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    • Amex as with any creditor must help you the FOS should go with you and make them remove all interest charged from the very 1st time of asking for help. the FCA regulations actually almost dictate it, they most certainly clearly state that if the are FCA registered they must help.   it's very telling they have no marked your credit file....almost as if they know they are wrong. it's also telling that an irresponsible lending complaint might well be in order hear too, they can just keep upping the credit limit without checking you can pay. and ofcourse covid plays its part here and they've already admitted as they allowed payments holidays until october in line with the rest of the industry and they should be continuing that. you problem is you keep using the phone, no paperwork no record of things discussed. i'd get an SAR off to them. and get the comms/account log and all the statements from day one and go nail them.
    • Hello CAG, Bit of a long post, may want to get a cuppa before starting reading... 😁   after being a lurker for many years and trying never to get into a mess with credit cards like i did 20 years ago, i've got myself into a mess with Amex... I've tried being open and honest with them, but now getting the feeling they are messing me around.    Its not a chargecard, but a Nectar Credit Card with them. TAKEN out 2016. Balance is just under £15k as of today, was almost at £17k.  Debt still owed by Amex, not been sent to NCO/Arrow etc - YET...    Background (short version): Was all fine with more than min. payment (£500 or so), being made until April 2020 when a number of things reduced my monthly salary from work (mainly, take a pay cut or be made redundant), so I soon quickly realised i needed to tighten my belt quickly. Phoned Amex, advisor said nothing they could do except Payment Holiday. Was put onto that for 3 months, told that Amex will be in touch at the end to restart payments. I asked about interest being stopped/frozen/reduced - not possible. So agreed to payment holiday to give me breathing space. 3 months came and went, no contact from Amex... No payments made, interest still racking up at around £300 a month...    Rang Amex back (July 2020), we cant do anything today because your in the middle of the statement cycle call back next week. Called back week after, no solution yet (i asked about things i seen on Amex US website = Regain program - basically freeze card, lower interest rate and pay a set amount for 12 months - more about this later) > Not available in UK yet.   Want to stay on payment holiday Mister B? I asked if there was any way interest could be stopped as this is making the balance increase and increase. No. Do you want to stay on Payment Holiday? Ok. (Bear in mind, if i came off Payment holiday. Minimum Payment was around £570 per month.  So, stayed on payment holiday... Didnt hear anything from Amex again. Called back up in September 2020. Please call back in October after 10th and we can assist.   Called back after October 10, went through loads of stuff, different options etc, was warned that Payment Holiday might not be extended much longer, but now have a program. Worked out with Amex woman that i could pay around £200 per month. But please stop interest - no we cant but we can reduce this down to 9.9APR instead of 23%... . Amex woman said she needed to submit details to 'Seniors' at Amex, please call back next week for update.   Called back week after, advised that first Amex woman was wrong and had made mistakes, shouldn't have told me what she had told me, £200 is too low, minimum would be £389 per month for 12 months or account will default. Told Amex woman 2 that couldn't afford it, went through this last time, etc etc. Amex woman 2 went off, came back, £329.74 is minimum they can possibly accept, 12 months at that amount per month and interest would be lowered, but not stopped. If you dont take out this 'Program' then account will default and will be passed to NCO or Arrow (I hate them both).  Went off, tried to get loans etc, all refused. Rang Amex back, reluctantly agreed so i can keep credit rating at 'good'.  So, been paying since Nov 2021 @ £329.74.    Letter arrived in December - due to out mess up with moving accounts around whilst on payment holiday, we are going to give you £3074 back. Logged into account, only £30.74 refunded, not £3074. Phoned Amex cos thought it was a joke/mistake - Spoke to some bloke - Oh dont worry, the rest will be applied to account automatically in 7 days. he advised was genuine but then got cut off during call. Called back, spoke to some other bloke, yes, looks genuine but please hold... Came back 10 minutes later. Oh, its a mis-print, you are not the only customer to receive one of these. Each should have been £30.74 not £3074. Me = Gutted.    