When the following words with capital letters are used in the Terms and Conditions of Business this is what they mean:
“Agreement” means the agreement between You and Us comprising these Terms and Conditions and the Client Authority Form.
“You” and “Your” means you the person / persons entering into this Agreement named in the Debt Management Plan.
“Us”, “We” and “Our” means Bridgewater Support Solutions Ltd, registered office Bridgewater House. 58-60 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 6LT Co. Registration No 7556890. DFH and DFH Financial Solutions are trading names of Bridgewater Support Solutions Ltd.
“Clause” means a clause of these Terms and Conditions.
“Creditors” means all the businesses / people that You owe money to and who are included in Your Debt Management Plan.
“Debt Management Plan” means a non-statutory agreement between You and one or more of Your Creditors, the aim of which is to discharge or liquidate Your debts, by making regular payments to Us who will administer the plan and distribute the money to Your Creditors.
“Line of Debt” means each individual credit agreement which You hold with Your Creditors, for example if You were to have two separate loans with one Creditor this would be two Lines of Debt.
“Period” means the period during which the Debt Management Plan is in operation.
“Monthly Payment to the Debt Management Plan” means the total payment made each month by You to Bridgewater Support Solutions Ltd, to distribute between the Creditors.
“Monthly Repayments” means the total amount paid by Us to the Creditors each month
“Initial Setup Charge” There is an initial set-up charge for the initial set up of Your Debt Management Plan.
“Monthly Management Charge” This is the charge made on distribution to Creditors starting from month one.
“Services” means the services to be provided by Us to You as set out in Clause 4.
“Client Account” means a segregated, designated client account in which We hold money in trust on Your behalf.
“Cleared Funds” means:
(a) any cash, postal orders or banker’s drafts made payable to Us which We have received from You and placed in Our Client Account;
(b) any monies which has been received from You by electronic transfer (such as by standing order, Faster Payment or bank giro credit transfer), or debit card and which have not been returned unpaid within two working days; or
(c) any cheques which We have received from You and placed in to Our Client Account which have not been returned unpaid within seven working days.
1.1. There is an Initial Fee equivalent to 49% of your monthly payment per month taken from your first six monthly payments to the Debt Management Plan subject to a maximum of £200. Your fees will never exceed 50% of any monthly payment to the Debt Management Plan. This charge will cover:
1.1.1. agreeing a personal monthly budget with You and creating an income and expenditure statement;
1.1.2. calculating Your Monthly Payment to the Debt Management Plan and negotiating with each of Your Creditors to agree to an affordable Monthly Repayment made from the Debt Management Plan to Your Creditors and requesting that they freeze interest and charges;
1.1.3. agreeing a desired outcome with You;
1.1.4. administration and preparation of Your Debt Management Plan; and
1.1.5. the setting up of Monthly Repayments schedule with each of Your Creditors.
1.2. There is a monthly management charge from month seven of your Debt Management Plan of 23.5% of your monthly payment which will be taken from the monthly payment to the Debt Management Plan. This will be subject to a minimum fee of £39.50 and a maximum of £100.
This charge will cover:
1.2.1. distributing Monthly Repayments to each of Your Creditors;
1.2.2. support and advice regarding any Creditor correspondence i.e. emails, phone calls, letters, and advice on what Creditors can or cannot do;
1.2.3. Our priority debt department being on hand, specialising in managing pre-court legal issues;
1.2.4. conducting annual reviews to make sure the Debt Management Plan is affordable, sustainable and appropriate, and renegotiating with Creditors to try to keep any agreements in place;
1.2.5. reviewing the agreed outcome of the Debt Management Plan and making changes as required; and
1.2.6. conducting reviews if You have a change in circumstance and ensuring that the Monthly Payment is affordable to You.
1.3. Our total fees for each month which are made up of the Initial Setup Charge and the Monthly Management Charge will never exceed 50% of Your Monthly Payment.
1.4. Our fees are exclusive of any future value added tax (VAT) or other sales tax. The provision of Our Services is currently VAT exempt.
1.5. As We will be charging You fees You should be aware that our Services are profit-seeking and that We can only act on Your behalf when We are able to take fees from Your disposable income.
1.6. Any fee retained covers the work carried out in the duties of maintaining Your Debt Management Plan.
2.1. You request Us and We agree to act on Your behalf, as debt advisors to provide the Services offered in the Agreement. The Agreement shall begin once We have received the signed and completed Client Authority Form. The Agreement shall continue until the final Monthly Repayment has been made to the Creditors or either you or us terminate the plan in accordance with clause 7.
2.2. Please take Your time in reading and understanding these Terms and Conditions so that You fully understand the obligations upon You and the level of service that You can expect from Us.
2.3. These Terms and Conditions are governed by English law, written in English Language in which We will communicate throughout the Agreement.
