Debt management plan (DMP) providers have to follow rules and guidance set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These include rules about information you must be given before you agree to a DMP.
This page explains what information you must be given by a DMP provider and what you should do if you’re not given the information.
Information you must be given before you sign a contract
Before you sign a contract with a DMP provider, they must give you written information about:
- the service you’re being offered
- the length of your contract
- the total cost of the service or, where it is not possible to state this, an estimate of the cost
- any charge that you can be made to pay for cancelling the contract during the cooling-off period or if you want to end the contract at a later point
- any other costs you may have to pay and when these have to be paid
- the effect on your credit rating
- how your payments to the provider be allocated, that is, how much will be taken in charges by the provider and how much paid to your creditors
- the time within which the provider will pass payments to your creditors and the date of the first payment.
The terms and conditions of the contract must also be fair and easy to understand.
Information a DMP provider can’t include in your contract
Your contract with your DMP provider must not include:
- any clause that says you can’t deal with your creditors yourself
- any declarations that say you fully understand the requirements of the contract or that it has all been fully explained to you.
Other information you must be given
You must also get the following information in writing, either before you sign the contract or after:
- which debts are included in your DMP and which are not
- what could happen if you stop paying your priority debts, such as your mortgage, rent and utilities
- that your creditors can carry on with action to recover the debt, including court action
- what could happen if you ignore letters or contact from creditors.
If you haven’t been given all the information you need
If you already have a contract with the DMP provider and you haven’t been given some of the information you’re entitled to, you should ask the DMC to provide this information. Whether or not they then provide this information, you can also think about making a complaint.
You might also want to think about cancelling your DMP, if you feel that their failure to give you the information means you can’t trust them. Always check what your contract says about cancelling and whether you’ll get a rebate of any of the fees you’ve already paid.
If you don’t have a contract with the DMP provider, then don’t sign or agree to anything until you’ve received all the information you’re entitled to and checked it thoroughly. If the provider refuses to provide this information, it would be best to walk away. You could also make a complaint.