Consumer Proposal Vancouver, BC - Alternatives & Important Things You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and is it my best option?
One option to consolidate your debts is to file a Consumer Proposal in Vancouver. 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.
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.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Filing a Consumer Proposal in BC
Consumer Proposals contain certain advantages and disadvantages. These can include the following:
- 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 Vancouver, BC 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
"Life just happened. My debt got to the point where I started to feel like I was drowning. I didn’t feel like I could fix it on my own, and I wanted to start living my life as an adult without debt. I decided to reach out for help. Feeling relieved, I knew that everything was going to be okay – a lot of work – but okay. I had a plan to pay back my debt and continue doing the things I love to do like yoga and travelling."
- Yasmine, Actual Client
Beware of the Big Debt Rip-Off
Consumer Proposals have unfortunately become the latest way for an increasing number of debt relief companies and their sales people to take advantage of vulnerable, unsuspecting consumers. Make sure you don't let this happen to you! Many of these companies are now claiming to offer Consumer Proposals as an effective way to deal with debt. But there's a problem. In Canada, only a licensed bankruptcy trustee is legally allowed to deal with Consumer Proposals. These debt relief agencies charge thousands of dollars in fees but then refer you to a bankruptcy trustee who then charges his or her own legitimate fees.
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.
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.
Don't Pay Anyone But a Bankruptcy Trustee
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.
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 paying secured creditors, like those who hold your car loan, outside of your Consumer Proposal, those creditors will report your payments on those debts separately. Creating and maintaining a realistic budget will make it easier to keep these debts paid up to date.
If you are able to show a good payment pattern on a secured debt while you’re making all of your proposal payments, you'll be that much further ahead afterwards when you want to re-build your credit.
Contact Us for More Info About Filing for a Consumer Proposal in Vancouver, BC
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 Vancouver at 604-527-8999. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Main Vancouver Office: Suite 495 - 1140 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 4G1
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- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for BC
- List of Bankruptcy Trustees
- Insolvency Glossary
- Credit Counselling Society BC office locations
The Credit Counselling Society is an award winning, non-profit credit counselling service provider in Vancouver, BC with 22 offices in communities across Canada.
Our Vancouver office also provides consumer proposal options and info in Yaletown, Coal Harbour, Kitsilano, Point Grey, Shaughnessy, Marpole, Oakridge, Sunset, Killarney, Collingwood, Kensington, Arbutus Ridge, Hastings, Burnaby, Richmond, West Vancouver, and North Vancouver.