Chilliwack debt pooler loses licence

Former clients of a Chilliwack debt pooler are being asked to come forward after Consumer Protection BC pulled the company’s licence.

Former clients of a Chilliwack debt pooler are being asked to come forward after Consumer Protection BC pulled the company’s licence last week.

Options Credit Services Canada Ltd. had its bank accounts frozen and its licence suspended by Consumer Protection BC in December of 2013.

Last week the agency announced the licence was being cancelled, arguing the company had breached several sections of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Debt Collection Industry Regulation.

“This has been a complex investigation from the start, involving a number of consumers and a variety of financial transactions,” said Tayt Winnitoy, vice-president of operations at Consumer Protection BC. “We are very concerned about the financial impact that may be felt by consumers as a result of this company’s business practices. We will make every effort to help consumers receive whatever refunds are possible.”

Consumers financially affected by the business practices of Options Credit Services or its owner Don Antle are asked to fill out the Consumer Protection BC “debt pooling claim form” online or contact the inquiry unit at info@consumerprotectionbc.ca if they have further questions about the claim form.

Under the law in BC, a debt pooler is a person who accepts and distributes consumer money to creditors in accordance with an agreed upon repayment program.

Consumer Protection BC has several tips when choosing a debt pooler.

• Consider your debt repayment options. Not everyone will benefit from debt pooling as you need to have surplus income each month to pay your creditors and you need to be prepared to commit to paying down your debts, often for several years or more.

• Ask about your responsibilities and what the debt pooler can do for you. Get this information in writing. This is particularly important if the debt pooler is promising to have the amount or interest rates on your debts reduced.

• Check licensing status. By law, debt poolers working in B.C. or with B.C. consumers are required to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC. (Check www.debtrightsbc.ca to ensure the debt pooler you’re working with is licensed.)

For more information, go to www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/