Client Stories

Life changing

The support and intervention I got from HMAC saved me from total despair. When I could no longer repay my loans due to change in working circumstances and knew of no other alternatives, the banks referred my case to external debt collectors. This led to much anguish, worry and feelings of failure. I could no longer manage my finances. My outgoings were more than my income and I found myself relying on family to keep afloat.

This all changed when I found HMAC. Richard and his amazing staff were so understanding and sympathetic to my situation. They took over communication with the debt collectors and arranged a manageable repayment plan after they helped me to calculate my expenses.

I am now debt free after seven long years of trying to repay what I owed. Without help from HMAC I doubt that I could have got through that time without having a breakdown. Words cannot express how thankful I am to HMAC. The work they do is life-changing!

Grateful to be free

I’d suffered for many years in debt after a change in income which stretched my finances, followed by my child becoming seriously ill spending a lengthy time in a London hospital. At said time it was costly to travel and provide the many things we needed to keep going as a family. For me, my only solution was to use credits cards to pay for this, which were already stretched to the limits. Sadly, this sent my financial situation beyond anything I could handle or come back from without that “never going to happen lottery windfall”.

I found I was struggling to handle things in all aspects of everyday life and couldn’t face the constant phone calls, debt collectors threats, etc. So, I ignored it in the hope it would just go away. Sadly, it didn’t, it had an enormous effect on me, kept me awake at night, depression – the never-ending feeling of dread in a dark hole.

18 months later I faced up to it and started an IVA with a company. Although it still stretched my limited means, it brought me some relief to finally face up with sorting things out. Again, a further 18 months down the line my income dropped yet again and the IVA dropped me as I didn’t have enough disposable income to keep up the payments. At this point, they become incredibly unhelpful and handed back all the debt to the debt collectors, so my troubles started over again.

I was advised by a work colleague of the Harpenden Money Advice Centre and after many more a sleepless night forced myself to go. I was ashamed and worried as I didn’t want to let someone know my incomings and outgoings and was worried about the personal intrusion in my private life. HMAC was absolutely amazing and non-judgemental and assured me all could be sorted out one way or another.

How glad I am that I went. They helped to set up a plan and when yet again more unknown debts came my way in the first year of working on the plan, HMAC was there to help me again. HMAC handled all the calls on my behalf so I didn’t have to, dealt with the council and saved me a lot of teary phone calls and stress which at the time I was unable to handle anymore and alone.

I have now been debt free for nearly a year and have all my finances in order. I have a new bank account, which HMAC came with me to sort out. All my monthly payments go out of the bank as and when they should do. Before I came to HMAC, I felt like I was in a very dark black hole with no way out and constant worries which was always nagging and wouldn’t away.

Where I am now wasn’t even imaginable two years ago and I most certainly wouldn’t be here in the position I am now without having braved it enough to pluck up the courage and seek help from Harpenden Money Advice Centre. We in Harpenden are fortunate enough to have such an amazing service available to help and Richard and his team are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

Intimidated single mum

Harpenden Money Advice has completely changed the life of my family and I. I was a single mum of one at the time they first helped me. They explained the different solutions available. Then, spoke to my creditors on my behalf, arranging how much I needed to repay them each month and showed me how to budget. It was really easy for me, as HMAC did all of the work.

Although I am still paying my debts off now, I am living a life which is far more enjoyable, I don’t have the stress or worry as I did. Without Harpenden Money Advice I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a payment plan as I was so intimidated by the creditors. All the staff made me feel relaxed. Some appointments, I had to bring my son along, but that wasn’t a problem as the staff accommodated for this. It was a safe place for me.

JL

Weight lifted and debt free

About 5 years ago, we took a loan from our bank, which we invested in a business we had great hopes for. Short to say, things did not go according to plan. The business venture did not take off as we had hoped, we were caught in a very difficult place of having to pay back the loan, which was a struggle month after month. Things escalated after several months since we could not keep up with paying off our bills and the loan. It was at this point, HMAC was recommended to us, in conversation with a friend.

