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- Licensed CAIRP professionals
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Recent Money Matters Articles
Ontario Government has finally put legal restrictions in place to protect it’s most vulnerable citizens from “shady” debt reduction solutions.
Bill 55 | How will it help Ontario Citizens?
Debt Settlement, operated by over 35 companies in Ontario should be now following a new set of rules. Given that the industry has not been well regulated in the past, the new law should provide a solid foundation to ending rip-off companies. However, a law is only as effective as the enforcement surrounding it. Given that we have not seen strong enforcement to date in consumer protection, we highly recommend the buyer beware, read the fine print to prevent being another casualty to bogus debt help companies. If you do feel that a company is providing services that contravene the new law, contact the government of Ontario.
- Eliminating upfront fees for services
- Regulation of fees to consumers and controlling that the service be successful before payment be made.
- Requiring clear, transparent, and detailed contracts that include information about the effect of the contract on the consumer’s credit rating
- Requiring credit counsellors to disclose information regarding the nature of funding of their company, non profit or otherwise.
- Establishing a 10-day cooling-off period, providing consumers more time to consider their agreements with companies
Read the fine print, ask questions, talk to multiple professionals and the most important criteria, MEET the company in person. A solid indication of a reputable company is that you can walk in the office and talk to the principles in the business. Your future depends on your proper due diligence.
Every situation is different and there is no ABC of Bankruptcy, each person should review their entire personal situation with a trustee to determine the best course of action. That being said, there can be strategy behind filing. Especially if you have already determined that bankruptcy is your only viable solution. Just when is best to do it?
The best time to file bankruptcy for many Canadians can be before the end of the calendar year.
The timing has bearing on your future tax refunds, if you normally receive a refund from CRA - Revenue Canada, you will likely benefit by signing your bankruptcy papers prior to Dec. 31. Bankruptcy law, the BIA, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, dictates which tax refunds are applicable to be seized by the trustee/estate, for payment to your creditors. The law also dictates which tax refunds normally would be returned to YOU! There is significant gain to the consumer by filing before Dec. 31 .
Consumer Protection Suspends License, Freezes Accounts
Options Credit Services Canada Ltd a BC licensed debt settlement company is in the news again. On Dec 5 2013 the BC Consumer protection Agency suspended the license of the company and seized the bank accounts associated with the company. Options Credit Services,
Financial troubles and collection agencies or harassing creditors seem to come together in hand in hand.
There is nothing worse than being harassed or hounded by creditors or collection agencies, they call at work, they call at dinner, they disrupt your life. There are horror stories of collection agencies stocking people, showing up at their home in the middle of the night or even at their place of work.
The first step in bringing an end to the fear of collection calls is to understand your rights and your options.
There is a difference between a collection agency and a creditor. You should always deal with your creditor if possible.
What is a creditor- An individual or business who gave credit to a debtor, which has not been repaid, there are 2 types of creditors – Secured Creditor and Unsecured Creditor.
What is a collection agency- A collection agency is a business that obtains or arranges for payment of money owed to either a person or a company. When you have an account with a business that is “past due” or in default, the business may sell your account or turn your account over to a collection agency.
- Keep a log of who calls, time and date of call, name of person that is calling and what is said by them and by you
- Stay calm and be polite and be honest
- Do not make promises you can not keep
- Ask questions:
Will the creditor reduce or eliminate the interest on the debt?
Can the creditor reduce the outstanding amount owing?
Will the creditor extend the timelines to repay the debt?
Can the creditor remove the account from the hands of collections?
There are very specific laws that dictate how debt can be recollected and regulate how collection agencies operate in Canada. National and provincially the laws vary and can be researched in depth at the following agencies.
Understanding your rights is an important first step. Here are helpful links for every province and our federal consumer protection agency, each agency has a process to file complaints against unlawful collection tactics.
Canada – Industry Canada
Alberta – Alberta Fair Trading Act
Manitoba – Consumer Protection Act
Saskatchewan – Consumer Protection Act
Newfoundland – Department of Government Services
Nova Scotia – Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
Nunavut – Community and Government Services
Northwest Territories – Municipal and Community Affairs
Dealing with your creditors is the most important factor – Ignoring the issue like an ostrich is a foolish short term reaction, not a solution.
You do have many options
Finding the solution that suits your specific situation is important. There is no one size fits all solution to debt repayment, being proactive and talk to a good professional will get you on the right track.