When you might be charged for advice
This fact sheet covers England & Wales. You will need different advice if you live in Scotland.
When you contacted National Debtline, we gave you some advice about contacting another agency for help with a problem you have.
- We told you that the other agency might charge you a fee for their advice or service. We are sending this information sheet to confirm this to you in writing.
- We have been awarded the Advice Quality Standard for the service we provide and the sending of this leaflet to you is an example of the high standards we must follow when we signpost or refer you to another agency for advice. For more information about this see What is the Advice Quality Standard? later on.
Referring you on to other agencies for advice
There are times when we may need to refer you on to other agencies for further advice. Usually, we only suggest that you contact free services.
Sometimes we may think it is a good idea for you to contact an agency that charges a fee. This can be for lots of different reasons: to get legal advice from a solicitor, advice from an accountant, or for advice on financial products and services from an independent financial adviser.
Examples of the types of organisations that we might have suggested you contact and who might charge you a fee include:
- insolvency practitioners
- independent financial advisers
We will never refer you to a debt-management company that charges you a fee. If you are interested in a free debt management plan, contact us for advice.
Claims-management companies advertise that they can help if you have an unenforceable credit agreement, payment protection insurance or some other claim against one of your creditors. These companies may charge up-front fees and can also take some of the money you win as a fee. We will never suggest you use a claims-management company.
If we suggest that you speak to an insolvency practitioner for an individual voluntary arrangement, we will warn you that they charge a fee for their services.
If you contact one of the insolvency practitioners on National Debtline’s panel, there will be no up-front fee and instead the fee will be taken from the payments that you make towards your debts.
What is the Advice Quality Standard (AQS)?
National Debtline has been awarded the Advice Quality Standard (AQS) by the Advice Services Alliance. The Advice Quality Standard (AQS) is a set of requirements we must meet to make sure that we give you a quality service. One of these requirements says that if we suggest you contact another agency for further advice, we must tell you if they are likely to charge you a fee.
What will we do?
We will do the following.
- Tell you if an agency we refer you on to may charge for their services and give you an idea of the sort of charges you can expect, where possible.
- Tell you if the agency uses a premium rate phone number as it will cost you more when you ring them.
- Make a note on your case record that we have told you about possible charges.
- Send you this information sheet.
What should you do?
- Make sure you ask the agency if there will be a charge.
- Ask for details of how much they will charge you for the service. This might be an up-front fee, a membership fee, payment in instalments or the company may take commission.
- There may be a fee for making applications to court and similar actions.
- It is a good idea to get information about charges in writing.
- If you have any questions about the charges an agency might make, or about this information sheet, contact us for advice.