We Make Financial Debt Recovery Easier
J Bottom & Associates are licensed insolvent trustees capable of helping clients out of complicated debt situations. Our practice works hand-in-hand with clients to form cohesive and effective debt consolidation plans. New Westminster, BC residents deserve to live a life free from creditors and non-stop calls from collection agencies. Our firm can help make that life a reality. Read our frequently asked questions to learn more about debt and what you can do to resolve it.
I’m Getting Calls from Collection Agencies. What Do I Do?
The first thing to understand is there are limits to how frequently a collection agency can call you. Canadian law prohibits calls with a frequency they consider “harassment.” So, if you feel an agency is harassing you, J Bottom & Associates suggests contacting us today. Our firm can act as a go-between you and your creditors. Doing so is the first step towards resolving unpaid debt. We can help end the calls and settle the debt once and for all.
How Can I Find Out Who I Owe Money To?
Many individuals owe money to several creditors, which can make gaining an accurate picture of their situation challenging. The first step is to request copies of your credit history reports from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion. These credit history reports will tell you who you owe money to, as well as the amounts. While there is no fee for requesting a copy of your credit history report through the mail, there is a fee for digital copies.
Can a Collection Agency Take Me to Court?
Yes, but only as a last resort. Agencies would rather resolve outstanding debts without the burden of court proceedings, so they will call and send you letters first. Only after exhausting those methods would a credit agency consider taking you to court. One other factor to consider is whether the agency purchased your debt, or a creditor hired them to retrieve it. If they bought your debt, they’re more likely to sue.
How Can a Licensed Insolvency Trustee Help Me?
J Bottom & Associates has years of experience helping people out of complex debt situations. We give debtor information and advise you during the bankruptcy portion if you file for it. We can administer proposals and handle other time-consuming tasks. We also protect both your rights and your creditors’ interests. We’re ethically and legally obligated to provide you with unbiased and objective advice. You must hire a licensed insolvency trustee if you file for bankruptcy.
Does the Hardship Provision Apply to Student Loans?
If part of your debt situation includes student loans, then there are a few avenues to explore. One of them is the hardship provision. Canada’s hardship provision exists to help those who filed for bankruptcy and left school five or more years prior receive an early discharge of the student loan debt. We can help determine whether you qualify for the program.
Will I Go Jail for Unpaid Debts?
No! Jail time occurs during criminal matters handled in criminal courts. To go to jail, a jury must convict you of a crime. Civil courts handle all debt-related situations. While there can be lasting consequences to not paying debt, jail time is not one of them.
Can the Canada Revenue Agency Put a Lien on My House?
Yes. If you fall behind in your tax filings or payment obligations, the Canada Revenue Agency can potentially resort to placing a lien on your house. One other avenue the CRA can explore is garnishing wages or freezing your bank accounts, though these are extraordinary measures. You can prevent these actions by filing personal bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Both actions will at least temporarily halt any escalations. At the same time, you work with J Bottom & Associates to discover a long-term solution.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Debt in British Columbia?
There is no statute of limitations regulating how much credit agencies can call or write you regarding unpaid debt. However, in British Columbia, the Limitation Act sets a two-year basic liability cap on lawsuits relating to the outstanding debt.
What are Debt Settlement and Debt Management Plans?
Debt management plans involve negotiations between J Bottom & Associates and your creditors concerning the interest on your debt. While you must pay back 100% of your debt, we can organize smaller payments in your favor. A debt settlement plan does not require a licensed insolvency trustee, so many credit agencies refuse to use them.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a multi-step process in which an individual’s debts are wiped clean. Typically, it represents the last step in clearing unpaid debts. J Bottom & Associates works with you through each step of the process, which includes bankruptcy court, creditors’ meetings, counseling, and more. Our trustees can help you decide whether bankruptcy is the best choice for you.
Why Is Filing for Bankruptcy a Good Option?
Bankruptcy provides individuals with a clean slate, something everyone under considerable amounts of debt desires. While the process can be painful and result in loss of property, it does represent a second chance. The benefits of filing for bankruptcy include:
- It prevents legal action from creditors
- It eliminates all unsecured debts
- It can be a relatively quick process
- It can be less expensive and more thorough than other options
- If you have minimal to no income, are a first-time bankrupt, and co-operate with a trustee, the court can discharge you in as little as nine months
Why Shouldn’t I File for Bankruptcy?
While there are certainly benefits to utilizing the bankruptcy process to get back on your feet, there are some definite drawbacks. Before entering the process, J Bottom & Associates will reiterate to you the risks and downsides, which include:
- You can lose assets, such as cars and your house
- During bankruptcy, you must report each month’s income. If you get a raise, you will have to pay more during the bankruptcy process. A proposal doesn’t have that problem.
- Bankruptcy proceedings can be lengthy. If you have surplus income or have filed for bankruptcy previously, the process can take a while.
- If you owe more than $200,000 of personal income tax debt, representing 75% of your unsecured debt, the process will take longer.
- Sometimes creditors will oppose a discharge if they feel the debt can be resolved with a consumer proposal instead.
- Bankruptcy cannot clear some student loans and other secured debts.
- There is a stigma associated with filing for bankruptcy – real or perceived.
What Other Options Do I Have?
Sometimes, clients can use what’s known as a consumer proposal to handle their debt. This formal procedure is available only to individuals with less than $250,000 in overall debt, and it can’t include a mortgage. Consumer proposals enable you to work with J Bottom & Associates, who communicates with creditors on your behalf. If you owe over $250,000, you can try a “Division I” proposal. This action has no monetary limit and operates in the same manner as a consumer proposal. Please note, you cannot resolve business debts with a consumer protocol or a consolidation loan or order.
Can I Work Out a Payment Plan with a Collection Agency?
Sometimes. Payment plans can work, but individuals with more than one or two past-due debts won’t be able to work out a payment plan with their creditor. However, if you owe one creditor $1,000, you could offer to pay $150 per cheque until you resolve the issue. We can help determine whether settling your debt with your creditor is the best option or if a more involved solution is required.
What is a Consolidation Loan?
Consolidation loans enable you to pay most or all of your creditors at the same time, leaving you with only one debt (the consolidation loan). A financial institution will provide you with the loan, as well as a set of loan terms. It’s important to note you will still owe the bank money, so it’s best to talk with J Bottom & Associates before taking this step.
Contact J Bottom & Associates for Debt Consolidation Today
As British Columbia’s foremost bankruptcy and debt consolidation experts, J Bottom & Associates are well-placed to help individuals of all income levels recover from crushing debt. We don’t believe debt should prevent our clients from living productive and fulfilling lives. Our job is to provide you a way out while respecting the rights of your creditors. You can rely on us for unbiased advice and sound financial direction. Whether you opt for bankruptcy or another route, we’ll make sure it’s the right choice before continuing. We hope you’ll contact our licensed insolvency trustees so you can dig yourself out of debt.