It was like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders after our first initial conversation with HMAC, for the first time since taking the loan, we could finally see light at the end of the tunnel. HMAC’s dealings with us was personal, engaging, caring and professional. All of our correspondences with our creditors was handled by HMAC, which meant that we did not have any added pressure as we sought the way forward.

Now we are on the other side and it is a truly wonderful feeling to not be in debt thanks to HMAC. We highly recommend HMAC if you are in a similar situation of being in debt and are looking for help.

End of tunnel in sight

2 years ago I felt I was drowning. I was making payments every month but then had no money for remainder of month and was then getting further loans to get through each month therefore increasing my debts and had found myself in a vicious cycle I couldn’t get out of. I was also needing to find somewhere else to live as the tenancy on the place I was living was running out. With your help and support, not only did you arrange an affordable monthly plan with my creditors, but you also found me a new place to live.

I was at a point 2 years ago where I felt almost suicidal but thanks to you, I now see a light at the end of the tunnel and emotionally and mentally I have emerged from that black hole I was in. 

Thank you, without your help, I dread to think where I would now be.

VR

Hope in a dark place

I started typing how grateful I was to you, for all your help, but actually it’s more like a novel. It wouldn’t have made any sense to anyone if they didn’t know what a total state I was in before I came to you, or how the debt, because of my situation had almost imploded in on my life, how I couldn’t find a way out, how I had become so scared of the post, or the phone ringing, how I had thought of so many different options, even selling the house, going into a hostel, and the impact this would have on the children. Unless they knew all about that, then saying I went to you, and that changed my life, would have no impact. But the truth is it did, and the grace in which I found myself was overwhelming.

That saying you gave me hope in a very dark place, or saying you actually passed me a rope and pulled me out of a very deep pit was overdramatic, but it isn’t.

The phycological stress and trauma of being in debt is awful, along with the shame. I was working full time, and I hadn’t been spending money on unnecessary things, this was just basic living and surviving during a divorce.

BUT what you have done for me, the restoration, the kindness, the understanding, nonjudgement, and the practicality of dealing with banks and lenders instead of me doing it, honestly, there are no sufficient words. ‘Thank you’ is too small a word for what you have done.

I have found my life again, partly due to you, and I am eternally grateful.

From that first meeting 8 years ago, to now, my life has truly changed, it did within the first month, Thank you.

AP

Make an appointment, no matter how bad things seem

I wanted to share my story so that people who might have heard of your amazing service, but have not found the courage to make contact might benefit.

I’m a lone parent on a low income and have twin boys. Even with tax credits I was struggling to manage the cost of child care for work cover, school meals, shoes and uniforms and paying the household bills. I lived with the shortfall each month spiralling into a negative financial cycle. With mounting credit card debt compounding my existing monthly shortfall the worry became unmanageable and my health was being affected, so I turned to my doctor. It took me a long time to realise I had buried my head in the sand and was ignoring the mounting bills. I didn’t know who to pay each month, and sometimes it was just easier to pay no one. The bank overdraft was almost at its limit and I was at breaking point.

My boys school recommended the Harpenden Trust who in turn recommended seeing the Harpenden Money Advice Centre. I was very upset on my first visit because opening up about my personal circumstances was difficult and I felt I should have somehow managed things better. I thought I would be judged, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

They went through my entire budget, were extremely patient even when I struggled to provide all the information and first of all just listened. They were there to help, not judge and provided the most practical help. They gave me great advice, but the decisions were always mine, and in this way, they empowered me to gradually make decisions and chip away at the monthly outgoings wherever I could.

There is no magic wand and I know my debt will continue to be managed over a period of time, but to have someone so supportive, kind, and knowledgeable on my side, sharing the journey cannot be valued or underestimated.

I count myself lucky and thank God for my blessings especially my 2 beautiful boys, and for having the support of the Harpenden Money Advice Centre. I can only say make an appointment, no matter how bad things seem. It is a journey, but will feel less difficult in the company of support and good advice!