Consumer Proposal Hamilton, Ontario - Straight Facts and Other Options
What is a consumer proposal, and is it the best option for me?
Filing a Consumer Proposal in Hamilton 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 arranged and administered by a licensed bankruptcy trustee and it costs approximately $1,500 to file. You pay an initial setup fee to begin, and then, if the arrangement is acceptable to your creditors, you then pay the balance to continue the process. The trustee you work with will additionally hold back 20% of your future payments as an administration fee. For the Consumer Proposal to be legally binding, your creditors who own the majority of your debt must agree to the proposed repayment plan. If they do, you then have to repay the agreed amount over a maximum repayment period of 5 years.
Consumer Proposal Advantages and Disadvantages
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 Hamilton, Ontario 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 private. A proposal is filed as a permanent public record and is included on a searchable database
- It costs more than going bankrupt
- The Consumer Proposal must be approved by a Judge
- It can be rejected by your creditors. If they reject it, you may have to offer them more money for to
- Missing more than 2 payments may mean that you need to file for bankruptcy
- Not all debts can be included (like secured loans)
- If you stopped being a student less than 7 years ago, your student loans can't be included
- Depending on the type of assets you have, some might need to be sold
- It may affect future employment opportunities, and the permanent record of your insolvency can put certain professional licenses at risk
"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.
Speak to 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.
Only Pay a Trustee for Consumer Proposal Services
Never hand over money to anyone for Consumer Proposal services except a government licensed bankruptcy trustee. The law states that only they are allowed to offer and get paid for these services.
How a Consumer Proposal Impacts Credit
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.
Call Us to Learn More About Filing a Consumer Proposal in Hamilton, Ontario 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 in Hamilton at 905-538-5035. You can also email or chat with us online right now.
Suite 906 - 20 Hughson Street S
Hamilton, ON L8N 2A1
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- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for Ontario
- List of Licensed Bankruptcy Trustees
- Insolvency Terms & What They Mean
- Credit Counselling Society Ontario office locations
The Credit Counselling Society provides not for profit credit counselling services in Hamilton, Ontario and is recognized as one of Canada's leading debt relief services with 22 offices in communities across the country.
Our Hamilton office also provides consumer proposal options and info in Brantford, Burlington, Stoney Creek, Dundas, Ancaster, Ohsweken, Binbrook, Caledonia, Winona, Grimsby, Smithville, Cambridge, Kitchener, and Guelph.