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Home News The Debt Doctor

The Debt Doctor: News report investigates credit settlement companies

John Thompson for local2 sault ste. marie
October 15th, 2012 at 8:29am

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

DEBT DOCTORThe Global News investigative series “16 x 9” recently aired a report entitled “Bad Debt: Do credit settlement agencies really deliver?”

To view the televised report, click on this Global News website link: CLICK HERE

The report investigates these controversial companies. It tells the stories of two individuals that entered into agreements known as “debt settlements” and/or “credit settlements” based on the companies’ promises to solve their financial debt overload. The two gentlemen share what they say were their experiences including paying fees up front for a service that did not do what was promised to them.

This illustrates the potential problems and risks associated with settling debt with firms such as these. They actively advertise locally on radio, television and through the internet in towns and cities like the Sault – appealing to individuals that are desperately looking for a solution to get out of debt.

Provincial governments are taking note. Both the Manitoba and Alberta governments have followed the United States lead in recognizing the risks to consumers associated with the fees and practices of debt settlement companies.

In fact, having consumers pay fees up front before reaching a deal with creditors was outlawed in the U.S. in 2010 and is now illegal in Manitoba. The United States Federal Trade Commission calls one of the core elements of debt settlement company business – having consumers pay fees up front before a deal is reached - “an abusive practice”.

You may ask “So what do I do then to take control of my debt?”

Well, viable options do exist. These options are contained in the laws of Canada and are available only through a licensed Trustee In Bankruptcy with offices located here in Sault Ste. Marie and in many other towns and cities across Canada.

Specifically, filing a consumer proposal provides you with the option to settle with your creditors. A monthly payment over a maximum period of up to five years can be negotiated. Upon acceptance by the creditors, often interest is stopped and you pay less than the full debt owing at the time the proposal was filed. The plan is tailored to what you can afford each month and ultimately gives you the financial breathing room you’ve been looking for with the creditors’ acceptance.

If a reasonable plan cannot be developed other alternatives will be reviewed and explained.

If you would like to review your situation, BDO Canada Limited offers a no charge confidential initial consultation right here in Sault Ste. Marie. We review your debt levels, assets, income and living expenses and develop alternatives to address your problems and fix them based on your situation. We meet with you personally and understand your concerns.

If you have questions or comments please contact me at ssm@bdodebthelp.ca . I look forward to your questions and feedback.

The Debt Doctor John Thompson, BDO Canada Limited


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