2.4. When You instruct Us to deal with Your financial affairs, this instruction is limited to negotiating with the Creditors included within Your Debt Management Plan on Your behalf
2.5. You should be aware that if We advise You to stop making payments directly to Your unsecured Creditors, but instead to Us via Your Debt Management Plan, then Your debts may increase for a period of time and You may fall into, or fall further into, arrears.
3.1. We, Bridgewater Support Solutions (company number 07556890) (trading as DFH Financial Solutions) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), firm reference number 669218. You can verify this on the FCA’s Register by visiting the FCA’s website www.register.fca.org.uk or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
3.2. Being regulated by the FCA means that We are obliged to comply at all times with the Principles for Business (PRIN) as laid down by the FCA (which includes the obligation to try to treat You fairly). The FCA may review Our Debt Management Plans from time to time to ensure that we are complying with Our obligations.
4. Our Responsibilities
4.1. Based on the information provided to Us by You, We will review Your income and expenditure. We will propose a Debt Management Plan which will suggest a Monthly Payment which We believe You can afford over an estimated period of time. This suggested Monthly Payment will include the Monthly Repayment to the Creditors and also Our fees.
4.2. We will notify Your Creditors of Our Agreement and negotiate with them on Your behalf to attempt to agree revised repayment terms. In particular We shall try to obtain their agreement to freeze or reduce interest charges and to suspend or withdraw any proceedings against You but We cannot guarantee that they will agree to this. Also there is no guarantee that current or future legal action or proceedings will be suspended or withdrawn. You should read the important information section of these Terms and Conditions for more information.
4.3. If Your circumstances should change and You are not able to meet the Monthly Payment We shall review Your financial situation to ensure that the Debt Management Plan is still affordable sustainable and appropriate, and renegotiate with Your Creditors where necessary. We will revise the Debt Management Plan accordingly.
4.4. We shall pay Your Creditors in accordance with the Debt Management Plan.
4.5. All payments made by You to Us will be paid into a Client Account which is separate to Our own business accounts. At all times money held in this account to be paid to Creditors will be classed as client monies. Funds are held in non-interest bearing client accounts.
4.6. We will provide You with an annual statement listing Your Creditors, the status of Our negotiations with them, the Monthly Repayments made to them and the fees which We have charged You.
4.7. We are not authorised to lend You money or offer You any credit facilities.
4.8. During initial conversations or during any review with You, We will build a picture of Your individual circumstances, take details of all of Your income and expenditure commitments, the status of Your debts and take account of any plans for the future that You may have. Taking into account Your affordability and the level of debt We will let You know about debt solutions that may be suitable for You.
4.9. We will confirm Your selected debt solution to You and where We offer that debt solution We will make contact with Your Creditors. If we do not offer the selected debt solution We will provide You with additional information on where to seek assistance.
4.10. We will keep You informed on the progress of requesting Your Creditors to freeze/reduce interest and charges. Freezing interest and charges can never be guaranteed.
4.11. We may recommend that if You have an active bank account with one of Your Creditors that You open a separate bank account with an organisation that You do not owe any money to.
5. Your responsibilities
5.1. You will provide Us with the relevant and accurate information relating to Your finances. This includes income and expenditure, Your Creditors and any agreements that You may have with them, any loans, mortgages, any dependents and any judgments made against You. We require evidence to support Your stated income and expenditure.
5.2. It is Your responsibility to provide proof of Your income and expenditure when returning Your signed documentation, and at least annually thereafter.
5.3. You will need to sign the authority forms and make Your agreed Monthly Payment to the Debt Management Plan.
5.4. You will send any statements etc. from Creditors and any documentation regarding Your Creditors and the money that You owe to them. Once the Debt Management Plan has commenced You will agree not to use Your credit cards or take out any loans. You will endeavour to keep to the expenditure as set out in the Debt Management Plan and not incur any further debt.
5.5. You will inform Us of any change in financial circumstances so that We can review the Debt Management Plan accordingly.
5.6. You will remain responsible for continuing to pay any secured loans, mortgages or hire purchase agreements and all household bills. It is important that You continue to pay taxes, fines, child support payments and debts which could result in loss of access to essential goods or services, or eviction or repossession of Your home.
5.7. If You do not maintain Your regular Monthly Payment to the Debt Management Plan We will suspend any ongoing activity and any Monthly Repayments. Your Creditors may have to be informed that payments are not being maintained. This may result in Your Creditors instigating or continuing any legal action against You for which We cannot be held responsible. There is also the risk that bankruptcy proceedings may be brought against You.
5.8. If You are unable to use any payment protection insurance and / or any charges applied to any account You hold where You are charged for use of that facility i.e. monthly premium on Your bank account, then You are responsible for cancelling these.
5.9. You must not ignore any correspondence that You receive from any of Your Creditors.
5.10. You must complete a review of Your personal and financial circumstances on at least an annual basis, failure to do so may make it difficult for Us to continue to service Your Debt Management Plan.
