Here is a list of useful organisations you can get in touch with if you have been experiencing financial difficulties or have had problems with a loan
If you are struggling financially or are already in serious financial difficulty, it is important to seek help immediately. There are a number of debt-management companies online and on the high street which will claim to be able to help out with your debts, but rather than deal with them, it is instead strongly recommended to get in touch with the UK's leading debt-support charity, StepChange.
StepChange, formerly known as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, is the UK's leading debt support charity, and to date has helped hundreds of thousands of people to get out of debt.
With over 20 years experience of providing debt support, StepChange is well-placed to help you find the best debt solution for your circumstances. Following an initial assessment of your finances, StepChange will work with you to set-up a debt management plan which will allow you to repay your debts to your creditors affordably. Importantly, StepChange is a debt support charity, not a for-profit company, which means that you will not have to pay a fee to use their services and that any support afforded to you will be given with your best interests in mind.
To find out more about StepChange's services, click here
Another organisation to contact if you are experiencing financial difficulty is the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), who like StepChange, have helped countless British households to get on top of their debts.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a leading national charity which offers free, independent, impartial advice to people who are struggling with financial, legal, or consumer problems from over 3,300 community locations in England and Wales.
You can get in contact with the CAB by telephone to book an appointment, during which they will work with you to assess your finances and then negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to setup an affordable debt management plan. All support is free of charge, independent, and impartial – as with StepChange, the Citizens Advice Bureau is a not-for-profit organisation.
Visit their website here to find out more about their debt support services.
The financial sector plays a crucial role within the wider British economy, which makes the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) role as industry regulator very important.
As the regulatory body for the UK's consumer credit sector, the consumer is at the heart of the organisation's activities, although it doesn't act directly as a consumer champion in the same way as StepChange or the CAB. One of the FCA's key statutory objectives is to protect consumers from unfair, misleading, and unscrupulous practice and, as proven by its shake-up of the payday loans sector, is deeply committed to this role.
You can find out more about the Financial Conduct Authority here
If you have made a complaint to a bank, insurer, or any other financial services company and have been unable to resolve the dispute, or are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to investigate.
FOS are an impartial complaint handling service for customers who are not satisfied with the firms response to a complaint. Upon registering a complaint to FOS, the organisation will investigate your dispute carefully and then make a decision in either your favour or that of the firm you are complaining against. They won't take sides – they are committed to taking on every dispute with an open mind.
If you would like to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, you can get in contact with them by visiting their website here