The Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal in Ontario
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 can be a helpful debt consolidation method in London, Ontario 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 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
Watch Out for the Big Debt Rip-Off
Consumer Proposals have become the newest way for a growing number of companies and their sales people to take advantage of unsuspecting, vulnerable Canadians. Don’t let this happen to you! A lot of companies offering debt relief are now claiming to provide Consumer Proposals as a great way of getting out of debt. But there’s a problem. Only a government licensed bankruptcy trustee is permitted to file paperwork for a Consumer Proposal. These debt relief companies bill people for thousands in fees only to refer them to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own 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
Only Pay a Trustee for a Consumer Proposal
Be Careful with Commission Based Debt Consultants
How a Consumer Proposal Impacts 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 monthly payments to secured creditors (like paying for a vehicle loan) outside of your Consumer Proposal, those debts will be reported separately by the creditors that you are paying. If you can create and stick with a realistic budget, then it should make this easier.
If you are able to keep up a good payment history on any secured debts while you are paying off your proposal, this can assist you in re-building your credit more quickly afterwards.
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