Terms of Business
We want your decision to use Even Keel Financial Limited’s financial management services to be the best decision you ever take towards regaining control of your financial affairs. To that end we aim to be completely transparent in all our dealings with you, so these Terms of Business explain our obligations to you and yours to us. They will be at the heart of our relationship, and our contract with you, so please take time to read them carefully.
These Terms of Business apply to all Even Keel Financial’s clients. They may be added to or changed by particular terms for some of our other services. These other terms will be brought to your attention at the appropriate time.
Definition of terms
"Agreement" means the agreement between You and Us made mainly on these Terms of Business.
"Cleared Funds" means (i) any postal orders or banker's drafts made payable to Us which We have received from You; (ii) any monies which We have received into our bank account or Client Account from You by electronic transfer (such as by Standing Order, Direct Debit or bank giro credit transfer) and which have not been returned unpaid within five working days; and/or (iii) any cheques which We have received from You which have not been returned unpaid within seven working days.
"Client Account" means the account where any monies held on behalf of our clients are kept and which is not used for the purpose of our own business.
"Client Form of Authority" means the form enclosed with these Terms of Business which We ask You to sign to give Us authority to contact your Creditors and to act on your behalf.
"Creditors" means all of the people or businesses You have told Us You owe money to and who are included in your Debt Management Plan.
"Debt Management Plan" means the financial management programme of Monthly Payments by which You repay your Creditors through Us and pay for our Services, prepared by Us based on the information provided by You, as revised from time to time.
"Fees" means the Initial Fee and the Monthly Fee. An estimate of the total Fees payable by You to Us under this Agreement is set out in your draft Debt Management Plan issued by Us in accordance with section 2.1 below.
"Initial Fee" means your first Monthly Payment (subject to a minimum of £100.00 and a maximum of £500.00) which is paid by You to Us as an initial fee for our Services in assessing your financial situation and setting up your Debt Management Plan, and which is not used to pay your Creditors. If your first Monthly Payment exceeds £500.00 then, after deducting the Initial Fee, the surplus will be distributed to your Creditors on a pro rata basis.
"Monthly Fee" means the monthly Fee payable for our Services. This is an amount equal to 15% of your Monthly Payment, subject to a minimum of £30 and a maximum of £75 per month. There is no Monthly Fee payable on your first Monthly Payment as You pay the Initial Fee.
"Monthly Payment" means the total amount which is paid every month by You to Us throughout your Debt Management Plan. This is made up of the Monthly Repayment to be made to your Creditors, our Monthly Fee and any other payments as instructed or agreed with You.
"Monthly Repayment" means the part of the Monthly Payment to be paid by Us on your behalf to your Creditors.
"Services" means the services We agree to provide You with under this Agreement.
"Term" means the period running from the start of this Agreement as explained in section 1.2 until We stop providing You with Services. An estimate of how long the Term will last is set out in your draft Debt Management Plan issued by Us in accordance with section 2.1 below.
"Terms of Business" means these terms and conditions of business.
"Us" and "We" means Even Keel Financial Limited, whose registered address is Watson House, 398-400 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth BH8 8BN. Company No.7580076, Consumer Credit Licence No. 0643158 or anyone to whom we transfer our obligations and rights under this Agreement.
"You" means you, the person(s) entering into this Agreement named in the Debt Management Plan.
1. Appointment and Term
1.1 You appoint Us and We agree to act on your behalf, as debt counsellors and debt adjusters and to provide the Services.
1.2 This Agreement will start when You confirm your acceptance of these Terms of Business either by telephone or by returning the completed Client Authority Form or, if earlier, on the day when We receive the Initial Fee from You in cleared funds.
1.3 This Agreement will continue for the Term, unless ended earlier by You as set out in sections 1.4 and 7 or by Us as set out in section 8.
1.4 You have a right to cancel our agreement at any time during the first 14 days of the Term. "Days" here include Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. You can do this by writing to Us at the above address or by telephone on 0854 450 3713 saying You wish to cancel. We will then refund to You any Fees already paid to Us that are cleared funds. Any monies already distributed to your Creditors will not be refunded.
2. What We will do
2.1 Based upon information provided by You to Us, We will review your income, outgoings and living expenses and prepare and issue to You a draft Debt Management Plan in respect of those types of debt which do not fall within the exclusions set out in section 5.2 below. This will indicate a Monthly Payment which We believe You can afford. It will also include an estimate of how long it will take You to repay your Creditors.
2.2 Once the Agreement starts We will notify your Creditors of our involvement and will attempt to agree with them revised payment terms on your behalf. We will in particular attempt to persuade your Creditors, where appropriate, to accept reduced monthly repayments from You, not to charge interest and to either suspend or withdraw any recovery, or similar, proceedings, which they may already have taken against You or may have threatened to bring against You. We will endeavour to provide as much assistance to You as We can, based on our expertise and experience of dealing with creditors.
