On 26 November 2013 the Central Bank of Ireland published a Consultation Paper (CP75) on Draft Additional Consumer Protection Requirements for Debt Management Firms. In August 2013 the Government introduced legislation which requires debt management firms to be authorised and regulated by the Central Bank. This was introduced in the interest of consumer protection, and followed the failures of budgeting/bill payment of debt management firms in previous years. The Consultation Paper sets out a series of proposed draft additional consumer protection requirements that will apply to debt management firms, including the provision of:
- information about debt management services
- a standard information template must be provided up front to the consumer on "using debt management services
- what you should know"information about charges
- charges can only be imposed after the consumer has signed an agreement which clearly specifies the charges payable for the service, when they will be payable and the services that will be provided for those chargesfinancial assessments
- a standardised method of financial assessment must be adopted for the debt management sector and debt management firms must consider the full range of debt solutions available to and suitable for the consumer, having regard to their personal circumstancesstatement of suitability
- the statement of suitability to be provided to consumers must include a description of the actual or potential risks and consequences of the proposed course of action
Submissions are invited from all interested parties by Tuesday 18 February 2014.