Wrote a letter to Amex saying how dissatisfied i was with general customer service and felt they were incompetent, blah blah etc. Final response received, Complaint partially upheld, heres £150 credit because we were a bit silly, but thats it. IF your still not happy, go to FOS. Opened a case with FOS... Have sent them the complaint letter to them and have had a call from them about this... FOS are backlogged though and will take another 3 months for complaint to be looked at by them.   Let me make this 100% clear, fully admit to owning the debt, yep, ive spent this money (wish I knew what on, cos having got much to show from it - just general stuff and holidays)... Not trying to shirk out of it, trying my best to keep up with re-payments but im really struggling. After I got paid on 1st April, after paying all outgoings i had £9.83 left in current account so am having to go into overdraft each month which is just a vicious circle.  I would really like to NOT have to down the default route and trash my credit rating and then have to deal with the morons at NCO / Arrow etc.    Meanwhile, this is where I need the advice of the CAG experts... - Credit Limit increases... These were coming every few months and it was just being upped and upped and upped. Credit limit eventually was stopped at £15,400. Some of the increases I never even received letter for, just noticed when I logged into account. >>>> Would this be a case for irresponsible lending?   - Stopping interest - I've read something on FCA site that they recommend (not policy) that if a customer is put onto a payment holiday then they recommend freezing interest for customer so the debt doesn't continue to build. I've asked time and time again, Amex just refuse.  >>>> Any tips on how to get Amex to play ball?    - Full & Final/Short settlement I've rung Amex today, told them I might be able to pay it off. Initially they said full balance, i then pushed, they then said they would accept 80% of balance, pushed them a bit more, got it down to 70%. >>> Surprised, and then very surprised they would accept 70%, anyone else think this is a bit odd? Normally they wont budge, or they wont budge from their first offer... Could their be something wrong on account (missing CCA etc?), or do they want rid of me and account as much as I do with them?   - Cant really keep going at these £329.74 repayments. Something is going to have to give somewhere. I believe they wont go any lower and they will just default it i send £100 instead of £329 and send it out to NCO/Arrow. This might not be a too bad thing though because this would stop the interest right? Anyone thoughts on this?    Anyone think of anything else I could try with them? Again, its still with Amex, not defaulted or anything yet, yep, its all my own fault, i've spent the money, dont deny that, just feel Amex have took advantage etc.   Many thanks for reading. Any advice is greatly appreciated.   Kr, Mista B.     
    • Ok so we have complained to HMRC but were still no further forward with getting the P45/P60. We need this as DVLA has said they need more proof of who he is before giving him a provisional license.  What more can l do. 
    • Hi All   just looking for some advice. I bought a used Porsche Boxster from one of Marshall motor group’s Audi dealers (can I name them?) recently and was assured that it received a major service in October 2020 in line with the manufacturers requirements. The service book confirms this. The dealer also told me on the phone that they have a 6 month rule with any mot or service being done if due within this period which assured me when making an offer over the phone on the car that it wouldn’t need anything doing for a while as I recall saying that.   However, digging through the receipts post delivery I saw that the service was in fact minor and after calling the specialist who serviced it in Oct both they (Sheepishly) and the invoice confirmed that the car did not receive new spark plugs, an air filter, brake fluid replacement or a new fan belt which have now all fallen due and hence the major service due warning light. Had I not investigated this then the car would have potentially gone another 4 years, so 8 in total without some of these items being done.   i emailed the salesman to ask what they would propose to do. The matter is complicated by my living 450 miles away in Scotland, and 200 from their nearest branch, a Mercedes dealer in the Lake District, so I suggested getting my cheapest local specialist to do the works that have fallen due, however I have received no response.   Whilst I am still within my 30 days i don’t want to reject the car, which is otherwise perfect, but the fact remains that the Audi 150 point check only asks for upcoming mot’s to be checked and not services and surely you wouldn’t buy an approved used car and expect to have the service light come on 2 weeks later and have to spend almost £500 putting it right.   i would really appreciate some advice on next steps and perhaps who to escalate this to. Meantime the car is booked in for 2 weeks time to get the work done at the cheapest reputable place I could find.   Many, many thanks in advance
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iMoneyManager - free debt management software


