Find out what you need to know and what to look out for.
Consumer Proposal Cambridge, Ontario – Other Options & Stuff You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and could it be the best option for my situation?
Filing a Consumer Proposal in Cambridge is a debt repayment option that allows some people to consolidate their debts. It is a legal process between you and your creditors to repay a portion of what you owe, and it is governed by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. To a large extent, the amount of debt you repay to your creditors is based on your income and what you own.
A Consumer Proposal can only be arranged and administered by a bankruptcy trustee and costs about $1,500 to file. You pay an initial setup fee, and then, if it is accepted by your creditors, you will pay the remaining balance to proceed. In addition to this, the trustee will also retain 20% of your future payments as a fee for administering your Consumer Proposal. To be legally binding, the creditors who hold the majority of your debt must agree to the proposal. Once they do, you repay the agreed amount over a maximum of 5 years.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for a Consumer Proposal
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to filing a Consumer Proposal. Here are some that are important to be aware of:
It can reduce the amount of debt you need to repay your creditors by a considerable amount
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
There’s Life Beyond Debt for Everyone
“When debts became a problem, I felt very overwhelmed – like I could not see the end of the tunnel. Picking up the phone felt like lifting a 10 pound rock, but they were very cheerful on the other end of the line. I came in, discussed my situation in privacy, and instantly got relief knowing I was in good hands.”
– Delores, Actual Client
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 Keep from 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.
Talk to a Not-for-Profit Credit Counsellor
Speak with a non-profit Credit Counsellor about your financial situation first. They will be able to review your situation with you and help you explore and understand all your options to deal with your debt.
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
Never pay money to anyone for Consumer Proposal services except a licensed bankruptcy trustee. According to the law, only a licensed trustee is allowed to do the work and charge for Consumer Proposals.
Watch Out for Commission Based Debt Consultants
Ask how the person helping you is compensated. Many people who will seek to advise you on your debts work on commission. Make sure the “solution” they are suggesting is in your best interest – not theirs.
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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.
Contact Us for More Information About Filing for a Consumer Proposal in Cambridge, Ontario
Between financial difficulty and bankruptcy there can be many options. While a consumer proposal may be a good option for some, it isn’t the best option for everyone. To find out what options you have, call one of our professionally certified Credit Counsellors today. You can speak with a Counsellor in person or over the phone. Appointments with them are free, non-judgmental, and completely confidential.
For more information or to speak with a Counsellor, contact us in Cambridge at 519-340-1013. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Office Serving Cambridge: 22 King Street South, Suite 300, Waterloo, ON N2J 1N8
Learn how Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy are similar and how they are different. Also learn what you need to watch out for.
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