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Since the introduction of Debt Relief Orders (DROs) back on 6th April 2009, 254,000 consumers have successfully applied for a DRO and as a result written off £2.3 Billion of debt.

DROs are seen as a softer form of insolvency for people that have a certain amount of debt, little disposable income and few assets and designed to place the least complicated debt discharge cases on a fast-track through the court system with no personal appearance at court required.

What debts can you put into a DRO?

Read more: £2.3 Billion of consumer debt written off in just 10 years with DROs

 

The Financial Conduct authority (FCA) has written to credit card providers after its own research revealed too many firms were applying multiple late payment fees, sometimes in a single billing cycle, when it was evident that the card holder was experiencing financial difficulty.

For some card holders the applied late payment fees would then have an impact on their already maxed out credit card taking the card holder over their agreed credit limit, this was then an opportunity for the credit card provider to apply another fee for breaching that limit.

The FCA found that in many cases firms who were continuing to apply fees in such instances potentially made the customer’s position worse.

Lower credit limits more at risk

Read more: Credit card customers set to save £80m a year in fees

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have confirmed that a price cap on the rent to own sector will commence on 1 April 2019. Once implemented it will save around 400,000 consumers up to £22.7m a year from excessive charges.

In other words, the industry is to lose £22.7m a year which they receive for what some people say is exploiting the vulnerable.

The new rules on rent to own from 1 April 2019

Read more: New 'rent to own' rules will save customers £22.7m per year

 

February 2019 striking numbers - our top 10 from The Money Charity

  1. 18.66% Average credit card interest rate in December 2018
  2. -5.9% Change in the average real wage since pre-crash peak in February 2008
  3. 26 years and 5 months Time to pay off average credit card debt making only the minimum payment per month
  4. £7,863 Average consumer credit debt per household in December 2018
  5. Total credit card debt in December 2018 was £72.2 billion. Per household this is £2,634

    Read more: The Money Statistics February 2019 - Our top 10

     

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is seeking a three-year pay deal for officers with a five per cent uplift in each year. The claim is to bring police officers pay back to ‘fair levels’.

However, if the government declines the pay award then the Federation will push for a 6.2 per cent rise this year with the increase coming into effect from 1 September.

Details of the pay claim are part of a joint submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) with the Superintendents' Association. The next stage of the PRRB process is the oral evidence sessions scheduled for 27 February - 6 March.

Police officers struggling with debts

Read more: Police Federation - 'We need a 3-year pay deal to rescue officers from financial cliff-edge'

 

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, Action Fraud is reminding everyone how to stay safe from fraudsters especially now that the internet an established way to meet and connect with new people.  Those meeting on dating and other sites need to be on their guard against potential dating scams as scammers use the trust gained on social media to persuade victims to part with large sums, with some frauds going on for years.

The amount of money scammed in 2018

Read more: Our top tips on how to avoid being scammed on Valentine's day

 

Brighthouse, UK’s largest retailer for weekly payment ‘rent to own goods’ is to close 30 stores with 350 jobs at risk. The retailer revealed on its website the stores (10% of the chain) will close over the next two months and those employees affected will be transferred to other jobs within the business but it is inevitable there will be redundancies. The announcement comes as the group battle with a pre tax loss of £22million in their last set of accounts.

What’s gone wrong with BrightHouse?

Read more: Market leader 'rent to own' BrightHouse to close 30 stores with job losses

 

Mike spoke with Eddie Nestor about the rising issue of council tax defaulters and what can be done to help them. Mike then reveals the New guidelines for council tax arrears collection launched by the Money Advice Service (MAS) in December 2018 and then goes through his online guide of Council tax problems - 5 ways to help you pay

How to listen

Read more: BBC Radio London - Drivetime with Eddie Nestor 6.20pm, Tues 29/01/2019

 

The number of people who became insolvent in England and Wales in 2018 was 115,219 up 16.2% on 2017, reports The Insolvency Service, with the highest number of annual insolvencies since 2011. Consumer insolvencies combine Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders (DROs)

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)

There were 71,034 IVAs in 2018, (59,220 - 2017) a 19.9% increase on the year before, and the highest annual level recorded since IVAs were first introduced in 1986.

Read more: Consumer insolvency reaches seven year high as IVA numbers break all records

 

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