Vice-President of Sands & Associates and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin was featured on CTV Morning Live’s segment “Ask an Expert” this morning. Today’s segment focused on some key questions that consumers should consider when seeking someone to help them with their debts.
Recent statistics and studies have shown that debt is a way of life for many Canadians, and, what’s more, a large number of Canadians are within as little as two hundred dollars of not being able to meet their monthly payment obligations. As individuals seek out professional debt assistance, there are some pitfalls to be aware of to ensure a debt free future.
Key Questions to Ask when you’re Seeking Help with your Debts:
- Is the advisor licensed to help you?
- When seeking help with your debts, there are a multitude of individuals who claim to be able to help you. It’s important to note that the Federal Government licenses only a single professional to assist individuals who find themselves in debt – a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. If you’re dealing with an unlicensed professional you may be at risk of paying unnecessary fees and not having the debt resolved.
- What fees will you need to pay?
- It’s important to understand that you should never pay for debt advice. Licensed Insolvency Trustees all provide free confidential consultations and all payments are set by government tariff. If an individual is considering paying an up-front fee to a debt advisor, this is usually a warning sign that they are not dealing with an individual who can actually provide an effective option to deal with all of your creditors. Many times, unlicensed professionals may charge up-front fees only to eventually introduce you to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can offer you several solutions to solve the issue, and whom you could have met initially for free.
- What debts can the advisor help with?
- For most consumer debts, individuals can try to negotiate on their own behalf and sometimes are successful at getting payment plans that work for them. For government debts, this is often a non-starter. No advisor can reduce or freeze government debts other than a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. That’s it, full stop. Even an individual negotiating directly with Canada Revenue Agency for tax debts or student loans on their own behalf usually doesn’t succeed in reducing the debt. A Consumer Proposal is generally the only effective method to reduce those government debts in full settlement, with no additional interest or penalties.
- Will you receive protection from creditors?
- If you owe money, you may be getting collection calls, wage seizures, or court actions against you. It’s important to understand who can make those proceedings stop – only a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can use federal law to immediately stop all actions dead in their tracks and give you the breathing room you need to recover.
- Where can you go if something goes wrong?
- If you’re dealing with an unlicensed advisor, you generally have little to no recourse. You can try to complain, or even take to social media, but there is no overseeing body that can compel an unlicensed debt advisor to make good on a bad situation. Licensed Insolvency Trustees are overseen by Industry Canada and are heavily regulated. If you’re dealing with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, the regulator makes sure that everything is done in compliance with governing laws.
With over 26 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.