Tag Archives: Consumer Proposals

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What are the Main Steps in a Consumer Proposal?

Consumer Proposals can be a great option for individuals who want to restructure their debts.  In fact, a Consumer Proposal is the most powerful, yet least well-known, debt resolution option other than personal bankruptcy.  If you have some ability to make payments on your debts, but you are unable to pay the full amount, then a Consumer Proposal can be a great tool to get you back on track.

Here’s an overview of how it works:

Step 1:  Meet with a licensed Trustee

Contact a Trustee in your area to arrange a free in-person consultation to discuss your needs and options.  There are many companies who have “programs” which may sound very similar to a Consumer Proposal – unfortunately they do not offer the same protection as a Consumer Proposal, and they often come with high up-front fees.  Be absolutely sure that you are meeting with a government-licensed Trustee when it comes to Consumer Proposals.

Step 2:  Sign your Consumer Proposal

Your Trustee will work with you to come up with a Consumer Proposal that is appropriate for the amount of debts you have, as well as your household budget.  Once the Consumer Proposal is signed, the Trustee will contact your creditors and advise them of the proposal.  At this point, your creditors are no longer permitted to seek payment from you, or to continue further collection activity – this includes creditors such as Canada Revenue Agency and Student Loans.

Step 3:  Complete the Consumer Proposal terms

Once your Consumer Proposal has been accepted by the creditors, you will commence fulfilling the terms you have offered.  Monthly payments are most common, and there are also two credit counselling sessions that you’ll attend with the Trustee.  After all the terms are completed you will receive an official certificate showing that your Consumer Proposal has been fully performed.

Step 4:  Rebuild your Credit

Your Consumer Proposal will be reflected on your credit report for two years after it is complete, although it is still possible to receive credit while your proposal is ongoing.  We do suggest that after your proposal is finished, that you obtain a copy of your credit report to keep it up to date, ensuring there are no delays should you choose to seek credit again in future.

The main goal of a Consumer Proposal is to settle the amounts owed to the creditors without over-burdening the individual with unmanageable payments and interest, giving a fresh financial start.  Consumer Proposal terms can and do vary greatly depending on a person’s unique set of needs and circumstances.  The best way to find out if a Consumer Proposal will work for you is to meet with a licensed Trustee.

If you would like more information on Consumer Proposals, or other services a licensed Trustee provides, please contact us for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation.

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Congratulations Rachel Riddell!

Sands & Associates is pleased to congratulate Rachel Riddell on her successful completion of her Insolvency Administration Course.  The Insolvency Administration Course is undertaken via the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP), recognized as specialists in the areas of turnaround and restructuring options, as well as bankruptcy and proposals.

In addition to becoming an Estate Manager, Rachel is also a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor and holds a Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.  She had a previous 15-year career on the Canadian National Water Polo Team and competed in the 2004 Olympic Games.  With over two years of insolvency experience, Rachel is now assisting individuals with debt management needs in Sands & Associates’ downtown Vancouver office.

Founded in 1990 and operating from 12 offices throughout British Columbia, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of licensed Proposal Administrators and Bankruptcy Trustees.  Sands & Associates has more than 50 people available to help with financial solutions for both individuals and small businesses.  We believe our non-judgmental, empathetic approach to assisting those with financial struggles sets us apart and has helped us become the Proposal Administrator and Trustee firm of choice within BC, as well as Consumer Choice Award winners for three years running.

To meet with a representative from Sands & Associates in person regarding your debt resolution needs, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

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‘Tis the Season to be Spending…

Our newest infographic, with holiday spending by the numbers and tips to keep your financial health this season!

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Click the above infographic to enlarge.

To discuss your debt resolution options in one of our 12 BC offices, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

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Sands & Associates Featured Office: Langley

The friendly staff of Sands & Associates’ Langley office are available to assist you with your debt resolution options in our office located at 56th Avenue and Logan Avenue in downtown Langley (right near the sign that reads “Cut Your Debt by 70%!).

Trustee and VP Blair Mantin and Estate Managers Marlene Byrne, Dana Timko and Cindy Wortley will work with you to understand your situation and help create a plan on how your debts can be managed.

Langley Staff Spotlight: Dana Timko

Dana has over 17 years of experience with consumer proposals and bankruptcy, and is both an Insolvency Estate Manager as well as a Qualified Insolvency Counsellor.

Dana’s Top Trustee Tip:  “Take advantage of RRSP and savings plans offered by your employer, or employer matched pension plans that are automatically deducted from your paycheque.  You never see the money so it’s hard to miss it.”