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We've agreed to help distribute this software. It is free and we don't make any money from it.

 

The idea is that you take control of your own debt problems and make your own proposals to your creditors.

 

The idea is to cut out the debt management companies, who take quite a hefty cut meaning that both you and your creditors lose out.

 

Using a DIY system like this could mean that you will clear your debts more quickly as all of your money is channeled through to the creditors.

 

Of course the creditors will be suspicious of it and it may take some pushing to get them to accept it initially.

 

I can tell you also that the Debt Management Companies are not at all pleased about this software and there have been some attempts by the Debt Management industry to obstruct its introduction.

 

Please let us know what you think about it. We will pass on any comments to iMoneyManager so that they can adapt and refine the software.

 

In the end if it turns out that it is no good then we will stop distributing it.

 

But it looks good to us and some of our site team who have very specialist debt management experience are very impressed.

 

You can download it here

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Well spotted.

 

In fact there seems to be a whole series of YouTube tutorial on iMoneyManager

 

YouTube - imoneymanager

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Hi Michael,

 

I'm Miriam. James and I put together iMoneyManager.

Thanks for posting this link. It is actually a video walkthrough of the old 'proof of concept' version. The new version is much improved. We need to hunt around and make sure all the stuff out there is as up to date as possible and forgot that this one was still out there!

 

It's probably the best and most succinct overview. We'll try and update and add more screen walkthroughs as part of the instructions on the Blog as we go.
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Hi

 

I have had a careful look through the MM site and amongst others there was a paragraph early on that took me back a little to say the least 'As you will know by now MoneyManager is not an advice service' (think I read it right).

 

Now, a DMP is just one of a number of options for those with financial difficulties and before anybody enters into one, in my opinion it is paramount that they are are given proper independent advice on all their options and solutions before they make any decisions.

 

Maybe I am missing something here, but the question I wish to ask to start with is... who excactly gives the proper independent advice with this ?

Edited by Wintry
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Is our details given like email address etc safe with this company/software do they give a guarantee that it will not be passed on.

 

I see the software makers have posted here so can they put peoples minds to rest.

 

Thanks

 

Regards

 

PF

If I have been of help to you please feel free to click my scales to the left Thanks.:)

I have no legal training and the advice I offer is what I have learnt here and offered as a matter of support. Before you commit to any Legal action you are advised to contact a qualified legal practitioner.

 

Finally if you succeed with your claim please consider a donation to consumer action group as those donations keep this site alive.

 

CARTER V Co-Op

BANK CHARGES

REFUNDED £3567

 

POMPEYFAITH V Co-Op PPI

OFFER MADE BUT REFUSED

ONGOING AND STILL ONGOING

NOW WITH THE OMBUDSMAN

 

R.I.P BOB aka ROOSTER-UK you have always been a Gent on these boards and you will be remembered for that.

 

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Hi Wintry,

 

Thanks for your questions and concerns. We are always really pleased to get feedback as we constantly are looking at ways we can improve what we have created.

 

When we ran our bankruptcy support service (you can see testimonials on our blog) one of the things that was extremely clear was that the majority of people we helped had procrastinated long beyond the point where they knew they were getting into trouble.

 

The reason they procrastinated was that they felt embarrassed and ashamed and didn’t want to share their problem. Also, many people wanted to try and resolve the problem on their own before talking to a stranger and “admitting defeat”, but didn’t know how to go about it. Unfortunately it is this procrastination that causes much of the longer term debt problems which invariably end up being handled by the free and fee charging money advice sector, many of which end up in insolvency.

 

The purpose of iMoneyManager is to provide people with a tool they can use to understand their problem and communicate their situation confidently to their creditors before things get out of hand. The fact that this can now be done privately and securely in the privacy of their own home encourages them (we hope!) to take action more quickly and allows them to enter into early and sensible communication with their creditors, thus avoiding CCJ’s etc etc.

 

Providing that the repayment plan presented by the iMoneyManager user is agreed by creditors, and the person is aware of, and accepts the fact that:

 

a) The process will negatively impact their credit score (in the same way that defaulting does)

b) Payments need to be made to all creditors for the period of time proposed and agreed

c) They will need to stick to the budget they have created for the period of time shown

 

...this process is the best and least disruptive way to deal with their debts.

 

It is only if they feel that the repayment period is too long for them to handle (they make the decision on this based on the ‘Time to Repay’ figure presented by the software), or if parties are unable to reach and maintain an agreement, that a third party should be needed.

 

iMoneyManager software empowers people to undertake the industry accepted first steps of, assessing their situation and communicating with creditors on their own. But, and this was important to us when we designed the software, if they are unable to reach an agreement, then they already have the basic budget assessments and calculations they and a money advisor will need to quickly consider and decide which option is most appropriate.

 

Using this approach, our hope is that people will be able to address their financial situation sooner, creditors will be more willing to accept affordable pro-rata payment plans due to the ability and willingness of their customer to talk their language, less people get passed on to aggressive collections agencies, less people will receive CCJ’s or resort to insolvency, and the money advice sector can concentrate resources on helping those that cannot reach an acceptable arrangement with their creditors directly or who are not confident or capable of using iMoneyManager.

