The stories highlighted in this book have been largely unedited save for a few typo’s and grammatical errors. Stories have not been left out because their experience was less than helpful. We have tried to give an accurate representation of people’s experiences in an IVA. IVA Companies make mistakes, and people that supervise our case can vary in their availability, empathy and support. Where IVA Companies have been referred to we have replaced the name with “the IVA Company” – this is not a name and shame exercise. We have had 2 contributors highlighting the complete efficiency and the compete inefficiency of the same IVA Company.

Some people do have bad experiences – and we are aware of some instances where official complaints have been made. Each Company must have a complaints procedure. And where we feel harshly or unhelpfully treated, even though we feel the odds are stacked against us, it is worth taking the issue further.

That said, it’s clear from the stories provided that the IVA works best when debtor and Insolvency Practitioner (or their representative) work well together.

The debtor has a clear responsibility to inform their supervisor in the IVA of changing circumstances or difficulties. And the IVA Company has a responsibility to be available, understanding and understandable to the debtor. But inevitably there are disputes and generally speaking it’s the IVA Company that prevail. Creditors need to feel that the Insolvency Practitioner is doing all they can to recover as much of the debt as possible. And that is not always what the debtor wants to hear. Uncomfortable decisions are made and requests sometimes turned down. Admitting our income has increased, that we have had a windfall or facing the prospect of releasing hard-earned equity from our property – can create a soured relationship with our IVA Company.

But – there are many examples of very happy relationships – where the supervisor of the IVA has listened, shown understanding and made adjustments to suit the debtor. Payment breaks have been referred to a number of times, or reduced payments due to a loss of income – or the need to purchase another vehicle – or simply the need for some advice along the way, have all been highlighted.

Wherever possible therefore it is in our interests to develop and maintain strong, open and honest relationships with those looking after our IVA and dealing with our creditors. Genuine grievances need to be dealt with quickly and if necessary further action needs to be taken. But far better to understand from the outset that the Insolvency Practitioner has a job to do and although we may not always like handing over more than we hoped, the vast majority of debtors appear to be content with their IVA and only need to reflect on the bad old days of their pre-IVA experience to appreciate they are in a far better place.