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Questions to ask Canadian debt counseling organizations before you employ their services

Debt counseling is available throughout Canada for Canadian consumers overwhelmed by credit problems. However, before you employ any debt counseling services, make sure you have a clear understanding of who you are dealing with by asking the following questions:

SERVICES AND FEES

  • What services do you offer in Canada? 
  • Do you have educational materials? If so, will you send them to me? Are they free? Can I access them on the Internet?
  • In addition to helping me solve my immediate problem, will you help me develop a plan for avoiding problems in the future?
  • What are your fees? Do I have to pay anything before you can help me? Are there monthly fees? What's the basis for the fees?
  • What is the source of your funding?
  • Will I have a formal written agreement or contract with you?
  • How soon can you take my case?
  • Who regulates, oversees and/or licenses your agency? Is your agency audited?
  • Will I work with one counselor or several?
  • What are the qualifications of your counselors? Are they accredited or certified? If not, how are they trained?
  • What assurance do I have that information about me (including my address and phone number) will be kept confidential?

REPAYMENT PLAN

  • How much do I have to owe to use your services? 
  • How do you determine the amount of my payment? What happens if this is more than I can afford?
  • How does your debt repayment plan work? How will I know my creditors have received payments? Is client money put in a separate account from operating funds?
  • How often can I get status reports on my accounts? Can I get access to my accounts online or by phone?
  • Can you get my Canadian creditors to lower or eliminate interest and finance charges or waive late fees?
  • Is a debt repayment plan my only option?
  • What if I can't maintain the agreed-upon plan? 
  • What debts will be excluded from the debt repayment plan?
  • Will you help me plan for payment of these debts?
  • Who will help me if I have problems with my accounts or creditors?
  • How secure is the information I provide to you?

Once you are satisfied that all these questions have been answered honestly and completely, then consider your options before signing any contracts. 

Consider legal advice before committing to paper what you have discussed verbally. 

You want to improve your financial situation, not make it worse by getting involved with the wrong debt counseling company or credit counseling organization.

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Debt Counseling Fees
Debt Counseling  Tip
You want to improve your financial situation, not make it worse by getting involved with the wrong debt counseling company or credit counseling organization.