 

There are already many organisations that provide very valuable advice. Our focus has been to create a practical tool that would empower people to take action on their own, assessing and communicating their situation to their creditors simply and electronically. By providing both parties with visibility into the details of a debt problem, it encourages the user to be realistic about their problem, and the creditor to come to an early and hopefully positive decision regarding their offer.

 

I agree it is logical to consider liaising/partnering with an organisation able to provide quality debt advice to those who cannot reach agreement with their creditors. We have been approached by a number of Fee Charging companies wanting to perform that role, however, we are not comfortable recommending fee charging companies to our users.

 

We have tried to enter into a dialogue with non-profit money advice services, and though we have had many high level meetings with senior people in the this sector, we have not yet been successful in encouraging them to work with us. As more people use iMoneyManager, we are hoping this will change.

 

I hope this answers your question.

 

Have you downloaded and tried out the software yet?

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Hello PF,

 

Yes, your contact details and any of the information you decide to upload to your creditors is strictly private and not shared or divulged to any other parties.

 

We take data protection extremely seriously, in fact a significant chunk of the money that was spent on building the system went into ensuring everything was totally secure.

 

The only reason we ask for an email address is so we can send you Tips and Guidance on how to get the best from the software and from your negotiations with creditors.

 

You can always unsubscribe to this at anytime.

 

Have you got any other concerns or questions I can answer?

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Hi Wintry,

 

Thanks for your questions and concerns. We are always really pleased to get feedback as we constantly are looking at ways we can improve what we have created.

 

When we ran our bankruptcy support service (you can see testimonials on our blog) one of the things that was extremely clear was that the majority of people we helped had procrastinated long beyond the point where they knew they were getting into trouble.

 

The reason they procrastinated was that they felt embarrassed and ashamed and didn’t want to share their problem. Also, many people wanted to try and resolve the problem on their own before talking to a stranger and “admitting defeat”, but didn’t know how to go about it. Unfortunately it is this procrastination that causes much of the longer term debt problems which invariably end up being handled by the free and fee charging money advice sector, many of which end up in insolvency.

 

The purpose of iMoneyManager is to provide people with a tool they can use to understand their problem and communicate their situation confidently to their creditors before things get out of hand. The fact that this can now be done privately and securely in the privacy of their own home encourages them (we hope!) to take action more quickly and allows them to enter into early and sensible communication with their creditors, thus avoiding CCJ’s etc etc.

 

Providing that the repayment plan presented by the iMoneyManager user is agreed by creditors, and the person is aware of, and accepts the fact that:

 

a) The process will negatively impact their credit score (in the same way that defaulting does)

b) Payments need to be made to all creditors for the period of time proposed and agreed

c) They will need to stick to the budget they have created for the period of time shown

 

...this process is the best and least disruptive way to deal with their debts.

 

It is only if they feel that the repayment period is too long for them to handle (they make the decision on this based on the ‘Time to Repay’ figure presented by the software), or if parties are unable to reach and maintain an agreement, that a third party should be needed.

 

iMoneyManager software empowers people to undertake the industry accepted first steps of, assessing their situation and communicating with creditors on their own. But, and this was important to us when we designed the software, if they are unable to reach an agreement, then they already have the basic budget assessments and calculations they and a money advisor will need to quickly consider and decide which option is most appropriate.

 

Using this approach, our hope is that people will be able to address their financial situation sooner, creditors will be more willing to accept affordable pro-rata payment plans due to the ability and willingness of their customer to talk their language, less people get passed on to aggressive collections agencies, less people will receive CCJ’s or resort to insolvency, and the money advice sector can concentrate resources on helping those that cannot reach an acceptable arrangement with their creditors directly or who are not confident or capable of using iMoneyManager.

 

There are already many organisations that provide very valuable advice. Our focus has been to create a practical tool that would empower people to take action on their own, assessing and communicating their situation to their creditors simply and electronically. By providing both parties with visibility into the details of a debt problem, it encourages the user to be realistic about their problem, and the creditor to come to an early and hopefully positive decision regarding their offer.

 

I agree it is logical to consider liaising/partnering with an organisation able to provide quality debt advice to those who cannot reach agreement with their creditors. We have been approached by a number of Fee Charging companies wanting to perform that role, however, we are not comfortable recommending fee charging companies to our users.

