Consumer Proposal Vancouver Island, BC - Alternatives & Important Things You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and is it my best option?
Filing a Consumer Proposal on Vancouver Island 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 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.
Consumer Proposal Advantages and Disadvantages
There are some clear advantages and disadvantages of filing for a Consumer Proposal. They include the following:
- It can substantially reduce the amount of debt you are required to pay your creditors
- It can be an effective way of consolidating debt on Vancouver Island 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
"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
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.
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 with a Non-Profit Credit Counsellor
Speak to an accredited, non-profit Credit Counsellor about your financial situation first. They will go over your whole situation with you and take the time to help you explore and understand all your options to resolve your debt problems.
Don't Pay Anyone But a Bankruptcy Trustee
Never pay money to anyone for Consumer Proposal services except a licensed bankruptcy trustee. By law, they are the only ones allowed to provide these services and receive payment for their services.
How a Your Credit Will Be Impacted by a Consumer Proposal
Once you begin making payments on a Consumer Proposal, a note is placed in the public records section of your credit report that states that you have filed a proposal. Anyone who you have given permission to see your credit report can also see the public records section.
Your creditors may also report a “7” rating on any debt included in your proposal. This rating indicates that they are receiving your payments through a third party. In this case, your trustee is the third party. Your monthly payment on your Consumer Proposal is remitted to your creditors once 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.
Call Us to Learn More About Filing a Consumer Proposal on Vancouver Island, BC and Possible Alternatives
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 on Vancouver Island at 1-888-527-8999. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
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- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for BC
- List of Licensed Bankruptcy Trustees
- Insolvency Terms & What They Mean
- Credit Counselling Society BC office locations
The Credit Counselling Society provides not for profit credit counselling services on Vancouver Island, BC and is recognized as one of Canada's leading debt relief services with 22 offices in communities across the country.