Beware of DMP's (debt management plans) - and review!

I had a call from Tracey last week. Tracy explained that her husband (Neil) and she had been in a DMP (Debt Management Plan) for around six years. Neil's accountant had suggested she call us.
 
Oct. 25, 2012 - PRLog -- Tracey was disabled and received income of around £500 per month which included benefits and a part time job. Neil was self-employed as a mechanic and earned around £1250 per month - this income had not increased for 3 years and was unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future.

Tracey and Neil owned a house but it was in negative equity. Despite this, Tracey didn't want to give up their house because it was home to her and Neil and their two children, aged 10 and 12.

Tracey and Neil's credit card debt amounted to £96,000 - there was no other unsecured debt. They had paid £150 per month for 6 years to the DMP Company - a total of £10,800.

To me, these circumstances are not appropriate for a DMP - maybe 6 months but not 6 years! The case should have been dealt with as a bankruptcy or an IVA years ago - probably a bankruptcy. Tracey explained that her mom would help with bankruptcy costs, if this was the right way to proceed - as she would have done 6 years previously.  

If Tracey and Neil had gone down the bankruptcy route the unsecured debts would have been written off years ago. With a 5 year IVA they would now have been debt free - of the unsecured debt.

A DMP is a short term solution usually to a short term problem. Other solutions should be considered if the problem isn't fixed fairly quickly. In any event, the plan should be reviewed at least every 6 months to make sure the debtors are receiving the best advice and they fully understand all the implications of their position.  

Who stands to benefit from a prolonged DMP?

Tim Corfield

October 2012

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