IVA website defends right to post debtor opinions and comments

Entering into insolvency, be it business or personal, is an emotional
process. Therefore outbursts aimed at creditors or poor old insolvency
practitioners accused of not getting a good deal are commonplace.

A popular website for the IVA community,
IVA.co.uk, has admitted it
has been threatened with court action from IVA providers over what they saw as
slanderous comments posted on the website by disgruntled debtors.

IVA.co.uk admitted that it has moderated comments such as ‘she-devil’ and
‘dogs-breath’ aimed at insolvency practitioners and had dealt with comments that
implied quality of some IVA providers’ service and regulated standards were not
being met.

The website’s problems follow recent tales of internet-based abusive comments
around the insolvency arena.

The recent case of the Butt Ugly Martians, where one party called another a
‘slimeball’ and a ‘frigging liar’ on bulletin boards, as well as leading to a
welter of legal actions against various parties, is a case in point.

While that battle continues in various guises, IVA.co.uk has come out
strongly to defend its right to act as a forum for debtors – welcoming comments
from insolvency practitioners and IVA providers.

‘We would like to see service levels a lot better, and more educational, for
debtors,’ said Andy Davie, IVA.co.uk site manager.

‘We are happy for IVA providers to post on the site and would love more IPs
to do so as well,’ said Davie.

He said the website is there to provide information, and accepts that
creditors have lent money in good faith. ‘I often make this point in posts.’

Davie is disappointed that those within the industry have threatened the
website with legal action, as many postings applaud the efforts of their
insolvency practitioner or debt management business.

He admits though that ‘IVA factories’ receive more criticism from forum
posters compared to smaller insolvency practices.

Melanie Giles, a 20-year qualified IP and poster on the website, does not
favour the site naming and shaming individuals or IPs, but is a great fan of the
site’s potential to bring together all parties involved in the IVA process.

‘There doesn’t really seem anywhere else for debtors to go. It’s ‘nice to put
something back’ into the market, but there was a ‘subtle marketing edge’ for
anyone that takes part,’ said Giles.

‘No-one is excluded from taking part,’ she adds.

‘The site is popular because there’s a huge gap between an IP and dealing
with their regulator,’ said Giles.

The IVA market is undergoing great change, which is affecting the IPs working
within it.

Lenders are looking to alter the fee paid to practitioners so they receive
more funds early on during an IVA.

The Insolvency Practitioners’ Association began acting as watchdog for IVA
providers’ group the Debt Resolution Forum this year.

Related reading