Debt Help & Advice Ltd, the debt management business, has announced it has ceased trading.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) believes the company – based in Stockport but registered in Cumbria – has between 3,000 and 3,500 customers that have a plan with it or its many affiliated firms.
The FCA has warned people with a debt management plan with Debt Help & Advice Ltd should cease making payments to the company immediately.
The Regulator says that, while valid debts will still need to be paid, as Debt Help & Advice Ltd is no longer operating, consumers should not continue making payments to them as those payments will not reach their creditors.
The company has a troubled history. In October 2013, Stockport-based First Step Finance Ltd (FSF) was stripped of its credit licence by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), after the then regulator identified “serious concerns” about the transparency and integrity of its practices.
Its assets and operations were purchased by Debt Help & Advice, which employed as directors several members of FSF’s former management team.
The FCA said it was “working hard to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected” and would give further updates, via its website, Twitter or further press statements, as and when they become available.
Debt Help & Advice Ltd also uses a number of trading names, so the FCA says no money should be paid to the following:
• Atria Finance
• Sales Help and Advice
• Debt Help and Advice
• Debt Help & Advice
• DH and A
• DH & A