Contact us to arrange a free, confidential evaluation of your debt solution options in our Langley office.

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Blair Mantin Shares Top 5 Financial Myths & Misconceptions with Breakfast Television

Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month?  To help increase consumer awareness, Proposal Administrator, Trustee in Bankruptcy and Vice-President of Sands & Associates Blair Mantin recently shared some of his top financial myths and misconceptions with Vancouver’s Breakfast Television.

Blair’s Top 5 Myths and Misconceptions that can save consumers money:

1 – Confusing activity with achievement

Many individuals fall into a trap of just making the minimum payments on their credit cards and assuming that they are actually making progress.  The fact is that at 20% interest, making the minimum monthly payments of $250 on a $10,000 debt will take more than 5.5 years to clear and will cost more than $6,600 in additional interest charges.  Banks are now forced to disclose exactly how long it will take to pay off a debt if you make only the minimum payments.  I’ve seen payment terms in excess of 150 years for some individuals.

If you can only afford to make the minimum payments each month, you very likely have a debt problem.

2 – Buying insurance for everything

Banks are quick to sell and aggressively promote various insurance products.  Some are great, but some provide little to no value.  One of these is ‘balance protection insurance’.  Each month you pay fees into this product even if you don’t carry a balance.  The fees can be as high as 1% of the purchases on the card.  Over the course of one year, this could take a 20% credit card interest rate to 32%.

The real issue is that, in most instances where you’d expect the insurance to really help, it actually does very little.  i.e. If you lose your job, it will cover the minimum payments for the period of time you are unemployed but very little of these payments will actually reduce the balance you owe on the card.

3 – Not being aware of your rights as a consumer 

Many people in BC are completely unaware of the exceptional amount of protections afforded to them under provincial legislation in BC.  Here are some major points:

  • If creditors are harassing you by phone, BC is the only place in Canada where you can send them a formal request to only deal with you via mail instead of phone calls.  It’s much easier, and less stressful to deal with collection letters rather than an aggressive collection agent on the phone
  • The province of BC is the only jurisdiction of Canada where, if you’ve financed a car and are unable to make the payments, the creditor can seize the vehicle from you but cannot come after you for the shortfall.  Many individuals I meet feel as though they are ‘stuck’ in a financing arrangement where they owe more than the vehicle is worth – the fact is they can return the vehicle without being held accountable for any shortfall (i.e. if the vehicle sells for $10,000 and they owe $15,000 they cannot be made to pay the difference).

4 – Thinking there’s no way to re-negotiate government debts

If you owe money for taxes, MSP, or student loans you may think there’s no way out.  In fact, there is one single way of ‘making a deal’ on these amounts.  A Consumer Proposal is an option that can be used to stop interest, reduce amounts owing, and work out an affordable payment plan.  A Consumer Proposal can only be filed by a licensed Trustee and is a relatively unknown, yet extremely powerful way of restructuring your financial affairs.

5 – Thinking that your credit rating is a barometer of self-worth

Many people are scared to tackle their debt burden because they believe that their credit rating is an indicator of self-worth and that they could never recover from something as bad as a bankruptcy.  The fact is, your credit rating can change dramatically in a short amount of time.  People can go from bankruptcy to getting a mortgage in as little as 2-3 years.  Often, it’s by taking the step to tackle their debts that people end up in far better shape sooner, than if they had hunkered down and make minimum payments for years and years on end.

To find out more about Sands & Associates or meet in one of our 12 BC locations, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

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Sands & Associates’ NEW Location: Victoria

Sands & Associates is pleased to announce the opening of our newest office in Victoria on Vancouver Island!  Our Victoria office is located in the Atrium Building in beautiful downtown Victoria.

We are British Columbia’s largest firm of licensed Proposal Administrators and Bankruptcy Trustees, focused exclusively on personal and small-business insolvency services.  Vice-President of Sands & Associates, Trustee Blair Mantin; Proposal Administrator and Trustee Raj Hara; and Cindy Wallas, an Insolvency Estate Manager and Qualified Insolvency Counsellor, are available by appointment to assist residents in and around the Victoria area with their debt restructuring needs.

A multi-year Consumer Choice Award winner, Sands & Associates was founded in 1990 and previously operated throughout BC’s lower mainland; our expansion to Vancouver Island allows us to assist both individuals and businesses throughout British Columbia who are struggling with unmanageable debts.  As Credit Counsellors, Licensed Trustee and Proposal Administrators, we are government-licensed and regulated, and offer confidential consultations regarding your situation and potential debt management options at no obligation or cost.

To discuss your debt options with a Sands & Associates representative at the BC location nearest you, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.