Consumer Proposal Victoria, BC - Alternatives & Important Things You Need to Know
What is a consumer proposal, and could it be the best option for my situation?
Filing a Consumer Proposal in Victoria 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.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing for a Consumer Proposal
Consumer Proposals contain certain advantages and disadvantages. These can include the following:
- It can significantly reduce the amount of debt you have to repay your creditors
- It can be an effective method of debt consolidation in Victoria, BC 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
"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 three suggestions below and begin by talking to an accredited member of Credit Counselling Canada (Canada's national association of not-for-profit credit counselling organizations who never pay their employees commission). If the agency you speak to believes that a Consumer Proposal would truly be one of your best options, they'll let you know and refer you to a reputable bankruptcy trustee in your area 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.
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
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 Information About Filing for a Consumer Proposal in Victoria, BC
When you're experiencing financial difficulty, you may think that bankruptcy is your only option. There are a lot of options to deal with debt in Canada. A Consumer Proposal isn't the right option for everyone, but it can be a good option for some people. To find out what options might be right for you, call one of our accredited, professional Debt Counsellors today. Our appointments are either in person or over the phone. They don't cost you anything, are non-judgmental, and are completely confidential.
For more information or to arrange an appointment to speak with one of our Counsellors, contact us in Victoria at 250-382-9559. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Cook Medical Building, Suite 214 - 1175 Cook Street, Victoria, BC V8V 4A1
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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 a leading, non-profit credit counselling service provider in Victoria, BC with 22 locations across Canada.
Our Victoria office also provides consumer proposal options and info in Saanich, Sidney, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke, Brentwood Bay, Saanichton, Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, and Saltspring Island.