At the end of a phonecall with one of my clients, she asks if she can put her friend on. Let's call her Justine. Justine's not working, is on disability, and has some money problems - we work out it's about £6,000 of debt, mostly made up of Council Tax, water, and credit cards.
This is a pretty verbatim transcript.
Client: I spoke to some insolvency organisation but I'm confused.
Adviser: Hmm. Did they talk about your income and your spending?
Client: Yeah. They're having some sort of meeting this week. I don't really understand it.
Adviser: Did that budget say you've got money left over?
Client: Yeah, about £65.
Adviser: Does that sound right to you?
Client: No, they sort of made it say that.
Adviser: Right. This is probably what's called an IVA - you'll probably be expected to make that payment for five years. I don't know for definite until we've talked a bit more, but it's very likely you can get what's called a Debt Relief Order.
Client: Oh yeah, I had one of those. They said I couldn't have one now.
Adviser: When did you have it?
Adviser: Well, that doesn't sound right - it's been more than six years, that's what matters. If you are eligible, it's a one-off £90 fee, and we can possibly get a charity to pay that.
Client: That'd be so much better.
Adviser: Why don't you come in for an appointment and we can talk more about it. You can bring in any letters you've got - and if you're eligible and you decide a Debt Relief Order's better for you, we can help you set that up.
Client: That'd be great. You make a lot more sense than they did.