Status: Please note you should read all Brexit changes to the FCA Handbook and BTS alongside the main FCA transitional directions. Where these directions apply the 'standstill', firms have the choice between complying with the pre-IP completion day rules, or the post-IP completion day rules. To see a full list of Handbook modules affected, please see Annex B to the main FCA transitional directions.

PERG 17.4 Advice must relate to a particular debt and debtor

PERG 17.4

Q4.1 Does debt counselling cover advice given to the public in general rather than to a particular debtor?

Debt counselling covers giving advice about "a" debt. This means that the advice must relate to the debts of a particular debtor or debtors. Advice will normally not be covered if it is not given to any particular debtor. So for example, it would not generally cover advice in a newspaper, periodical publication, journal, magazine, publication or a radio or television broadcast. General advice open to everyone on a website is unlikely to be debt counselling for the same reason. On the other hand advice given to a particular debtor over the Internet may be regulated. Please see Q5.5 about whether decision trees involve debt counselling.

Q4.2 Must advice be given to a borrower?

Yes. Debt counselling means giving advice to a borrower under a credit agreement or a hirer under a consumer hire agreement. So for example it does not cover advice given to persons who receive it as:

  • • a lender under a credit agreement or the owner under a consumer hire agreement; or
  • • an adviser who will only use it to inform advice given by him to others (but see Q4.3); or
  • • a journalist or broadcaster who will use it only for journalistic purposes.

Q4.3 What about advice that is passed on through an intermediary?

This question covers advice prepared by A which is then passed on to the debtor by B.

If the debtor knows of this arrangement and knows that B does not exercise any judgement but just acts as a conduit, it is likely that A is debt counselling and B is not.