When debt becomes overwhelming, sometimes the best thing you can do is turn to a professional for debt management help. This is often easier said than done. There are many companies that are nothing more than scams, charging huge fees without actually helping you deal with debt. Finding help for your debts that is both helpful and trustworthy can be difficult.
Where to Get Help
These are some of the best, most reputable places to go for debt management help:
Licensed insolvency trustees. Many people think licensed insolvency trustees only handle bankruptcies, but this is not the case. They also provide debt management help. Trustees are licensed by the government and can provide bankruptcies and consumer proposals as well as offer some credit counselling.
Non-profit organizations. There are non-profit organizations that offer debt management help by providing counselling to help you learn how to better manage your debt. Here is a list of credit counsellor that we recommend in SW Ontario.
If you are unsure of whether or not a company is trustworthy, check with the Better Business Bureau. Read reviews and ratings about the company or individual before you commit to anything.
Protecting Yourself From Scams
If you’re seeking help with debt management, be on the lookout for these warning signs that a company or individual may not be trustworthy:
They charge upfront for their services. Reputable debt management or credit counselling companies only collect their fees after they have provided services.
They make promises they can’t keep. Many companies make claims about things they technically have no control over. For example, no company can erase bad marks from your credit or stop collection calls. Only a bankruptcy and consumer proposals can stop collection calls.
They claim to be “government approved.” Many companies use this line. While the government places regulations on debt management companies, they don’t approve any of them.
They are not licensed in Canada. In some cases, companies will claim to be licensed. They might be, but not in Canada. American debt management companies do not have the same licensing requirements as Canadian companies.
If any company makes these kinds of claims or promises and charge large fees upfront, it’s best to steer clear to avoid wasting money and going further into debt.
Finding trustworthy debt management help can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. The best place to start is with a certified, licensed bankruptcy trustee.