How can you help me?
We will set an appointment for you to speak with a professional credit counsellor. During that appointment, your counsellor will review your financial situation, begin to design a personal budget, and provide you with other information and recommendations to help address your concerns.
Is there a fee for your service?
Our counselling sessions are always free of charge; you may speak with a counsellor as many times as necessary, at no cost.
If you choose to enroll in our Debt Repayment Program, a one-time setup fee will apply, along with a minimal cost recovery amount. Certain fees are always waived in cases of hardship.
How can you help with debt repayment?
A Credit Counsellor will develop an alternative repayment process which is presented to creditors for consideration. Conditional to this proposal is a significant reduction in interest charges or their elimination entirely. Our proposals are generally accepted in approximately 97% of cases. Due to interest rate reductions, clients generally become debt free within five years. Once an agreement has been made with each creditor, they will be asked to contact us instead of the client with any questions or concerns until the debts are fully paid.
What qualifications do your counsellors have? Where do they obtain their certification?
Our counsellors hold a University degree and complete an in-house six to eight week training program to ensure they are adequately trained. Counsellors then continue in an on-going training process ultimately resulting in a professional designation.
Am I eligible for your services?
If you feel you have a financial problem, if you feel your debts are out of control or if you tend to stress or worry about money you are certainly a candidate for our service.
If I'm having trouble making monthly payments, how can you help me?
It all starts with a call to our office. If you’re struggling or worried, don’t put things off any longer. When you talk to us our first priority will be determining a reasonable budget for you and your family. From there, our services will be tailored to you and your particular set of circumstances.
My monthly bills are more than my monthly income. How can you help me?
Again, our response is tailor-made to your individual situation.
If you are clearly struggling with debt and you either can’t or should not go bankrupt, we might suggest a Debt Retirement Program (DRP)
Will a Debt Retirement Program affect my credit rating?
If you choose a DRP, you will have to agree not to apply for new credit while you are on that particular program. If you do, your application will likely be denied. Once you enter a DRP, in all likelihood your creditors will report your accounts as paid slow to the Credit Bureaus. This does not happen in all cases. However, you will encounter serious problems getting new credit approved while you are on a DRP.
Once you have successfully completed your DRP, we will notify the various credit reporting agencies of your success. When we do so, the negative information contained in your credit history file as a result of your DRP is usually removed 2 years later. If you have completed a DRP with us more than 2 years ago, and you learn that it is still being reported, you should contact us immediately.
How long does a DRP last?
Typically DRP’s last for a maximum of 5 years. This time frame unfortunately does not apply to student loans.
Does Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador make payments to my creditors in a Debt Retirement Program?
Simply put, yes.
Clients using our Debt Repayment Program agree to make a set deposit with us regularly. One or more times each month, we send your deposit to your individual creditors as per our agreement with them.
You make your deposit to CCSNL by either:
Through your financial institution
By mail or in person using a money order (we do not accept cash under any conditions)
How much will this cost?
Less than 1% of our clients pay for counselling services. This is because Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to our 30 year history and policy of “no fee” or “low fee” for our counselling services. If in the unlikely event that you fall into the minute number of clients who expected to pay for counselling services, your counsellor will tell you so during your initial meeting.
What's the fastest way for me to get help from Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador?
Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador strives to keep our waiting time to 2 – 3 business days. Therefore you will usually be seen within this timeframe after you make your appointment.
However, if you have an Employee Assistance Program where you work, chances are, Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador are on their referral list. If you contact your EAP Representative a formal referral can usually be made and you will be seen much faster than otherwise.
What do I bring for my first appointment?
- Recent pay stub (or EI stub)
- Bills, notices, utilities, etc. This information will usually allow your counsellor to accurately assess your situation.
- Approximately three months’ worth of bank statements
- Current credit card or loan statements
- Letters from collection agencies
- Mortgage balance (if applicable)
- Vehicle loan/lease (if applicable)
- Recreational vehicles (if applicable)
Do you offer counselling by telephone?
Yes we do. While by its very nature counselling is best carried out in person, we recognize that in a large province like ours, travel costs may inhibit people from visiting our offices. Therefore if your situation is best handled by phone, we’re happy to accommodate. It’s a simple matter of making an appointment for telephone counselling.
Can I keep just one credit card for emergencies?
Creditors won’t negotiate or consider lower payment arrangements than originally agreed to unless all unsecured debt, including credit cards, overdrafts, and lines of credit and payday loans are disclosed and included on the program. Many financial institutions offer secured credit cards for those that require access to a credit card for employment or business purposes.
How is your program different from a consumer proposal?
A consumer proposal to creditors is a legally binding procedure that is administered for the courts through a licensed trustee in bankruptcy. Both you and your creditors are bound to payment arrangements made through the trustee. You must be in a financial position to meet these arrangements or able to provide a third party guarantee or other security.
How is this any different from bankruptcy and does it affect my credit rating?
A bankruptcy involves you paying a Trustee for their services in order to be discharged from debt. After your discharge period, your R9 credit rating will remain on your report for up to seven years. You may also lose assets depending upon income available for payment.
A Debt Repayment program allows you to pay your debt in full, and keep your assets. You will have an R7 credit rating which will be removed from your credit report two years after your account is paid in full.
Meeting with a credit counsellor will not affect your credit rating. If you avail of a DRP, your creditors will rate you as an R7 with the credit reporting agencies.
Is this like bankruptcy?
No, we are an alternative to bankruptcy!
We do everything we can to prevent bankruptcy by offering solutions such as our DRP. Although we do not provide bankruptcy service, if it is in your best interest, your counsellor will provide you with a referral to a Trustee in bankruptcy.
Is there a charge for the Debt Repayment Program?
Following your free initial assessment, a one-time payment of $50.00 is required to set up your program. Additionally, there is a cost of 10% of your total monthly payment to creditors, up to a maximum of $100, to cover the costs of administering your program.
How long will my program last?
DRP’s have a life of up to 60 monthly payments. This does not apply with student loans or other amounts owed to government. Your repayment term will be dictated by the following:
- Elimination or reduction of interest by creditors;
- Timely deposits;
- Additional or extra deposits that you make voluntarily;
Will the creditors stop the interest while I am on the program?
The DRP is a voluntary repayment program supported by the majority of financial institutions. Therefore, going forward, they reduce or eliminate interest or other charges/late fees. This helps you get started with repaying your debts in a reasonable timeframe.
How will I know that my payments are being applied to my accounts?
You may contact your creditors directly to confirm your balance. As well, if requested, CCSNL will provide you with a statement. You may or may not continue to receive a monthly statement from your creditors.
Will my creditors continue to contact me if I am on a DRP?
Once the creditors have accepted our proposal, they will generally contact us for any details or information they may need; however, if you continue to receive phone calls, you should refer them to us.
Does your organization operate under the new Privacy Legislation Laws?
Credit Counselling Services of Newfoundland and Labrador adheres to the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” as set out in federal legislation. We respect and guard the privacy of clients and will not identify them or release information without their written consent.
BOOK FREE APPOINTMENT
Our first commitment is guarding your privacy. Your counsellor will discuss this with you in great detail during your initial appointment.