During the past year, many Canadians have been struggling to keep up with paying their bills on time if at all. Many people been unable to work due to business closures, illness, or their hours have been cut back, and this can definitely be a challenge. None of us expected this until the pandemic hit and changed the way ‘normal’ looks and feels.
To add to our frustration, anyone who has missed a bill payment or two knows what it is like to get a call from a collection agency. Not a great feeling by any stretch. However, when you are in over your head in debt, those calls come from many different places, and collection agencies do not always follow the rules.
When you are behind in your debts, unfortunately the calls may come and it is good to understand your situation, who you owe money to, how behind you are in your payments, or if you have made a recent payment. It is a good idea to have all your information together in one place with statements and payment receipts. This way, if you do get a call, you are aware if the call is justified and for you. It could be that the collection agency has incorrect information or you have already paid the bill they are contacting you for.
Debt Management Programs – In British Columbia, Debt Management Programs can only be offered by firms registered as Debt Repayment Agents under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act of British Columbia. These firms are registered under the same legislation as debt collectors. The biggest difference is they can pool your funds to be distributed to multiple creditors.
A Debt Management Program does not necessarily allow for a person’s debts to be compromised, nor does it necessarily protect the debtor from harassment, continued collection efforts, or legal actions by creditors not participating or ceasing to participate in the program.
Consumer Proposals vs Debt Management Programs – In most cases, a Consumer Proposal is a better alternative to a Debt Management Program. A Consumer Proposal is a formal agreement that is legislated under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act of Canada between the debtor and all their unsecured creditors, including Government debts.
Getting into too much debt is a tough place to be, but it is not a life sentence. When you are ready to put a permanent end to harassing creditor calls, talk to one of our Licensed Insolvency Trustees at D. Thode & Associates.
Whether it is through financial debt and credit counselling, a consumer proposal or filing for bankruptcy, we can help you take steps to make sure you’re never afraid to answer the phone again!