Category Archives: News

Tougher laws for debt settlement companies receive Royal Assent

On December 12, Royal Assent was granted to Bill 55 in Ontario.  As many of you know, Royal Assent is the final step before a bill becomes law, meaning that these new regulations for debt settlement companies are now in place.  We’re thrilled by this news.  As we have posted before, we have met many people looking for debt help in Northwestern Ontario who have fallen victim to a debt settlement company.  Without regulation, these companies were free to make wild promises to consumers that they often did not deliver on.

Among others, this Act will bring in the following restrictions on debt settlement companies:

–          All terms of the agreement must be disclosed

–          The effect on your credit rating must be disclosed

–          A written copy of the agreement must be given to you

–          Only one settlement agreement can be in place with each debtor at a time

–          They cannot demand payment in advance of providing the services

–          They cannot take security against their services

–          They must provide a refund if certain terms are met

We applaud the actions of the Ontario Government in this matter, bringing provincial legislation in line with that of other provinces, such as Manitoba and Nova Scotia, that have already cracked down on these companies.

As always, we recommend consulting with a government-licensed trustee in bankruptcy as a part of confronting your debt.  We are local, in your community, and we can meet you face to face to discuss your difficulties.   Visit our web site at www.thunderbaybankruptcy.com.

Know Who You’re Dealing With

Thunder Bay Debt Help and Bankruptcy

Consumer debt levels are on the rise.  According to Statistics Canada, Canadians now owe $1.64 for every dollar that they earn.  This means that more and more people are now looking for ways to get out of debt.

Unfortunately this has also led to the growth of “debt settlement” companies preying on people looking for debt solutions.  Recently there has been a flood of advertising from companies claiming to help you “avoid bankruptcy” and “get out of debt fast”.

However, many of these companies aren’t as helpful as they claim.  The Ministry of Consumer Services has received numerous complaints about them.  For instance, in one example given on the website of the Government of Ontario, a debt settlement company charged a consumer a fee and told the consumer that all of his creditors had been settled with.  In fact, however, one creditor had not accepted the deal and served the consumer with court papers.  When the consumer pointed this out to the debt settlement company, the company “cancelled” his settlement and kept their fee.  In other words, the consumer paid for a settlement that never existed.  Because the debt settlement company was unregulated (unlike Grant Thornton, a Thunder Bay Bankruptcy Trustee, who are licensed by the federal government as proposal administrators and as a trustee in bankruptcy) they could get away with things like that.

As a result of this and many other complaints, the Ontario government recently announced that they would be joining Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia in restricting the activities of debt settlement companies.  Having met many people who have fallen victim to these companies, we applaud this move by the government and hope that it prevents people looking for debt help in Ontario from being taken advantage of.

Examples like this demonstrate why it is so important to know who you are dealing with.  Before entering into any sort of debt settlement arrangement with anyone, make sure that you have met with them in person at least once (or will be meeting with them), make sure that they have a physical office in Northwestern Ontario so you know that they are a legitimate business, and make sure that they are a reputable firm with experience helping consumers and companies with debt.  Above all, you should ensure that they are government-licensed trustees in bankruptcy and/or proposal administrators, just like we are.

For many people, the best legitimate alternative to bankruptcy is the consumer proposal.  With a consumer proposal, you can offer a settlement to your creditors that is legally binding and monitored by the federal government of Canada.  Once your creditors have agreed to accept your consumer proposal, they are obligated to honour the terms, as long as you do the same.  Give us a call today, toll-free at 310-8888, or email us at nwodebthelp@ca.gt.com to discuss if a consumer proposal is a possible debt solution for you.

Welcome to Grant Thornton Debt Help

If you have money problems, debt problems, payday loans, credit card debt, income tax debt, student loans,  or just have overextended yourself and are looking for debt help, debt advice, debt solutions, or just debt assistance then Grant Thornton can help you!  The first place to visit is our new website for Grant Thornton Limited.  This new website has been specifically designed to service Northwestern Ontario including our offices in Thunder Bay, Dryden and Fort Frances.  We are Ontario Trustees that understand the tax and property laws as we live here with you in the same communities.  On our website, you will find a lot of useful information that will help to educate individuals on their different available options during this difficult time.  Some of these options include debt consolidation, informal debt settlement, credit counseling, consumer proposals, and bankruptcy as a last resort.

This website will also help to address debtors’ concerns over what may happen to some of their assets including houses, cars, leases, and RRSPs, in the event they have to make a filing.  At times, debtors may become overwhelmed and stressed with specific issues, therefore another alternative is to speak to a Northwestern Ontario Trustee.  A Trustee in Bankruptcy is approved by the Federal Government of Canada to provide assistance to individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties.  As well, Trustees in Bankruptcy are the most highly educated and trained debt consultants in Canada.  Please don’t let the “bankruptcy” word scare you off because we do much more than that.  We can assist individuals with everything from debt consolidation to bankruptcy as a last resort.  Furthermore, we offer FREE CONSULTATIONS to discuss your options with no pressure or strings attached.  Please contact us toll free anywhere in Northwestern Ontario in the 807 area code at 310-8888 for immediate assistance, or email us at nwodebthelp@ca.gt.com.