2.3 Following receipt of the Initial Fee in cleared funds We will prepare and issue a Debt Management Plan, normally within 28 days. This may vary from the earlier draft depending on the accuracy of the information You originally provided to Us and our discussions with your Creditors.
2.4 If your circumstances change and You are unable to meet the payments set out in the Debt management Plan, We shall attempt to re-negotiate with your Creditors and arrange with You a revised Debt Management Plan. We will in any event periodically review your situation, normally every twelve months or earlier if your Creditors insist, and We will prepare and issue a revised Debt Management Plan with You and your Creditors if this is appropriate.
2.5 We shall provide to You a periodic statement listing your Creditors, the status of any negotiations with them and the Monthly Repayments made to them
2.6 We shall keep You informed of all material communications between your Creditors and Us, and We shall deal with all communications from your Creditors to Us (or to You and provided by You to Us) appropriately and promptly.
3. What You will pay
3.1 You will pay Us the Initial Fee, the Monthly Fee and the Monthly Repayments and any other fees agreed in writing between You and Us for additional services.
4. How We handle your money
4.1 All payments that We receive from You in cleared funds will be paid directly into our Client Account. The only payments which We will make out of our Client Account are, in order of priority:
(a) payment of our Fees including any arrears;
(b) payment of the Monthly Repayments to your Creditors in accordance with the Debt Management Plan; and
(c) Any other payments as instructed or agreed with You.
4.2 We will distribute the Monthly Repayments amongst your Creditors in accordance with the Debt Management Plan, normally within five working days of receipt of the Monthly Payment from You in cleared funds. If there is a delay in any payment which is not beyond our control, We shall take the appropriate action to put You in the position You would have been in if the payment had been made within five working days in cleared funds and shall make good any additional interest which has accrued and any default charges that have been applied to the account as a result of the delay
5. What We won't do
5.1 We cannot lend You money or offer You any credit facilities.
5.2 We will not usually provide the Services in relation to secured credit / priority debts (such as secured loans, mortgages and certain hire purchase arrangements), rent (including rent arrears), utility bill payments (including arrears) and other similar debts unless specifically agreed.
5.3 We are not solicitors and cannot give You any legal advice.
5.4 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 will charge an additional fee for such service as agreed with You in advance of the court hearing.
5.5 Whilst We will attempt to agree revised payment terms with your Creditors in accordance with section 2, We cannot stop your Creditors from continuing to charge You interest and other charges, or from continuing any current, or bringing any future, recovery proceedings against You if they want to do this.
6. What You will do
6.1 You must provide Us with full, accurate and truthful details on the form We provide to You of your net income, outgoings, Creditors and dependants and You must also provide Us with details of any outstanding judgments against You or any actual or threatened court proceedings. You must, where possible, send to Us copies or originals of documents to confirm these details.
6.2 You must make the agreed Monthly Payments to Us in accordance with the Debt Management plan.
6.3 You must allow Us to negotiate on your behalf with your Creditors.
6.4 You must send Us originals or copies of all correspondence You receive from your Creditors so that We can deal with them on your behalf. Your correspondence will be scanned and stored by Us as an electronic image and the original paperwork destroyed. If originals are provided We can only return them to You if You request this prior to posting.
6.5 During the Term You must not make any payments directly to your Creditors unless You have notified Us in advance that You propose to do so and We have agreed that such payment can be made. We will not withhold our agreement for You to do so unless We have good reason to.
6.6 You must tell Us if your circumstances change so that You are or may become unable to maintain the level of Monthly Payments or if there has been an improvement in your circumstances so that You are able to increase your level of Monthly Payments. We will require two weeks’ notice from You to make any amendments to any Standing Order arrangements You make for payment of the Monthly Payments to Us.
6.7 During the Term You must incur no further debts, whether on credit or otherwise, other than those relating to your normal living expenses.
7. How You may end this Agreement
7.1 You have the right to cancel this Agreement under section 1.4.
7.2 You may also cancel this Agreement at any time if the total Fees payable under the Debt Management Plan differ significantly from the Fees estimated in the draft Debt Management Plan issued by Us in accordance with section 2.1 above submitted to You. In the event of cancellation under this section 7.2, We reserve the right to retain the Initial Fee.
7.3 In addition to your right to cancel under sections 7.1 and 7.2, You may also end this Agreement at any time by giving Us two weeks’ prior written notice which You may serve at any time whether or not You believe We may have been in breach of our obligations under this Agreement. In the event of cancellation under this section 7.3, We reserve the right to retain the Initial Fee.
8. How We may end this Agreement
8.1 We may end this Agreement at any time by giving You two weeks’ prior written notice if any of the following happens:
(a) You fail to make three successive Monthly Payments; or
(b) You are otherwise in serious breach of this Agreement or have persistently committed a (b) You are otherwise in serious breach of this agreement 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); or
(c) 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.
