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Consumer Protection BC refunds consumers impacted by Chilliwack debt pooler

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{April 13, 2016} VICTORIA, BC – Consumer Protection BC has issued refunds to consumers who filed valid claims against Options Credit Services Limited, a formerly licensed BC debt pooler (now called a debt repayment agent). 

By law, consumers have two years to file a claim after a licensee failure or default has occurred, allowing time for all impacted consumers to have the opportunity to come forward. That claim period is now closed and all eligible claims filed with our office have now been adjudicated. The amount of money available to satisfy claims against licensed debt repayment agents is limited to the amount of security that the licensee provides to Consumer Protection BC under the Debt Collection and Repayment Regulation. In this instance, the amount of security held was $14,000, which has been distributed on a pro-rated basis amongst sixteen consumers who filed valid claims.

“We recognize that these consumers are only getting a small portion of their money back. Unfortunately the total dollar value of the claims was far higher than the amount of security we held for this former licensee,” says Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC. “The recent changes to the debt repayment law in BC will afford greater protection to consumers moving forward. Certain business practices by debt repayment agents are now prohibited, resulting in a lower risk for consumers.”

The amended regulation came into force on April 1, 2016. For more information about the changes, please visit this announcement on our website.

“We want to take this opportunity to let consumers know that if they are considering a debt repayment agent and they are being asked for an upfront fee or there is no written contract, that is a red flag,” says Chabeaux-Smith. “We encourage people to find out about the new rules and to contact us if they believe a debt repayment agent is engaging in a prohibited business practice.”

Consumer and business information related to the debt industry is available on Consumer Protection BC’s debt portal at www.debtrightsbc.ca. All recent enforcement actions are also published on Consumer Protection BC’s corporate website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.

About Consumer Protection BC:
Consumer Protection BC is the regulator of a variety of industries and specific consumer transactions in the province. Our mandate is to license and inspect our regulated businesses, respond to consumer inquiries, investigate alleged violations of consumer protection laws, classify all general release motion pictures and provide information so consumers can self-assess the fairness of a transaction. Our vision is a province where all citizens of BC are empowered in their transactions as a result of rigorous and consistent business compliance and through the provision of solution-based information. 

For more information about our organization, please visit our corporate website at 
www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips and resources.

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