Sector requires urgent regulation
WHILE the last two years has seen an explosion in debt management companies dealing with customers in arrears, bill management companies have been working quietly for decades to cater for prudent householders.
However, regardless of how careful Home Payments' 2,000 customers had been to put money aside to cover their monthly expenses, their experience highlights the woeful lack of regulation of the sector.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in June he was examining the issue of how to regulate debt-management and advice services, which often charge householders hefty fees to renegotiate and manage their debt-repayments.
The National Consumer Agency admitted yesterday, however, that bill payment services had not even been on the radar of financial bodies, but they would now seek urgent regulation to ringfence householder funds where a company gets into trouble.