 

We have tried to enter into a dialogue with non-profit money advice services, and though we have had many high level meetings with senior people in the this sector, we have not yet been successful in encouraging them to work with us. As more people use iMoneyManager, we are hoping this will change.

 

I hope this answers your question.

 

Have you downloaded and tried out the software yet?

 

Hi James

 

Thank you for the response.

 

I have had a very careful read through the above and your website / blog.

 

With regard to whether your response answers my question I am afraid to say that my answer is no, on the contrary it raises many more questions that concern me.

 

Will be back later

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Hi James

 

'When we ran our bankruptcy support service (you can see testimonials on our blog) one of the things that was extremely clear was that the majority of people we helped had procrastinated long beyond the point where they knew they were getting into trouble'

 

The above early paragraph of your reply caught my eye to start with and I presume the testimonials you refer to are the 'Stop The Worry' ones (sincere apologies if I am mistaken)

 

So firstly, and taking into account that you are not an advice service, could I ask you to elaborate further on your bankruptcy support service, for example, what criteria did / do you use to direct people to the service and are / were there any fees involved to assist people in petitioning for bankruptcy, if that was / is the course they eventually chose / choose, and if so who were / are they paid to?

 

As I have said, the paragraph is a quote from your response / reply and you have asked if there were any more questions so I hope you dont mind me asking these to start with as I do think they are relevant and fair given the overall scope of your response / reply (both to me & pompeyfaith) and taking into account the service you are offering.

Edited by Wintry
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Hi Wintry,

 

Stop the Worry ceased trading in 2008.

 

(All the answers to your questions can be found amongst our client’s testimonials. It might take a while to get through them though, there are quite a few.)

 

The experience gave us a lot of understanding of the problems people encounter when beginning to suffer financial hardship. iMoneyManager was developed to empower those that feel capable, to address their problems proactively and confidently. Our vision always has been to work out a way we could help people to help themselves free of charge, and now we’ve done it we’re pleased and proud of our work, and grateful to all the people who have believed in us and helped us along the way.

 

iMoneyManager is not the right solution for everyone struggling with debt, however our belief is that the best decisions are made from a position of knowledge.

 

Knowledge: information and skills acquired through experience or education.

 

We do not see the role of iMoneyManager as providing advice:

 

Advice: guidance or recommendations offered with regard to future action.

 

Our objective is to give people a tool that provides the user with knowledge of the state of their financial situation, knowledge regarding their ability to repay their debts, and knowledge regarding the decision of their creditors with regards to their best offer of repayment.

 

We believe that the majority of people are intelligent and self respecting enough to want to attempt to address their problem on their own. It is only if they cannot find the resolution they want, that they turn to someone for advice. (In exactly the same way as when I have an argument with my wife, I don’t immediately resort to ringing a marriage counsellor before attempting to resolve the problem with her directly. :) )

 

There are always going to be people that do not agree with what we are trying to achieve. People that believe debt problems are too complicated to handle without involving a debt professional. It is interesting though, that most people who believe this make their living by acting as an intermediary. That’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the decision lies with the individual suffering, not those providing the service.

 

Do you think that iMoneyManager should not be available to people? If so, why?

 

We do welcome any constructive contributions or ideas, and this is a great forum to discuss these. If you continue to have ‘concerns’ or questions, then perhaps you would tell us in what capacity you are voicing them.

 

For example are you: Working for a fee charging debt management company? Do you work for a free money advice charity? Or maybe you are someone who has personal experience of being in debt?

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Hi James

 

(All the answers to your questions can be found amongst our client’s testimonials. It might take a while to get through them though, there are quite a few.)

 

Are they? I will have another look and come back to you, or better still perhaps you could answer them :}

 

I also genuinely believe that those in debt should obtain proper independent advice on all their options / solutions (and the implications of) before they make any decisions and as far as I can see that is not the case here.

 

I agree this is a superb and open forum and I can assure you that I along with many others give my time free (with no financial interest at all) to help and support people who have debt problems.

 

James, as for what I do for a living, is this information a condition as to whether you will answer any questions or address any concerns? What if I was to claim that I am very experienced in debt, money, court and bankruptcy advice and that I have used numerous systems over the years, would that make a difference?

