people from getting stuck with bad IVAs. They did things like banning referral fees, making sure companies can’t pay others for sending customers their way. This was to make sure IVA suggestions were all about what’s best for the person, not about making money for someone else.
They also made companies spill all the details about their fees, other debt options, and what could happen with an IVA. The goal was to give people the lowdown so they could make smart choices about managing their debts.
The FCA also started keeping a closer eye on the IVA scene, doing regular checks and cracking down on companies that weren’t playing by the rules. This extra watch is meant to scare off those trying to sell IVAs the wrong way and to keep standards high for protecting people.
Addressing Excessive IVA Fees
The FCA’s moves have helped cut down on the number of bad IVAs, but there’s still a worry about companies charging way too much. The FCA is keeping an eye on their fee structures to make sure they’re fair and clear.
Protecting You and Helping You Decide
To make sure people stay safe, the FCA suggests getting advice from reliable debt advisors before thinking about an IVA. These advisors can give you the lowdown, figure out if an IVA is a good fit, and recommend the best way to handle your debts.
Court Stories: Shining a Light on Bad IVAs
In one case (A v RGL Trustees Limited  EWHC 1080 (Ch)), a person got £31,000 in compensation because they were sold a dodgy IVA. The court said the company didn’t give them enough information about the IVA and pushed them into signing up.
Here are some recent court cases involving mis-sold IVAs and Compensation Awarded:
- D v Debt XXX Limited  EWHC 3885 (Ch) – Awarded £145,000 in compensation.
- B v XXX Limited  EWHC 1931 (Ch) – Awarded £33,000 in compensation.
- C v XXX Finance Limited  EWHC 318 (Ch) – Awarded £42,000 in compensation.
Debt Help Charities have also been found guilty by the FCA for mis-selling of IVAs. One was fined £195,000 and another fined £100,000
It is also worth noting that these fines only come to a very small percentage of a companies profits! So, I very much doubt that the mis-selling of IVAs will stop anytime soon.
Examples of Crazy High Fees
Some people got hit with really big fees for their IVAs. In one case, a person paid £4,570 to set things up and kept paying monthly fees. In another, someone was charged an £8,000 setup fee and £1,000 each month after that.
Wrapping It Up
The FCA has done a lot to cut down on bad IVAs, protecting people from unfair deals and crazy fees. They’re keeping a close eye on things, making sure everyone’s clear about what’s happening, and stressing the importance of making smart choices. If you’re dealing with debt, it’s a good idea to get advice from the pros to make sure you’re making the right moves for your wallet.
Extra Tips for Staying Safe
Besides what the FCA’s doing, here are some tips to keep yourself safe from bad IVAs:
- Get Independent Advice: Talk to a legit debt advisor for unbiased tips on the best debt solutions.
- Check Out Fees: Look into what different IVA providers charge to make sure it’s fair.
- Know the Deal: Understand all the details of an IVA before you commit to it.
- Question Suggestions: Don’t be shy to challenge any pushy or unsolicited suggestions for an IVA.
- Legal Help: If you think you got a raw deal with your IVA, talk to a legal expert to weigh your options and maybe get some compensation.