One option to consolidate your debts is to file a Consumer Proposal. It is a legal process and a matter of public record under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act between you and your creditors to pay back part of what you owe. The amount you repay is to a large extent based on your income and what you own, however, it typically substantially decreases how much debt you have to repay your creditors.
A Consumer Proposal can only be put together and administered by a licensed bankruptcy trustee and costs around $1,500 to file. You'll pay an initial setup fee, and if it is accepted by your creditors and approved by the courts, you will have to pay the balance to move forward. In addition to this, the trustee will take 20% of your future payments as a fee for overseeing and managing your Consumer Proposal. To be legally binding, the creditors who own the majority of your debt must agree to the proposal. Once they do, you repay the agreed amount over a maximum term of 5 years, and a permanent public record is placed in a searchable, online database.
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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.
A proposal has strict conditions. If someone misses 3 payments, the consumer proposal defaults and they are not able to file it again. Creditors will then proceed with collecting on what is still owed. This can include legal action.
How student loans are affected
Not all debts can be included in a Consumer Proposal. Student loans often can’t be included, especially if it has been less than 7 years from when someone stopped studying.
While someone is making payments on their Consumer Proposal, student loan payments aren’t required. However, interest is still added to the student loan during that time.
At the end of the proposal, someone may owe more on their student loan than they did before they filed the Consumer Proposal.
What Happens With Secured Debts and Assets?
Secured debts, like a car loan, also can’t be included in a proposal. Assets tied to secured loans may need to be sold when someone enters into a Consumer Proposal because someone isn’t able to manage the payments any longer. Other times, creditors won’t agree to a proposal if someone has assets they can sell to pay back the full amount of what they owe.
Will Creditors Accept My Consumer Proposal?
There is no guarantee creditors will accept your Consumer Proposal. Each creditor has their own policies and each will consider someone’s overall circumstances carefully. For instance, if someone has a lot of surplus income over and above the Superintendent of Bankruptcy’s monthly expense guidelines, creditors will expect them to be able to repay more of what they owe.
What Happens If I Default On Consumer Proposal Payments?
You can’t file another Consumer Proposal and may need to declare bankruptcy
Having your creditors accept your proposal is only the first step towards resolving your financial difficulties. Many people who enter into a Consumer Proposal have so much difficulty keeping up with monthly payments that their proposal collapses. Once that happens, they are left in limbo being unable to file another proposal and having to consider other options, including bankruptcy.
A Consumer Proposal is a legal arrangement and is a matter of public record. It is also noted on someone’s credit report, and is there for an additional 3 years after the proposal has been successfully completed. How a Consumer Proposal affects credit will depend on what else is on someone's credit report. Learn more about what a Consumer Proposal is and how it works.
Debt Consolidation Options - A Consumer Proposal Is One of Many
You may not need to file for a Consumer Proposal. Explore other options that are available to you
Just like with other debt consolidation options, a Consumer Proposal is a good fit for some people, but not for everyone. It depends on a number of things including if someone is working, the type of debts they have, how much they owe and their overall financial situation.
Contact Us for More Information About Filing For a Consumer Proposal
To help you figure out if filing for a Consumer Proposal is the best option for you, contact us to find out about all of your debt consolidation options. One of our Counsellors will be happy to look over your whole financial situation carefully and answer your questions. Our appointments are free, confidential and without obligation. Call us at 1-888-527-8999, email us or chat with us online right now.