What is a Debt Consultant

by Joel Sandwith on October 10, 2011

I’ve been working for Hoyes, Michalos, a licenced Trustee in Bankruptcy, for closing in on three years now.  Prior to that, I worked at a non profit community based credit counselling service in London for six years.  In my time in this business, my largest frustration has been with various for profit, unregulated companies that pop up from time to time telling you they can solve your debt problems with some miracle solution.

These places often advertise that the can repair your credit, slash your debt, negotiate with your creditors, etc.  But many of them are out and out scams.  Often, they refer to themselves as debt consultants and I would like to take some time and explain why they should be avoided at all costs.

You can recognize them by the ‘too good to be true’ nature of their advertising – they refer to unnamed ‘government programs’ to slash debt, they tell you that they can reduce your debt by 70%, they tell you that you must owe $10,000 in credit card debt to qualify, and that their programs are ending soon.  Occasionally they tell you that you will meet with a Court official, or that they can protect you from your creditors.

Here’s the real deal – they are after your money.  In some cases the scam is that you pay them some fee (anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars) up front or over a few months, they do nothing for you, then just refer you to a bankruptcy Trustee.  In some cases the scam is to charge you $1500 or so, then tell you just don’t pay the debt and cross your fingers, that if you get sued, they will help you then.  In some cases they tell you they can negotiate with creditors, but then after you’ve paid them all sorts of money, you realize they haven’t done a thing for you except cash your checks.

Here’s the facts.  If you need credit counselling, you can get that right HERE IN SARNIA, at little cost, from a legitimate non profit credit counselling organization.  They are the Financial Fitness Centre, they are accredited by the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, supported by United Way, and LEGITIMATE.  They will give you unbiased advice about what your options really are, and they will meet with you face to face.  You can call them at 519-542-1130.

If you need to look into bankruptcy or consumer proposals, you can meet with me, for free.  We DO NOT charge a fee for consultations and we are obligated by law to provide you information about all of your options.  We are a firm that is licenced to provide access to bankruptcies and proposals.  We are heavily regulated by the Federal Government, under the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.  You do not need a referal to see us, and we are going to tell you exactly what we can do for you without empty promises.  You can call us at 519-344-1058.


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