I cannot believe it is almost eight months since I last posted on here (and I have just realised it will be car time again in another four months!!)
It has been an eventful eight months and we have had happiness and tragedy, none of which I will go into here.
I felt that I would post something today because we heard via a web forum that our IVA had been transferred from one company to another and I wanted to record my feelings from the start of this process through to where I am now.
My initial feelings were of fear and insecurity. We didn’t know anything about this new company, and of course we had chosen the original company with great care. How could they do this to us? Why didn’t they tell us? It felt like a betrayal, but then again, I will always feel gratitude to Mel and her team for supporting us at the outset of our IVA. This was at a time when, I think, the most important work is done and the I&E is laid down and questions are answered. We had trundled along quite happily because of this and, because we had had such massive outgoings in the form of interest payments pre-IVA, we had felt a massive sense of relief and actually had MORE to live on than we had done previously which was a bonus and a nice surprise.
We are a member of the “rural poor” class, so our outgoings tend to be higher than most as we are not on the gas main and rely on oil, we have no public transport and there are no cheap discount shops nearby. We either have to travel quite a way or ask Mr Asda to drop off our internet order – they are cheaper than the others who deliver round here. Mel and Co were realistic as to our needs which are clearly relatively unique. We also need to maintain a car that can handle tracks and unkept lanes so the cost of running this is higher than, say, a nice little compact car so this was also taken into account with our allowances.
Anyway, as I say, we found out through reading another forum about the change. I rang PJG and yes, the IVA had been transferred. I was scared because of the transfer from a nice little cosy company who understood us and our needs, to a faceless company with a CEO who appeared to buy companies then sell them on and move to the next project. We would be just a number, a way of making money and nobody would understand or care about our situation.
This was fuelled by issues on the massive thread on the IVA forum in which many worried people (including me I might add) were worried sick about what would happen, and, understandably, upset about the way in which they had found out about the change. By the way I still haven’t had the letter that was sent out to me although I do have the email version.
The email didn’t really say anything about how the IVA would run in the future but gave vague assurances in that way in which you can say nothing whilst appearing to say something, and I was worried about allowances for the reasons that I have given in the paragraph about our circumstances. I lost a few nights sleep and worried about silly things such as would the new company look at what we were spending on what? How would we be scrutinised and how would they apply any changes to the expenditure that they might wish to apply? What if they scrutinised bank statements and reduced spend because we had used one category of the I&E to fund another?
The research and time on the internet that I have spent this past week or so has been worth it. I have been able to hammer out my worries and concerns on the IVA forum and have explored many issues that were worrying me. I have had much support and encouragement there, and my post count has gone up astronomically so maybe I might have a new status from “novice” soon.
I would advise anyone else in this position to read carefully the posts that are made by experienced IVA-ers (both past and present) and the extremely kind IPs who post on there and give their advice for free. I now know that we can progress with confidence with the new company, OK there may be a battle or two ahead, but I know what to do and what our rights will be going forward (I hate that phrase “going forward”!).
I have also spoken with the new company, and the representative who handled my call was concerned about how I felt and knowledgeable although he did ask for one or two things that I now know are not needed and I will not have to provide them by law (thank you Michael on the forum). The representative gave me his direct line number, and also some very good advice. He did not need to have done that, so the new company DID have a human touch after all. I was surprised and pleased, as I had waited on the line for 11 minutes for them to answer and by then was feeling really cheesed-off.
They say knowledge is power, and this is so true. Speculation just brings fear and to not go out there and research, ask questions and read the original paperwork extremely carefully means many sleepless nights. Last night I slept well for the first time in a couple of weeks and it was all down to the IVA forum-ers who have been there before, got the t-shirt and know the process and the law. Thanks guys, you are worth more than your weight in gold. Actually, I could do with your weight in gold….
Onwards and upwards, as they say. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and soon the first year of this IVA will be under my, and Mr Ivamess’ belt.
Mel, if you read this, I wish both you and your team every happiness for the future. I would like to thank you sincerely for the time you gave to the IVA forum and the compassionate and realistic way you and Sue and the others handled the set-up of our IVA.