Customers of Debt Help & Advice and First Step Finance should stop making payments

Debt Help & Advice Ltd and First Step Finance Ltd have stopped trading and been placed in administration. Debt management customers should stop making payments to these companies and Primary Business Solutions Ltd. Find out what else their customers should do.

If you have a debt management plan with Debt Help & Advice, First Step Finance or Primary Business Solutions you should stop making payments to the company immediately. You may have to contact your bank to ensure these payments are stopped.

Debt Help & Advice and its affiliate First Step Finance announced on 20 May 2014 that they have stopped trading. Primary Business Solutions is also affiliated with Debt Help & Advice.

Debt Help & Advice, First Step Finance and Primary Business Solutions were placed in administration on 28 May 2014. The joint administrators are Paul Stanley and Jason Greenhalgh of Begbies Traynor.

We understand that between 3,000 and 3,500 customers have a debt management plan with one of these companies, which are all based in Stockport.

While valid debts will still have to be repaid, payments to Debt Help & Advice and First Step Finance will not reach the creditors.

Debt management customers should also stop making payments to Atria Finance, Sales Help and Advice, and Mortgage Help and Advice, which are trading names used by Debt Help & Advice.

What you should do next

Further information will be provided as it becomes available at the dedicated website https://nextranet.begbies-traynor.com. This website has been set up by the administrators, Begbies Traynor.

The login details for this website, which are case sensitive, are:

Username: FI111ADM
Password: jZ7uBJvM

You can also contact the joint administrators on 0161 837 1766.

While customers can still contact our Consumer Helpline, the joint administrators are likely to have the most up to date information.

For free debt advice you can contact StepChange on 0800 138 1111 or Citizens Advice on 0345 404 0506 (Welsh: 0345 404 0505).

We have contacted these organisations and they are aware of the situation with Debt Help & Advice, First Step Finance and Primary Business Solutions, and can discuss your options.

We also explained the situation to the Money Advice Service, which provides free and impartial information to help people get on top of their debts.

What we are doing

We are working hard to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected.

We are also attempting to contact the creditors of affected customers, to explain the situation and encourage them to take a sympathetic view of repayments while the situation is clarified.

Further information

We took over regulation of consumer credit, which includes debt management firms, on 1 April 2014.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is not available to customers of consumer credit firms.