The Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal in Canada
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to filing a Consumer Proposal. Here are some that are important to be aware of:
- It can significantly reduce the amount of debt you have to repay your creditors
- It can be an effective method of debt consolidation in Ontario if:
- You don’t have the ability to repay all the debt you owe
- You have consistent income
- You’ve put together a monthly budget, and you can afford to make monthly payments
- Could be a worthwhile option if:
- Will stop active collection activity on student loan payments
- It is one of the last methods of avoiding personal 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 become the latest method for a growing number of for-profit companies and their sales people to take advantage of vulnerable, unsuspecting consumers. Don’t let this happen to you! Many debt relief companies are now claiming to offer Consumer Proposals as an easy way to get out of debt. There’s a problem. Only a licensed bankruptcy trustee is allowed to file paperwork for a Consumer Proposal. The debt relief companies charge thousands in fees only to refer you to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own fees.
How to Prevent Getting Ripped Off
Follow the three tips below plus start by speaking with a member of Credit Counselling Canada (an association of non-profit credit counselling agencies who do not work on commission). If a Consumer Proposal is truly one of your best options, one of their agencies can let you know and refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee for free.
Speak to a Non-Profit Credit Counsellor
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
Watch Out for Commission Based Debt Consultants
How a Consumer Proposal Can Impact Your Credit
When you make payments on a Consumer Proposal, there is a note on your credit report in the public records section that you have filed a proposal. Anyone who has your consent to see your credit report will see the public records section as well.
In addition, your creditors may report a “7” rating on the debts included in the proposal. This means that they are receiving payments through a third party. The third party is your trustee. When you make a payment to your trustee, they disburse the agreed upon amount to each of your creditors after all applicable fees have been paid.
If you are making payments to secured creditors, like for a car loan, outside of your Consumer Proposal, those creditors will report on those debts separately. Creating and sticking to a realistic budget will make this easier.
If you are able to maintain a good payment history on a secured debt while you’re making your proposal payments, this can help you re-build credit afterwards.
Here are some related topics that may be useful for you.