The Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal in BC
Consumer Proposals contain certain advantages and disadvantages. These can include the following:
- It can reduce the amount of debt you need to repay your creditors by a considerable amount
- It can be a helpful debt consolidation method in Vancouver, BC if:
- You cannot afford to pay back all the debt you owe
- You have steady income
- Your budget has enough money in it for you to make monthly payments
- Has the potential to be a good option if:
- Will put active collection of student loan payments on hold
- It is one of the final ways of avoiding bankruptcy
- It’s not a private matter. A Consumer Proposal is filed as a permanent public record and is included on a searchable database
- It costs more than filing for bankruptcy
- The Court must approve it
- Creditors can choose to reject the proposal. If they do, you may need to offer them additional funds to convince them to proceed
- You might need to sell some of your assets (such as a vehicle, your home, or investments)
- You may need to file for bankruptcy if you miss more than 2 payments
- Secured debts cannot be put into a proposal
- Student loans less than 7 years old can’t be included
- It can put certain professional licenses at risk, and the permanent record of your insolvency may also affect some 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 Keep from 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.
Talk to a Not-for-Profit Credit Counsellor
Don't Pay Anyone But a Bankruptcy Trustee
Be Careful with Commission Based Debt Consultants
How Your Credit Will Be Impacted by a Consumer Proposal
Once you enter into a Consumer Proposal, a special notation is placed on your credit report in the public records section. Anyone who you allow to look at your credit report can see the public records section.
Additionally, it is possible that your creditors will report a “7” rating on any debt included in the proposal. This “7” rating means that creditors are receiving your payments through a third party. In this instance the third party would be your trustee. When you send a payment to your trustee, they distribute the agreed upon dollar amounts to all of 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.
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