The Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal in Canada
There are some clear advantages and disadvantages of filing for a Consumer Proposal. They include the following:
- It can significantly reduce the amount of debt you have to repay your creditors
- It can be an effective method of debt consolidation in BC if:
- You can’t afford to repay all of what you owe
- You have stable income
- You have enough money in your budget to make monthly payments
- It will pause active collection on student loan payments
- Can be a good option if:
- It is one of the last ways to avoid bankruptcy
- It’s not private. A proposal is a permanent public record included on a searchable database
- It’s more expensive than declaring bankruptcy
- It must be approved by the Court
- Creditors can reject the Consumer Proposal – if they do, you may have to offer them additional funds otherwise your proposal will not proceed
- If you miss more than 2 payments you may need to file for bankruptcy
- Student loans can’t be included if they are less than 7 years old
- Secured debts aren’t included
- Some assets (such as your home, vehicles, or investments) may need to be sold
- The permanent record of your insolvency can put certain professional licenses at risk and may also affect future employment opportunities
Beware of the Big Debt Rip-Off
Consumer Proposals have unfortunately become the latest way for an increasing number of debt relief companies and their sales people to take advantage of vulnerable, unsuspecting consumers. Make sure you don’t let this happen to you! Many of these companies are now claiming to offer Consumer Proposals as an effective way to deal with debt. But there’s a problem. In Canada, only a licensed bankruptcy trustee is legally allowed to deal with Consumer Proposals. These debt relief agencies charge thousands of dollars in fees but then refer you to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own legitimate fees.
How to Prevent Getting Ripped Off
Follow the tips outlined below, but start by speaking to a member of Credit Counselling Canada (a national association of non-profit credit counselling organizations who don’t work on commission). If a Consumer Proposal is a truly good option for you, one of their agencies will inform you and refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee for free.
Speak to a Non-Profit Credit Counsellor
Don't Pay Anyone But a Bankruptcy Trustee
Watch Out for Commission Based Debt Consultants
How a Consumer Proposal Can Impact Your Credit
Once you begin making payments on a Consumer Proposal, a note is placed in the public records section of your credit report that states that you have filed a proposal. Anyone who you have given permission to see your credit report can also see the public records section.
Your creditors may also report a “7” rating on any debt included in your proposal. This rating indicates that they are receiving your payments through a third party. In this case, your trustee is the third party. Your monthly payment on your Consumer Proposal is remitted to your creditors once all applicable fees have been paid.
If you are paying secured creditors, like those who hold your car loan, outside of your Consumer Proposal, those creditors will report your payments on those debts separately. Creating and maintaining a realistic budget will make it easier to keep these debts paid up to date.
If you are able to show a good payment pattern on a secured debt while you’re making all of your proposal payments, you’ll be that much further ahead afterwards when you want to re-build your credit.
Some of these resources may also be helpful to you.