As the UK moves into the next phase of its response to coronavirus (COVID-19) and the longer term economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) becomes clear, we continue to focus on providing both our dealers and customers with the service they have come to expect. Having successfully moved our entire workforce to have been working remotely for almost a year, we are confident that we can continue to support our customers and business partners, while keeping our staff and their families safe.
We pride ourselves on being understanding when helping ALL customers who are experiencing financial difficulties, and we would also like to reassure anyone that is worried, that we will do what we can to help.
Like many firms we may see an increase in the numbers of customers contacting us, and so our response times could be longer than usual. Therefore, we would encourage you read the following FAQ’s before contacting us.
Is there any advice and guidance I should read?
Below you will find links to appropriate guidance from Government & Regulatory Bodies as well as the Money Advice Service who offer user friendly guides to help you through these tough times.
If you feel you would benefit from impartial debt advice, please visit the Money Advice Service’s debt advice locator tool.
If you have been or continue to be impacted financially by COVID19, please visit the Money Advice Service’s web page providing specific help at this time.
There is additional free and impartial debt advice available on the FCA’s website:
Please find below some additional link that may be of assistance:
I am worried that my income may change, can you help?
If you have not yet been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) or you can still afford your normal payments, we would recommend that you continue to make those payments. While we have a variety of flexible options for customers who have been financially affected, each may have consequences for the customers that take them – and so should only be considered by those in financial difficulty.
If your circumstances have changed and you are no longer able to afford your normal repayments, please do contact us to speak to our Account Management team. They will need to understand your situation, go through the various options open to you and then agree what’s best for your individual circumstances.
We have also included the link to the Money Advice Service below which provides a range of really useful information for the many different circumstances you could currently find yourself in as a result of coronavirus COVID-19.
I have been financially impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), can I stop paying?
You will be able to request a Temporary Payment Deferral up until 31 March 2021. Please be aware that this may not be the best option for everyone and will have consequences for your repayments and future lending decisions.
Customers should think carefully before making use of these measures and only do so if they need immediate help. Where they can still afford to make payments, they should continue to do so.”
Christopher Woolard, interim Chief Executive at the FCA
However, if your finances have been badly affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you should contact us about various options we have to help you. Our Account Management team will need to understand your situation to be able to go through the various options, and then agree what’s best for your individual circumstances.
Where a payment deferment has been agreed, we will not update your credit file with any arrears or negative information. However, it’s important that you understand that other lenders may take into account any payment deferments you have made when making lending decisions in future.
If you do not contact us we will presume that you are no longer in financial difficulty due to COVID19 and are able to pay your full contractual payment ongoing. Any missed payments will therefore show as arrears on your credit file.
I have already had a Temporary Payment Deferral, but I am still impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), what should I do?
If your circumstances have not improved since your last deferral, and you have had fewer than 6 months of payment deferrals already, you may be able to have further deferments. Please contact us by 31 March 2021 to speak to our Account Management team. Due to the relatively short term of your agreement and the relationship between the value of your vehicle and the balance on your loan, further deferments may not be the best option for you.
Our Account Managers will need to understand your situation, go through the various options open to you and then agree what is best for your individual circumstances.
If you do qualify for a Temporary Payment Deferral and it is granted, you can be assured that this arrangement will not result in arrears building on your credit file.
It’s important for you to understand that while we will not report a worsening status to your credit file, other lenders may take into account any payment deferments or other information when making future lending decisions.
You also need to know that we won’t put any penalty fees or charges on your account for late payments.
Once your financial circumstances have improved, we will look to work with you in order to find the best option to bring you back up to date with any payments you may have missed and minimise the effect of the deferral on your agreement.
My Temporary Payment Deferral has ended, what will happen now?
While we are contacting customers when their deferment ends, you are welcome to contact us to discuss the various options that are available to you.
First Response are committed to provide Tailored Support for our customers; this means the exact arrangement we may make with you will depend on your individual circumstances. Therefore, you will need to speak to our Account Management team, who will understand your situation (this is likely to include your income and expenditure) and work with you to find a suitable affordable solution to your ongoing needs.
Your previous deferments will not update your credit file with any arrears or negative information. However, ongoing missed or partial payments are likely to be reported to the Credit Reference Agencies. It’s also important that you understand that other lenders may take into account any payment deferments you have made when making lending decisions in future.
You also need to know that we won’t put any penalty fees or charges on your account for late, missed or partial payments, so your balance won’t go up due to charges.
First Response is committed to helping every customer that needs their vehicle to keep it, and so will only consider repossession as a very last resort, once all other options have been exhausted. It's important that you contact us so that we can find the best solution for you and avoid having to take any action without working with you first.
What happens if I can’t make my payments – for reasons separate to coronavirus (COVID-19)?
As always, please contact us, this way we can understand the issues you are facing and support you accordingly.
We pride ourselves on being understanding when helping ALL customers who are experiencing financial difficulties and we would also like to reassure anyone that is worried, that we will do what we can to help. We don’t charge late interest or payment fees, so how much you owe won’t go up, but you need to know that payments that are missed for non coronavirus (COVID-19) reasons, will show on your credit file and may mean you pay more for your loan, as the agreement now lasts longer (and you will be paying interest for longer) than the original term.
I have an active application, but my dealer has closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are aware that motor dealers are having to operate differently while social distancing is in place, unfortunately this may mean that buying your vehicle may be more complicated than usual. Your application will still be valid and ready to proceed, but you need to know we will still need to complete our usual checks for Affordability and Creditworthiness.
Will First Response close or change operating hours?
We do not expect to have any service disruptions; however, should this occur then we ask for your patience and understanding.
I am a Motor Dealer, will you continue to process business?
It is important for our customers who need to keep mobile as well as the larger economy in general that we try to run our business as close to normal as possible. We will therefore be able to continue to process any applications that we receive.
However, if you have a vehicle showroom, you should make sure you are keeping your staff and customers safe by following the rules laid out by the government as well as the joint Trade Association Guidance on the movement of vehicles.
Will you continue to call and communicate with me?
In short, yes. It is important for our customers that we try to continue to communicate with you as close to normal as possible. By moving our entire workforce to work remotely for the foreseeable future, we are confident that we can continue to support all our customers, while keeping our staff and their families safe.