We blogged about credit counsellors duking it out in our blog of August, 2011.
They’re at it again!
On January 26, 2012 the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services (OACCS) issued a press release where they criticized debt settlement agencies and even an other “not for profit” credit counsellor.
OACCS Executive Director Henrietta Ross said: “We applaud the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) for alerting people to a number of so-called ‘new’ or “innovative” debt settlement companies that are scurrying to Ontario with dubious claims of quick fixes for people experiencing moderate to crippling debt problems. These ‘too-good-to-be-true-claims’, as the FCAC puts it, are coming from companies and organizations that – unlike OACCS member agencies – are not recognized for exemptions under provincial legislation.”
OACCS Executive Director Henrietta Ross also struck out at fellow “not for profit” credit counsellor, the Credit Counselling Society of British Columbia. She said: “… which in setting up operations in Ontario has implied that Ontarians are somehow underserviced in terms of debt counselling services. Ross described as “patently untrue” any suggestion that the province is being underserviced in this regard.
She said it is closer to the truth to say that interlopers with questionable intentions are coming into Ontario to dilute, rather than to augment, an already strong service base, which is illustrated by achievements of OACCS during the past year.
Bankruptcy Canada’s position is that all credit counsellors; “none profits”, for profits and debt settlement agencies offer an inferior product, are usually expensive and often have poorly trained staff.
Perhaps most important is the conflict of interest the “non profits” have by accepting funding from credit grantors while at the same time advising debtors. The website for the Credit Counselling Society of BC, in its 2010 annual report, stated that 62.1% of their contributions were from Banks, 23.2% from clients’ fees, followed by 11.1% from Financial companies and other Creditors. We know that the banks and credit card companies are not doing this for altruistic purposes. So, all debtors, seeking financial help, have to ask themselves if they will get unbiased advise from credit counsellors.
Bankruptcy Canada’s views are supported by the Consumer Affair’s funded study of credit counsellors.
We have information on our website to help debtors make an informed decision on whom to seek help from when facing a financial crisis.