6 June 2023

BBC Scotland’s programme Disclosure – The Debt Dealers features Money Advice Scotland’s Training Development Lead, Ged Mulvey, who spoke to reporter Sam Poling about the impact of being in the wrong debt solution. The programme focuses on the trust deed market in Scotland, and in particular how some providers advertise and sign up clients.

Ged Mulvey said: “For the right person, a trust deed can absolutely be the right solution and there are some great trust deed providers out there.

“However, our concern is that someone who would have been better suited to another debt solution can end up in a trust deed. Because clients will pay fees to their trust deed provider and these are typically paid more at the start, if the trust deed fails due to a client being unable to maintain payments (indicating it was not the most appropriate solution in the first place), they can find themselves back in their original position with their debt outstanding but having paid significant fees to their trust deed provider – as we see with Cassandra who is featured in the programme. She should have never been in a trust deed based on her circumstances.”

The programme also discusses the FCA’s upcoming intervention in this market with its ban on debt packagers (third parties who receive a referral fee from passing a client to a trust deed provider). However, this does not completely mitigate the risk of clients going into a trust deed when it is not the best option for them; as we see in the programme, many trust deed providers use social media and digital advertising to target people and encourage them to get in touch, with no third party referrer needed.

The programme highlights the importance of the free money advice sector in Scotland, where organisations like Christians Against Poverty and StepChange (both featured) and others such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, local authorities, and other free-to-client money advice agencies can assess each client’s individual circumstances to determine which option will be best for them in helping them with their debt.

For more information on where to access free advice, visit our website

Disclosure – The Debt Dealers airs on BBC 1 Scotland at 8pm Monday 19th June and BBC Iplayer.