I am going to try to answer you all best as I can in this so here it goes...
I have signed back up to Experian today so I can look at my Credit Score and see if all creditors etc are on there but because it is reactivation and I also have a change of address it will take another 24 hours to check!!
Income and expenditure has been done - luckily I already went through this with StepChange a couple of weeks ago but had to redo some today as some amounts were wrong - been through it twice today with 2 different people and hoping that the second one is the one that will stick!!
The lady that called me today was IVA in StepChange and I have to admit she seemed quite pushy for us to go IVA even though we had previously said several times we dont really want to go down that route!! I know they only really push it so much now cos they get money out of it but as we dont know what our circumstances are going to be in the future I do not want to get tied down to something that might end up backfiring later on!! I did not find her very helpful and she almost put us off StepChange entirely!
As far as I am aware there is no ppi on them because i always thought that was a con from the start - I am very wary about taking out insurances like that!! There are probably defaults in the way that I have been paying lower than the agreed amounts but I do not think there are any charges on them - I tried to handle it myself up until now and found all creditors really helpful although they were only talking about freezing interest for 40 days on one, 2 months on another and about 9 months on another!!
They are all after 2007 unfortunately!!
Not a homeowner - renting at mo. Do not really want to go down bankruptcy route - this would be absolute last resort for us.
I have had a look through the citizens advice link thank you - which seems really useful and have used the tools on there briefly today - will need to look more in depth on there!!
I phoned StepChange again today after telephone meeting I had with them this morning as I wanted unbiased information regarding my options. 2nd phone call was very helpful - spoke to a man that went through the reasons for dmp but also said that it is something I can opt out of at any time - in his words it is more like a gentlemens agreement. He explained again that every bit of money I pay to them goes to the creditors. He went through my i&e again and I changed what I wasnt happy with - the lady this morning made me feel like I shouldnt be changing it whereas he was more than happy to help and was only interested in doing what was best for me!! I gave him the amount I think I can afford - after going through i&e I am sure we can manage £100 a month - when I changed it with the lady she came back with a ridiculously low figure which I think she inputted the information wrong!! whereas I was only £11 off with him! I asked about freezing the interest and he did seem quite hopeful but said he would advise a dmp as at least it all then goes through them and we do not have to worry as much! he said they will usually listen more to them as they have been running so long and I suppose also because they know more of what they are doing!! he did say that I can do it on my own if I wanted to and went thorugh the options there of things to send to the creditors ie i&e report etc. I asked him if one month I have a bit of money left over can I pay it or will it go against me - he said that if there are any months that think I can pay a bit more then just call them and they will up the payment just for that month for me and will pay all the creditors with it evenly. I asked quite a few questions and overall I was very happy with what we discussed and he made me feel very comfortable and put me at ease!! I am 99% sure after that conversation that I will be going through dmp with StepChange rather than doing it myself - I think that just having that extra bit of support there will help as well rather than thinking I am doing it all on my own! Hopefully it will relieve some of the added stress!
Thank you to everyone that has replied I really have found everything you have all said helpful - I hope I have answered you all!!