What is a consumer proposal and is it the best option for me?
One option to consolidate your debts is to file a Consumer Proposal in Alberta. It is a legal process under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act between you and your creditors to repay part of what you owe. The amount you repay is largely based upon your income and what you own.
|All financial decisions have advantages and disadvantages. Consumer Proposals are not any different. A professionally certified Credit Counsellor can help you determine what is in your best interest: a proposal or another option.|
A Consumer Proposal can only be setup by a bankruptcy trustee and costs around $1,500. You'll pay an initial setup fee, and if it is accepted by your creditors, you will pay the balance to proceed. In addition, the trustee will keep 20% of your future payments as your Consumer Proposal administration fee. For the proposal to be legally binding, the creditors who own the majority of your debt must agree to the arrangement. If they do, then you will be required to repay the agreed upon amount over a maximum term of 5 years.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for a Consumer Proposal
Consumer Proposals contain certain advantages and disadvantages. These can include the following:
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.
- It can significantly reduce the amount of debt you have to repay your creditors
- It can be an effective method of debt consolidation in Alberta 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
How a 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 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 Alberta
There are quite a number of options between financial difficulty and bankruptcy. A Consumer Proposal might be one good option for some people, but it's not the best option for everyone. To find out what other options you have, speak with one of our professionally trained Credit Counsellors today, in person or over the phone. Our appointments are free, non-judgmental, and completely confidential.
To ask us some questions or to make an appointment to speak with a Counsellor, phone us in Alberta at 1-888-527-8999. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Related Articles of Interest
- Canadian Consumer Proposals
- The difference between a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy
- Debt Consolidation, Another Option - Filing for a Consumer Proposal
- Attend a budgeting workshop or a webinar to avoid defaulting on a Consumer Proposal
- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Alberta
- List of Licensed Bankruptcy Trustees
- Insolvency Terms & What They Mean
- Credit Counselling Society Alberta office locations
The Credit Counselling Society provides not for profit credit counselling services in Alberta and is recognized as one of Canada's leading debt relief services with 22 offices in communities across the country.