Who Represents You in a Consumer Proposal?
For many Canadians drowning in debt, a consumer proposal is a very valuable resource. The ability to reduce the amount of debt you owe, reduce interest and combine all payments into a single monthly payment you can afford, are all really significant benefits. That being said, a consumer proposal is a complex legal process, one that must be administered by a trustee in bankruptcy, so the question remains, who represents you in a consumer proposal?
Often people are confused when it comes to this question. After all, trustees often market their services as a solution to your debt problems, and since you’ve enlisted their services, it would seem a safe assumption that they represent you. And that isn’t necessarily an incorrect assumption. A trustee does in fact represent you in a consumer proposal. The problem is, they also represent your creditors.
When administering a consumer proposal, a trustee is required to be an impartial party, presenting the best solution for you and a fair option for your creditors. The issue with this is that trustees are paid based on a percentage of your proposal, so the bigger the proposal, the more they earn. This creates a major conflict of interest when it comes to protecting you!
When you first meet with a trustee, they will ask you to provide information about yourself and your finances. Entering this meeting assuming the trustee is representing you and you alone can result in you providing information not necessary for the administration of the consumer proposal. This information may then be used to obtain a larger amount for your creditors, and thus a larger paycheque for your trustee.
Going to a trustee without representation is like going to court without a lawyer. Most, we would argue, would see this as a rather dangerous idea, and thus is one we would advise against. It is the same with a consumer proposal. You want your own representation when considering a consumer proposal – representation to provide protection for you and your financial assets without having to also worry about your creditors.
The point of this blog is not to argue that trustees cannot be trusted. Most can, but government regulation requires them to be fair to all parties, which naturally results in issues. The point is to inform you of the dangers of calling a trustee before securing your own representation.
Our advice is to speak with a financial consultant who can protect you, one hired by you to represent you so there are no repercussions in telling them everything. They can negotiate your consumer proposal with a trustee so that the deal proposed is likely to be successful.
At DebtCare, we have longstanding relationships with several trustees and can protect you throughout the process.
Contact us today before contacting a trustee directly. 1-888-890-0888.