I’ve met many people who feel they have been ripped off by debt settlement companies in Canada. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for the average consumer to discern who they can trust. If you are one of the thousands of Canadians who feel they’ve been ripped off by a debt settlement company, you should consider taking the following steps to help ensure it doesn’t happen again…and to hopefully get your money back.
File a Complaint with the BBB
Consider filing a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau. It seems that most people skip this step due to the embarrassment and shame that can sometimes be caused by being ripped off. Filing a complaint against an unethical company is very important because it helps to warn other consumers and can prevent the same shame and embarrassment from happening to someone else.
File a Complaint with Your Provincial Consumer Protection Authority
Provincial consumer protection authorities exist to protect consumers and enforce consumer protection laws. If you think that a debt settlement company has taken advantage of you or may have even broken the law, contact your consumer protection authority, speak with them, and consider filing a formal complaint if necessary.
Demand a Refund
This is the most imporatant step. If you have been charged fees and the debt settlement company hasn’t negotiated any debt settlements for you, you should demand a full refund regardless of any fine print that’s contained in their contract. Don’t settle for anything less than a full refund if they didn’t settle any debts for you.
SO, who can you trust?
A licensed trustee in bankruptcy is part of a highly regulated industry. All of our trustees are licensed by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, which is a division of Industry Canada, a part of the federal government. Our trustees have completed a number of courses and written exams to prove their competency.
Our licensed trustees in bankruptcy utilize the federal legislation and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to help individuals make consumer proposals or file personal bankruptcy.
I’m not saying all debt consultants or credit counsellors are bad. We have actually partnered with some not-for-profit United Way sponsored credit counsellors who are members of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services. Check out our Community Partners page for a list of these credit counsellors.