5.11. If Your Debt Management Plan is in joint names with any other person(s), We will treat instructions from any person named in the Debt Management Plan as the instructions of all persons named in the Debt Management Plan.
6. Payment Terms
6.1. All Monthly Payments to the Debt Management Plan received in Cleared Funds will be paid directly into Our Client Account. From this payment We will pay the agreed Monthly Repayment to the appropriate Creditors and will deduct Our Initial Set Up Charge/Monthly Management Charge, where applicable and any other agreed payment.
6.2. We will make the agreed Monthly Repayments on a pro-rata basis to Your Creditors normally within five working days of receiving Cleared Funds.
6.3. Your Creditors may receive a reduced payment. This will place Your account into arrears or further arrears.
6.4. If You do not provide Us with all required information to enable Us to pay a Creditor included in Your Debt Management Plan e.g. bank details, account reference number, bank sort code We may not be able to make payment to the Creditor and the pending payment will be placed ‘on hold’. This means that We may hold the money payable to the Creditor for more than 5 working days. When a payment is placed ‘on hold’ the Creditor may continue to add interest and charges which may otherwise not have been added and We will not be liable for these. This may also adversely impact Your credit file and Your ability to obtain future credit.
6.5. If We receive from You a sum of money which is lower than Your Monthly Payment amount i.e. where You make weekly or fortnightly payments to the Debt Management Plan, We may retain this payment for more than five working days. We will retain this amount until We have received the agreed Monthly Payment amount and then We will make a distribution to Your Creditors. You can request that We return any money held on account (less any fees due) at any point in time by contacting Us at Bridgewater House. 58-60 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 6LT or by telephone on 0161 228 6194. In these circumstances We will notify Your Creditors that We have received this money and that We intend to hold this money for more than five working days.
6.6. We will send You confirmation that Monthly Repayments have been distributed to Your Creditors and the amount retained by Us by post or e-mail.
7 Termination of the Agreement
7.1. Pursuant to the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004, You have a “cooling off” period of fourteen calendar days. You may terminate the Agreement without charge at any time during this fourteen calendar day period, starting the day after the Agreement is formed in accordance with Clause 2 of these Terms and Conditions. You can do this by writing to Us at the address above or by telephone on 0161 228 6194. We will, within 30 calendar days, then refund any Cleared Funds that have not been distributed to Your Creditors.
7.2. After the 14 day cooling off period You may terminate the Agreement at any time giving two weeks’ notice to the address above. In this instance We reserve the right to retain the Initial Setup Charge/Monthly Management Charge for Services already provided to You.
7.3. We may terminate The Agreement at any time by giving You two weeks prior written notice in the following circumstances:
7.3.1. You fail to make successive Monthly Payments to the Debt Management Plan; or
7.3.2. You are otherwise in serious breach or have persistently committed a series of minor breaches (even if any one individual breach would not necessarily be regarded as a serious breach on its own) of the Agreement; or
7.3.3. You become bankrupt, file a bankruptcy petition, make an arrangement or composition with Your Creditors generally, or make an application to a court of competent jurisdiction for protection from Your Creditors generally; or
7.3.4. We are prevented from fulfilling Our obligations by reason of force majeure (namely circumstances beyond Our control).
7.3.5. We are prevented from reviewing Your Debt Management Plan (for whatever reason) or if Our review of Your Debt Management Plan suggests to Us that it should be terminated.
7.4. It is Your responsibility to cancel any payment method set with Your bank.
7.5. If for any reason We are unable to communicate or correspond with You for a sustained period of time We do reserve the right to terminate the Agreement.
8. When this Agreement ends
8.1. On termination of the Agreement Our duties and obligations under the Agreement will come to an end.
8.2. You may within 30 days of the end of the Agreement request Us to return all paperwork received from You or Your Creditors that has been retained by Us or provided to Us. Upon expiry of 30 days period We reserve the right to securely destroy any paperwork that We hold.
8.3. Your liability to Your Creditors will continue to the extent that any amounts You owe to Your Creditors remain outstanding over and above the Monthly Repayments made to them under the Debt Management Plan.
9. Data Protection Statement
9.1. We will collect personal information about You both directly from You and Your Creditors as authorised by Your Client Authority Form. We may also collect further information as a result of managing Your Debt Management Plan.
9.2. We will use Your personal information to provide Our Services to You.
9.3. If Your Debt Management Plan is in joint names, We may share Your information with any other person(s) also named in the Debt Management Plan. If either person named in the Debt Management Plan no longer wishes to have their information shared in this way, You must tell Us and We can set up individual Debt Management Plans.
9.4. We may, subject to Clause 9.5, also use Your personal information to provide You with details of other products and services which We think may be of interest to You.