9. Effect of ending this Agreement
9.1 When this Agreement ends:
(a) our duties and obligations under this Agreement will come to an end;
(b) your liability to your Creditors will continue to the extent that any amounts You owe to your Creditors remain outstanding over and above the repayments made to them under the Debt Management Plan; and
(c) You may within 30 days of the end of this Agreement request Us to send You copies of all paperwork received from You or your Creditors that has been retained by Us as a scanned image.
10. Personal information
10.1 We agree to keep confidential all information received from or about You. We will not pass this information to anyone else without your permission, except in line with our data protection statement contained in section 11 or to such of your Creditors as is necessary in order for Us to negotiate repayments with such Creditors, including Creditors who may process your data outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
10.2 If You have opted to receive information from Us by SMS text message (or email, or other electronic means), You are responsible for the security of your mobile telephone (or personal computer) - and 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) - and for informing Us immediately if your mobile telephone (or personal computer) is lost, your number (or email address) changes or if You suspect someone may have access to the information We send You.
11. Data protection statement
11.1 Please read this statement carefully as it explains what personal information We collect about You and how We use this information.
11.2 We collect personal information (which may include sensitive personal data) about You both directly from You when You apply for our Services and from your Creditors as authorised by your Client Form of Authority. We may also collect further information as a result of managing your Debt Management Plan.
11.3 We will use your personal information to provide our Services to You, and in particular to:
(a) prepare and issue to You your Debt Management Plan;
(b) negotiate with your Creditors on your behalf; and
(c) keep You informed about your Debt Management Plan and our Services.
11.4 Subject to section 11.5 We may also use your personal information to contact You to provide You 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.
11.5 You may let Us know if You do not want Us to use or disclose your personal information (and/or sensitive personal data) as set out in section 11.4 above or if You wish to amend the way We communicate with You.
11.6 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 authority, or to any company or other entity to whom We either transfer or subcontract any or all of our obligations to You under this Agreement.
11.7 You may contact Us by writing at any time to the Data Protection Officer at our address given above for further information, or if You want to request a copy of the personal information which We hold about You or to ask Us to amend any inaccurate information held by Us. If You request a copy of the personal information which We hold about You We will charge You a fee of £7.
11.8 Please note that We may record and monitor your calls to Us to help Us to improve our service.
12. Other terms
12.1 All Fees are exclusive of any applicable value added tax (VAT) or other sales tax. Please note that although the provision of our Services is currently VAT exempt, this position could change in the future. If it does change We will notify You and amend your Debt Management Plan accordingly.
12.2 We may transfer our rights and obligations under this Agreement by giving You written notice of such transfer.
12.3 All notices sent under this Agreement shall be valid if sent by first or second-class post to the address set out in the Agreement or to a valid email address supplied to Us by You.
12.4 This Agreement sets out the entire agreement and understanding between You and Us and supersedes all prior agreements, understandings or arrangements (whether oral or written) relating to the provision of the Services.
12.5 You acknowledge that You have entered into this Agreement in reliance only on the representations, warranties and promises specifically contained or incorporated in this Agreement and, except as expressly set out in this Agreement, We shall have no liability in respect of any other representation, warranty or promise made prior to the start of this Agreement unless it was made fraudulently.
12.6 We shall not be deemed in breach of this Agreement or otherwise liable to You if We are prevented or hindered from performing our obligations under this Agreement by reason of any event beyond our reasonable control.
12.7 If any part of these Terms of Business is found to be invalid or unenforceable, that part shall be deemed severed from our Agreement which will otherwise remain in full force and effect.
12.8 Any failure on our part to insist on strict performance of any part of these terms and conditions will not be deemed a waiver of our rights and remedies in respect of any future breach.
12.9 We may vary these Terms of Business from time to time and will write to give You at least 30 days’ prior notice of any changes.
13 Complaints Procedure
13.1 At Even Keel Financial Limited we always strive to provide a professional and efficient service, however we recognise that it is in the nature of debt proceedings for disputes to arise from time to time.
13.2 If You should have cause to complain about the way that We are acting, you should, in the first instance, put details of Your complaint in writing or by phone to Our complaints officer Dorothy Brown, Even Keel Financial Limited, 2nd Floor, 26-28 Bishop Street, Derry, BT48 6PP.
13.3 This will formally invoke Our complaints procedure and We will endeavour to deal with Your complaint under the supervision of a senior partner unconnected with the appointment.
13.5 In order to comply with the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, the practice’s professional indemnity insurance is provided by CNA Insurance Company Ltd, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BY. This professional indemnity insurance provides worldwide coverage [excluding professional business carried out from an office in the United States of America or Canada, and any action for a claim bought in any court in the United States of America or Canada].
14 Governing Law and Jurisdiction
14.1 The Contract shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any claim, dispute or difference concerning the Contract and any matter arising from it.