 

'There are always going to be people that do not agree with what we are trying to achieve. People that believe debt problems are too complicated to handle without involving a debt professional. It is interesting though, that most people who believe this make their living by acting as an intermediary. That’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the decision lies with the individual suffering, not those providing the service'

 

With your above paragraph in mind (which incidently I find astonishing) and the questions you have asked me - my question to you is this -are you a profit making business (inclusive of the usual client testimonials) or a charity?

 

Hope to speak again

Edited by Wintry
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first question -

 

The Software may also contain links to websites operated by third parties. These links are provided in good faith, and solely for your convenience, and the provision of such links does not imply any endorsement of or affiliation with such website by us. You acknowledge that such websites are outside our control, that we cannot accept any responsibility for the content or operation thereof, and that it would not be reasonabe to expect us to do so.

 

Why does it link to third parties, and who do you link too?

 

To prepare an offer to creditors, you must first prepare a budget that allows for your reasonable domestic needs, then deivide whats left between your creditors fairly, the question is, as it is a fact people in debt lose focus on the true cost of living, how does your software make sure the user is being realistic? And what are those figures based on?

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Hi.

 

I downloaded the software and did a quick run-through (I'll need to refine the details later, I just wanted to see if it was worth spending the time on it!).

 

One of the things I would say could do with a bit of work, if you don't mind me saying so, is the fact that overdrafts are not included in the calculations?

 

I can't speak for other people but in my case, overdrafts all added up constitute my largest unsecured debt and tackling them is very much of the essence. In the end, I added them up as an unsecured "fixed" debt (as most are on semi-dormant accounts), but the calculations will obviously be somewhat out of whack.

 

On the other hand, just the basic run-through I did crystallised what I already knew, which is I spend so much time chasing my own tail, robbing Peter to pay Paul, that nothing is really progressing, my credit score is knackered anyway, and so I need to take more affirmative action in tackling the issues. This was confirmed by the o/drafts I mention higher up, where the software suggested I make them an offer of £1 a month, which is usually the sign that things have gone too far to manage.

 

I had been toying with the idea to tell some of them I couldn't pay them anymore, and that they could take me to court if they so wish, but this is a much more sensible way of doing things, and at least I'll show good will!

 

So thank you for this, I know that for me, it has been the eye-opener (or the kick up the backside, take your pick, lol) I needed to face facts properly. :-)

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Hi Wintry,

 

You’re asking another question that is dealt with on the blog, here. Things are pretty busy for us at the moment and unfortunately I don’t have time to rewrite what has already been written.

 

If you have any questions relating to the way the iMoneyManager software works I’d be happy to answer them. Any further questions relating to our integrity, motives, or method of operation past or present, have been fully answered in my above posts and on the iMoneyManager blog. We’ve made every effort to be as transparent as possible, the information is available for anyone to see, they just need to take the time to read through it.

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Hello blind-as-a-bat,

 

Thanks for your questions.

 

The quote you’ve taken is from our terms and conditions. Currently the software does not link to third party companies however we have plans to add links, so this section was included in advance.

 

Who do we intend to link to?

 

One of the most important steps someone can take once they’ve recognised a financial problem is to try and see if they can increase income coming into the household, or reduce expenditure. There is a lot of quality information that is available from a variety of sources and our intention is to build in links to these resources at the appropriate place in the software, rather than attempting to replicate information that is already available.

 

For example, we think that there are a number of excellent electronic Benefits Checkers available. We are looking to link to one of these (non-profit/charitable) services to help people find out whether they are entitled to additional benefits. Moneysavingexpert.com is a great resource for tips and guidance on how to reduce expenditure, we may well provide a link on the software to that site too.

 

None of the links we are considering would cost the user to access, introduce the user to fee charging debt services, or provide us with a commission.

 

Re: Realistic budgets. You are absolutely right. If someone is used to boosting their income by using credit on a regular basis, it can be quite hard to rein in spending and work to a budget that would be considered reasonable to creditors. The prescriptive income and expenditure sheets often sent out by creditors mean it is easier for the user to just fill in the blanks rather than think carefully about all household expenditure some of which can remain hidden in day-to-day living.

 

The structure used within iMoneyManager to gather household expenses data is broken into logical areas of expenditure. Within each area are fields that relate to usual expenses, but also the option of adding extra rows and personalising the budget they create. This is supported with suggestions regarding expenses they may have missed or might not have taken into consideration in the instructions on the blog.

