Having utilities provided for our homes for heat and light is a necessity but paying the bills is a struggle for Scots struggling with their debts.
Now one charity says that energy suppliers could do more to help their customers who are on low incomes.
In a report, the charity says that metering and billing issues are still a common problem and one they have to deal with on a regular basis.
A spokesman for the charity said: “There are standards for electricity and gas suppliers to meet but our findings show there are problems which cause significant hardship for their consumers – particularly those who are on fixed or low incomes.”
The charity’s report also points out that the customer services offered by energy firms are not good enough and the complaints procedures do not deliver consistently enough.
Indeed, Scots who are struggling for money are facing long and difficult telephone calls to various call centres run by the energy firms to receive advice but these are not only of questionable quality but can also be contradictory.
Helping customers deal with their debt responsibly
The spokesman explained: “Our evidence shows that the management of energy debt needs to be improved and energy suppliers have a role in helping customers deal with their debt responsibly.”
There is no doubt that struggling to pay gas and electricity bills is of a major concern to lots of Scots who are in debt along with paying their council tax and other bills.
However, there is help at hand and for those who don’t know where to turn to, there’s free advice available from Scotland’s Trust Deed which is impartial.
In addition, there is an online debt test to see what potential solutions are available to ease debt worries and the form takes a minute or two to complete.
For those who are interested in resolving their debts and are living Scotland, then one potential solution is to consider a trust deed.
Essentially, a Scot would be repaying their creditors what they can afford over a longer time, which can be 48 months.
Big attraction for a trust deed
The big attraction for a trust deed is that the amount of debt that remains at the end of this period is considered to be unaffordable and will be written off.
There’s also the potential for people living in Scotland to undertake a government run offering and it is called the debt arrangement scheme.
As with a trust deed, this offers someone living in Scotland who is struggling with their debts an opportunity to repay what they owe over a longer period.
However, the big difference between the debt arrangement scheme and a trust deed is that all of the money owed by the debtor will be repaid in full under the scheme.
It’s also important to appreciate that lenders will not be able to hassle someone in debt while these agreements are in place and are maintained.
As mentioned previously, there’s a helpful team of debt advisers available at Scotland’s Trust Deed who can discuss how to deal with debt and whether a trust deed or a debt arrangement scheme would be a suitable vehicle for someone struggling with money.
Potential debt solutions available for Scots
There are also other potential debt solutions available for Scots and the team at Scotland’s Trust Deed can explain what these are.