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The OFT has revoked the consumer credit licence of Matthew St John Crossley trading as the Debt Advisory Company.

Through his websites www.thedebtadvisorycompany.co.uk and www.advisorsondebt.co.uk, Mr Crossley advertised 'free independent and impartial debt advice' to consumers with serious debt problems. These web-sites have been closed down.

He is understood to have advised consumers that re-mortgaging would be the best way to solve their debt problems. The consumers then released up to £30,000 equity in their homes and sent this to Mr Crossley so that he could repay creditors on their behalf.

The OFT found that he had:

  • failed to return monies to consumers on request
  • failed to make payments to any or all of the consumers' creditors
  • charged large initial and ongoing fees that appeared to be disproportionate to the work carried out, and
  • made misleading statements and gave misleading advice about the services he provided in order to induce potential clients to enter into a contract.

Such conduct is in clear breach of the OFT's debt management guidance.

Mr Crossley previously operated across the UK and although his exact current whereabouts are unknown, the OFT has received information suggesting that he may now be living abroad. If he was to continue to offer debt management services to UK consumers he would be committing a criminal offence. He is understood to have previously gone by the names of Matthew Crossley, and Matthew Prevett.

Ray Watson, OFT Director for Consumer Credit, said:
"This is one of the most serious cases involving debt management services we have encountered. We have evidence that consumers parted with tens of thousands of pounds and suffered increased financial hardship as a result of Mr St John Crossley's activities."

If you need to find out more about debt management companies and how they work, the procedure and compare the services of debt charities against fee charging firms then see debt management company.

DW comment

Unfortunately there are companies and individuals out there giving the wrong advice - playing on the person's desperation and lack of awareness of their options.

Often debtors will accept the first option given to them just to take the pressure off and in some circumstances this can prove to be disastrous and very costly.

That is why we recommend that oyu contact the Money Advice Service or Stepchange  a free debt charity)

Click here for the OFT press release http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/press/2008/77-08 - dated 30 June 2008


Read more: Office of Fair Trading, OFT, shuts down 'Debt Management Company'



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