I recently received a call asking if we accept referrals . Easy – of course . However, my answer ended up being no. I determined that this company was charging someone an upfront fee of $500.00 to refer them to a trustee because their debt management/ credit counselling program was not suitable. This person was being charged $500.00 for something they could get free of charge just by calling us directly. This call reminded me of how often people get taken advantage of in their desperation to solve their financial difficulties.
A “trustee in bankruptcy” is licensed by the federal government. We are professionals who are governed by the federal government and are subject to a strict code of ethics. Unfortunately, our title scares people. However, by getting advice from a trustee the debtor is assured of getting solid professional advice from a well- trained person.
Credit counselling and debt management companies are not subject to these laws. Whilst, there are some good ones, unfortunately, there are others who are not good. The Province of Nova Scotia does have legislation which will hopefully be enacted soon which will help with this problem to a degree.
If you are in financial difficulty, calling a company operating in a different province or even country is likely not the best solution. Ideally, you should speak with a trustee, however, if you choose not to, be certain you are dealing with reputable agency who does not charge an upfront fee and can has a solid contract with all details disclosed.