The “uncomfortable” Cost of Credit Counselling

I received a call today from a Debt Consolidation Company planning to expand into Nova Scotia. They were looking for a Trustee to refer business to. We chatted about what they needed and what they offered to their clients.

He informed me that their objective is to help individuals find the best solution. I thought, “Us too!”. He explained that they have individuals complete an assessment package to assist them in determining the best option. And I thought, “We do that too!”. He further offered that they charge the client a fee for this advice. And I thought “We DON’T do that!”. Our consultations are free. Yet, these credit counselling companies are popping up AND, apparently, expanding.

He indicated that many people call them because they are afraid of the “B” word (that would be “Bankruptcy”); and I totally get that. Bankruptcy should always be your last option and we strive to help individuals find solutions other than the “B” word. In fact, and we pride ourselves on this fact, approximately 40 percent of the people who walk through our doors, walk back out again. Not because we couldn’t help them, but because we helped them to find an alternate solution. And it didn’t cost them anything. Other than, perhaps, the embarrassment of talking to a Trustee in Bankruptcy.

Which leads me back to “the cost of embarrassment”…it seems to me that if you are struggling financially, perhaps you would be better off not paying a fee for a service that you can get for free.

There is a movement in the bankruptcy industry to change the title from Trustee in Bankruptcy to something that better reflects our wide range of advice/services. I would say that’s a movement in the right direction.

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