Q: I'm having trouble keeping up with my debt payments and I think I need to talk with someone about this. All the ads and websites promise they can help me. I called a couple of credit counselling companies, and they claimed they could help me without even knowing my situation. How do I choose a trustworthy company that can really help me?
A: We would suggest that you do your homework first before relying on an organization to help you work through your debt issues.
Find out whether the company is properly licensed in your province.
Don't just assume that all companies are licensed. Some companies may be licensed in Canada but not in the province where you reside.
Being properly licensed does not guarantee a company’s qualifications. It just means that it is licensed as a "Debt Pooler" and can operate a trust account.
Counsellors who operate from other parts of Canada or out of the U.S. may not be familiar with the laws of your province and this could have serious implications for you.
Here are some other questions to ask:
Is the firm accredited by a recognized association in Canada?
How long has the company been in business?
Are its Counsellors accredited financial Counsellors?
What services does the organization provide and how much will they charge you in upfront and monthly fees?
Does the company have a good track record at resolving clients’ complaints? Check out the company with your local Better Business Bureau.
Be careful with companies that make claims that seem too good to be true or are in a hurry to sign you up. You can't judge a book by its cover or a credit counselling service by its marketing efforts alone.
If you need help with your debts or know someone who does, you can find help from accredited agencies by clicking here.
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