9.5. Please let Us know if You do not want Us to disclose Your personal information by writing to Us at Bridgewater House. 58-60 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 6LT or by telephone on 0161 228 6194 or by email at customerservices@localhost.
9.6. Other than as set out above, We will only disclose Your personal information to the extent required by law, court order or as requested by other government or law enforcement authorities or to any entity or company to whom We either transfer or subcontract any or all of Our obligations to or any person/s authorised by you.
9.7. At any time You may contact Us to request a copy of the personal information that We hold about You. There will be a charge of £10.00 for dealing with each such request
9.8. If You have been referred to or from Bridgewater Support Solutions Ltd or a third party, in some circumstances a commission may be paid for the referral. If You would like more details please email customerservices@localhost.
9.9. We may transfer all or any of Our rights and obligations under the Agreement to another person, firm, company or organisation. If this happens, We will always tell You in writing, but this will not affect Your rights under the Agreement including Your right to cancel the Agreement at any time nor Your other legal rights. We will try to ensure that any party to whom We transfer Our rights and obligations will provide the Services on the same or better terms.
9.10. Subject to Clause 9.5 and 9.11 of these Terms and Conditions, We may also use Your personal information to contact You to provide You with details of other products and services which We think may be of interest to You, including those offered by selected third parties. We may share personal information with these selected third parties and they may contact You directly to provide You with details of such products and services.
9.11. If You receive products or services from other companies within the same group as Bridgewater Support Solutions Ltd We may inform them of any change of Your name, address and / or Your contact details. They may contact You for further verification before updating their records. It remains Your responsibility to ensure that companies who provide services to You hold up to date contact details.
9.12. If You have opted to receive information from Us by SMS text message (or email, or other electronic means), You:
9.12.1. are responsible for the security of Your mobile telephone (or personal computer or other electronic means);
9.12.2. must take all reasonable precautions to prevent anyone else from accessing Your information, including using all security features available on Your mobile telephone (or personal computer or other electronic means); and
9.12.3. must tell Us immediately if Your mobile telephone (or personal computer or other electronic means) is lost, Your number (or email address) changes or if You suspect someone may have access to the information We send to You.
10. Important Information
10.1. Some Creditors may continue to charge interest or other charges. We cannot always prevent these but if there are any charges by a Creditor they will be included and be paid off as part of the Debt Management Plan.
10.2. Contractual payments may not be met during the Debt Management Plan.
10.3. The Debt Management Plan is likely to adversely impact on Your credit file with the result being You might not be able to obtain credit in the short term and that there is some likelihood that You may not be able to obtain credit in the medium to long term either.
10.4. Reduced or no payments to Your Creditors will affect Your credit rating and increase the likelihood of falling in to arrears or further arrears. Debt recovery actions, including the issue of default notices and instigation of legal proceedings can ensue, and these may lead to You incurring further costs.
10.5. Making reduced payments to Your Creditors may cause them to issue default notices which will be registered against You on Your credit file for 6 years.
10.6. We are not solicitors nor legal advisors and cannot (and will not) give You any legal advice should any of Your Creditors take further action.
10.7. We will not arrange for anybody to attend any court hearing on Your behalf unless We expressly agree with You to do so, and if so We may charge an additional fee for such service as agreed with You in advance of the court hearing.
10.8. Where an alternative debt solution is available to You, We will provide additional information to You with regard to any suitable solution(s).
10.9. Free debt counselling services are available to customers and You can find out more information by contacting the Money Advice Service at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en.
10.10. Impartial sources of information concerning dealing with creditors are published by the Insolvency Service (England and Wales), the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland) and debt advice published by the Scottish Government.
11.1. We hope that You do not have a reason to make a complaint or express any dissatisfaction about the Services that You receive from Us. However, if for any reason You feel dissatisfied with Our Services We would ask that You telephone Us on 0161 228 6194. We will listen to Your complaint and will try to do everything that We can to resolve it. If You would rather write to Us about a complaint or issue then please write to Us at DFH Financial Solutions, Bridgewater House. 58-60 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 6LT or email customerservices@localhost.
11.2. We will attempt to resolve the matter within three working days. If We are unable to resolve Your complaint/dissatisfaction within three working days or You remain dissatisfied with Our response We will investigate further and provide You with a final written response within 8 weeks of when Your complaint was received. We may ask You for additional information should further information be required to investigate Your complaint.
11.3. If after You received Our final response You remain dissatisfied or 8 weeks has elapsed from raising a complaint, You can take the matter further by contacting the Financial Ombudsman www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk in writing to Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR or via telephone on 0800 023 4567 free of charge.
12.1. We may from time to time make changes to these Terms and Conditions. Before We make any such change We will give You not less than 28 days’ prior notice. If You do not wish to accept the proposed changes then You can exercise Your right to cancel the Agreement under Clause 7.2 above.