 

To help people think about their expenses in an easier way we have added a function that allows people to think about their expenses a format they are used to. Many people don’t think about all of their expenses on a monthly basis. For example, lots of people go clothes shopping for their children once a quarter, or think about the cost of an annual holiday or Christmas presents as an amount they spend each year. The software allows the person to set the frequency they spend the money (quarterly, annually etc) and the software converts this into a monthly budget amount automatically.

 

Using this approach we hope will encourage people to be realistic and sensible about the budgets they create. What is considered ‘reasonable’ is a matter of perception for many though, and we agree it would be useful for people to get an idea if they are spending more than an averagely acceptable amount when they are entering information.

 

Most creditors and many within the money advice sector use ‘trigger figures’ to flag up overspending. These trigger figures vary from creditor to creditor but most are based on Office of National Statistics Data for Family Expenditure. For many within the credit industry and money advice sector, it is these figures that constitute ‘reasonable’ expenses depending on family size. The Insolvency Service publish this data and a whole load of other really interesting stuff in the Technical Manual on their website, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

You can download the 2010 updated figures from the Insolvency Service website here. (It's in Microsoft Excel)

 

We’ve already planned the inclusion of prompts in the software based on these figures to flag overspending. It will be a while before these changes come into effect though.

 

It is important to say that in any correspondence with creditors it is vital that people enter a true and accurate representation of their financial circumstances and be prepared to back up the figures they declare with proof if asked (bills, receipts, doctor’s certificates etc). A clear and honest negotiation is conducted on the basis of truth. If the person submitting information is found to be falsifying their circumstances, it shatters the trust that is built up and the negotiations will fail.

 

However, providing the person owing the money is prepared and able to back up their declaration, giving people automatic guidance regarding ‘reasonable’ expenditure in the presentation of their finances will speed up the process of identifying whether a negotiated settlement is possible for both consumer and creditor. It will save a lot of unnecessary backwards and forwards, that for the creditor constitutes money and resource, and for the consumer, stress and anxiety.

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You can download the 2010 updated figures from the Insolvency Service website here. (It's in Microsoft Excel)

 

Or in HTML on my site, a link has been posted on another thread on CAG somewhere;)

 

Have sent you a PM, im up to my neck in it too, so was a bit rushed, hope it makes some sense

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Hi Bookworm,

 

Thanks for your post and your thoughts.

 

It’s really encouraging to hear you thought the software was useful.

The handling of overdrafts is something you’ve prompted me to think through again. Including overdrafts actually in the calculations, has been something of a conundrum to be honest. The reason being is many creditors consider an agreed long-term overdraft as an acceptable state of affairs, and therefore are unlikely to accept it being added to the list of debts presented (unless the account is no longer being used and is being chased in the same way as other debts). The other issue is that by adding an overdraft to the list, the iMoneyManager user will immediately wreck their relationship with their bank which in turn will cause them additional problems.

 

Adding a whole load of functions that allow the user to include the overdraft in repayment calculations and time to repay calculations, but exclude them if they wish from the repayment proposal is too complicated to code into the software in the short term, hence the reason it was left to one side.

 

But your comments have caused me to consider how we might adjust the software easily, and still allow the user to get what they need which is a budget and repayment plan, whilst still considering the repayment of their overdraft.

 

So I’ve come up with this. The first thing is to add a row in the ‘Other Expenses’ section entitled ‘Overdraft Payments’. This means the user can add a regular amount into their budget that will chip away at their overdraft. The second is to adjust the instructions on the front of the debts screen.

 

I’ll make it clear re: the potential problems that may arise as a result of the bank’s ‘right of set off’ and put a link to the article on our blog on that topic (see here).

 

If the person’s situation is extreme and/or creditors refuse the budgeted amount for repaying the overdraft on the repayment proposal, then the best course of action would be to set up a parachute account (see the blog link above) and add the overdraft to the list of debts in the debt section, then resubmit the payment proposal to creditors.

 

We should be able to get the adjustments done pretty quickly.

 

I’ll let you know when they have been done and released and you can log into your iMoneyManager to receive an auto-update with the changes.

 

Any more thoughts would be gratefully received.

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Hi Wintry,

 

You’re asking another question that is dealt with on the blog, here. Things are pretty busy for us at the moment and unfortunately I don’t have time to rewrite what has already been written.

 

If you have any questions relating to the way the iMoneyManager software works I’d be happy to answer them. Any further questions relating to our integrity, motives, or method of operation past or present, have been fully answered in my above posts and on the iMoneyManager blog. We’ve made every effort to be as transparent as possible, the information is available for anyone to see, they just need to take the time to read through it.

