In the UK, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) are often seen as a lifeline for those drowning in debt, offering a structured way to manage repayments and eventually find financial freedom. However, the journey through an IVA is not always as transparent or beneficial as it seems, leading many to realize they’ve been mis-sold an IVA. This comprehensive guide aims to unravel the complexities of mis-sold IVAs, empowering you with knowledge and practical advice to address this challenging situation.

Understanding IVAs: A Primer

Before delving into the specifics of mis-sold IVAs, it’s crucial to grasp what an IVA truly entails. An IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay back debts over a set period, usually five years. It’s designed for individuals who can afford to make regular payments towards their debts but need a structured plan to do so. When successfully completed, any remaining debt is written off.

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Identifying a Mis-Sold IVA

A mis-sold IVA occurs when the agreement you entered into was not suitable for your financial situation, often due to misinformation or lack of transparency from the provider. Here are several indicators that you might have been mis-sold an IVA:

  • Inadequate Assessment: Your financial situation was not thoroughly assessed, leading to an unmanageable payment plan.
  • Misinformation: You were not fully informed about the implications, risks, or alternative debt solutions.
  • High Pressure Sales Tactics: You felt pressured into agreeing to an IVA without sufficient time to consider your options.
Money and Debt: mis sold iva

The Consequences of a Mis-Sold IVA

Being tied into an unsuitable IVA can exacerbate financial strain, leading to unnecessary stress and potentially worsening your debt situation. It’s important to recognize these signs early to seek appropriate remedies.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Mis-Sold an IVA

1. Gather Evidence

Compile all communication, documents, and financial statements related to your IVA. This evidence will be crucial in proving that the IVA was mis-sold.

2. Complain to Your IVA Provider

The first step is to lodge a formal complaint with your IVA provider. Detail how you believe the IVA was mis-sold, using your gathered evidence to support your claim. If they didn’t follow the rules, you should make a complaint.

3. Seek External Help

If the response from your IVA provider is unsatisfactory, you can escalate your complaint to a regulatory body, such as the Insolvency Practitioners Association or the Financial Ombudsman Service. These organizations can offer guidance and, in some cases, intervene on your behalf. You can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service helpline on 0300 123 9 123 or visit the website at:

4. Consider Alternative Debt Solutions

It’s also wise to explore other debt management options that might be more suited to your situation. This could include debt relief orders, bankruptcy, or a debt management plan. You can find the rules and guidance on the FCA website.

How Contend Can Help

At Contend, we understand the distress and confusion that can come from realizing you’ve been mis-sold an IVA. Our AI-powered legal platform is designed to offer quick, accessible, and reliable legal guidance to help you navigate this challenging scenario. By chatting with our AI legal assistant, you can gain clarity on your situation and explore the best course of action to rectify the issue. Our technology, built by legal experts, ensures you receive trustworthy advice tailored to your unique circumstances.


Realizing you’ve been mis-sold an IVA can be a daunting revelation, but it’s crucial to remember that you have options and rights. By taking informed steps and seeking professional guidance, you can work towards resolving the issue and finding a debt solution that genuinely works for you. Contend is here to support you through this process, providing the legal guidance you need to make empowered decisions and move towards financial stability.

Don’t let a mis-sold IVA dictate your financial future. Contact Contend today and chat with our AI legal expert to start taking control of your debt and your life.

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