Tuesday 28 February 2017

'Adviser told me I was going to lose my house'

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

"YOU are going to lose your house."

That was the stark warning of one debt management adviser when I said I needed time to think about their plan to resolve my (fictional) debt problem.

Posing as a stressed, recently separated woman with mounting arrears on a €1,350-a-month mortgage and with €12,000 in credit card and personal debt, I was advised to sort out my mortgage myself, but then enter into a long-term repayment plan to pay off the €12,000 unsecured debt.

The company, Debt Advisory Centre Ireland, would negotiate to freeze my credit cards and get further interest stopped. In return I would pay the company €225 upfront, and a €32.50 monthly fee for the next seven years until my debts were cleared.

This would mean I'd pay Debt Advisory Centre Ireland a total of €2,760 for their services of managing my monthly repayments.

I had called the Irish number listed on their website, which also contained a Dublin 4 address, but was put through to a call centre in England.

The adviser I spoke to was pleasant and went through a detailed assessment of my income, debts and expenses, before outlining a repayment plan to pay off the €12,000 at a rate of €187 a month -- including the fee outlined above.

He said he could not guarantee success freezing the debts but they had a strong success rate and a lot of Irish customers.

I would need to open a new bank account and close my old one before proceeding.

The hard sell came when I said I needed to think about it and would ring them back when I had, rather than have them contact me as he wanted.

I said I was worried about losing my credit rating, but he told me I should not think about this as I would sink further into arrears and was in danger of losing my house.

Irish Independent

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