 

Hi James

 

Thanks again for your reply

 

Sorry, I definitely do not agree that my questions have been fully answered by the way of your blog or that indeed I have been given any straight answers by you.

 

I think you may have hit on a good point here though with regard to transparency as that is basically where I am coming from before discussing the software (which I happen to think is basically a good idea if clients have obtained full advice and a DMP is appropriate)

 

'Making the effort' to be as transparent as possible is an interesting statement that I welcome and I hope (in good faith) to give you further opportunity to demonstrate this.

 

After reading your posts I have many more fundamental questions and points to raise both with regard to transparency, advice and the software, the question is - will you answer them.

 

PS... have you heard of the recently launched online creditor supported CASHflow Assisted Debt Mangement system (link below)

 

Money Advice Trust -

 

I think that one of the fundamental differences between MM and the CASHflow system is that clients 'are actually given full advice & support by a recognised independent non profit agency' before, during & possibly after they use it (if a DMP is the appropriate course of action). And as I have already said I believe this to be quite important.

 

Also on another note, yesterday I came across someone who had been charged many hundreds of pounds by an organisation to complete their bankruptcy forms after first being in a payment arrangement that failed and then being contacted by (or was it introduced to, I cant quite remember as I have been very busy since) this organisation, wondered what your opinions and views are on this type of thing.

 

Will be back later

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hi Wintry,

 

You’re asking another question that is dealt with on the blog, here. Things are pretty busy for us at the moment and unfortunately I don’t have time to rewrite what has already been written.

 

If you have any questions relating to the way the iMoneyManager software works I’d be happy to answer them. Any further questions relating to our integrity, motives, or method of operation past or present, have been fully answered in my above posts and on the iMoneyManager blog. We’ve made every effort to be as transparent as possible, the information is available for anyone to see, they just need to take the time to read through it.

 

Hi James

 

I came across this thread on another forum (I appreciate it may not be of any association or connection)

 

Stop the worry - MoneySavingExpert.com Forums

 

For the sake of transparency, I hope the mods on this site dont mind me posting this link -

 

I mean, just think if an organisation as alluded to in the linked thread (especially if they are not an advice service) managed to obtain a client database along with the information already available on the Insolvency Service Public Register.

 

James, as I have already said, I appreciate there may not be any association or connection, but either way (and given the client testimonials etc) I was just wondering if you have any comments or opinions on this type of outfit ?

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It would be helpful if there was a facility to transfer the summary into an Excel spreadhseet or failing that, print it off.

Also I don't know what I am doing wrong, but once you come out of the summary, when you go back in all you get is a pie chart and you cannot see the an itemised summary of your income and expenditure.

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Hi Bookworm, just a quick post to let you know the changes have been made to the software as laid out in my previous post.

 

If you'd like to log onto iMoneyManager again you'll get an automatic update with the changes.

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Hello Surfer01, thanks for your comments/suggestions.

 

Once you have entered your details you can see all the info you've entered under the Healthcheck section. You should arrive at the subsection 'Budget Review' where you can review in a vertical list all the information you've entered. Each entry contains a link back to the section and the data you put in.

 

After you've uploaded your information to go through the process of communicating with creditors, you can print the summary information by clicking on 'Review Offer Sent'. This will bring up a sheet in a browser that you can print out.

 

Re: the Summary Pie chart you mention. This is shown in the first screen of each section once you've entered information. You should be able to click through the rest of the screens within the section to see the data you've entered by using the Tabs or the Next button, or even click on the segments of the pie itself and it will take you to the relevant section.

 

I acknowledge there is definitely room for improvement, and we'll be revisiting this again over the next few months, but hopefully in the short-term this will give you what you're looking for.

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Have you included some measures to make sure the user does not exceed the CFS? if not, your wasting your time, it will never be recognised by creditors, but more to the point, you wasting the time, and creating more stress for those that use it.

 

But also, have you built in some safeguards to protect the user from under estimating there realistic financial needs?

 

I already know the answer, and you know I do James

 

This app IS dangerous, and pointless, as it does not contain the safeguards needed to give it credibility nor protect the user.

 

Bank fodder, if this is of no benefit to the site financially, pull it now, even if it is, I would strongly urge you to pull it anyway, before it undermines the sites reputation.

 

I expect this post to disappear, but don’t say you where not warned.

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