Last Friday I was returning home from a day at the CNE when my girlfriend noticed a sign on a traffic pole which read “Are You In Debt? 905-783-1922”. My girlfriend asked my daughter to take a photo of the sign with her cellphone. This photograph can be found below.
This photograph was taken on Friday, August 21st on Hurontario Street in Mississauga.
My initial reaction was this sign was an ad for a debt settlement firm
On our drive home from the Port Credit Go Station to Kitchener we would pass literally hundreds of signs. This was the only sign that we photographed on our drive home. My girlfriend had the presence of mind to notice that this sign might have an interesting story behind it. When I saw this sign my initial reaction was that it was an ad for a debt settlement firm.
Phone number belongs to firm called New Life Debt Solution
After returning home I googled (905) 783-1922 and I learned that it was the phone number for a Mississauga-based firm called New Life Debt Solution. This firm’s website is www.newlifedebt.com. According to the firm’s website the firm offers debt settlement services.
This screenshot is taken from the top portion of New Life Debt Solution’s webpage titled SERVICES AND SOLUTIONS. On this page the firm clearly states that it offers debt settlement services.
Three locations listed in Ontario
On the website’s LOCATIONS webpage three Ontario locations are listed.
According to its website, New Life Debt Solution is operating in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.
The firm’ website lists its Toronto location as 2898 Weston Road. Earlier this week I had a meeting in the GTA. At the conclusion of my meeting I drove to 2898 Weston Road to take a photograph of New Life Debt Solution’s Toronto office. The photograph which appears below is a photograph of that address.
This is a photograph of 2898 Weston Road, the address listed as the Toronto location for New Life Debt Solution.
New Life Debt Solution does not possess an Ontario collection agency license
Under the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act a firm cannot offer debt settlement services to Ontario residents unless it is licensed as a collection agency under the Act or it is exempt under the Act. To the best of my knowledge New Life Debt Solution is not exempt under the Act.
Earlier this week I contacted the Ontario Government and I received written confirmation that New Life Debt Solution did not possess an Ontario collection agency license.
This week the Ontario Government has provided me with written confirmation that New Life Debt Solution does not possess an Ontario collection agency license.
Mystery shopping call to New Life Debt Solution
At approximately 6:00 p.m. this evening one of my operatives called New Life Debt Solution’s toll free number, 1 (866) 210-9262. This call was on speakerphone and I listened to the call and I made detailed notes during the call.
My operative–who I will simply refer to as Brenda–started this phone call by asking if she had reached New Life Debt Solution. The man answering the phone replied yes.
At the beginning of the phone conversation the man clearly indicated that New Life Debt Solution offered debt settlement services. Brenda stated that she owed $15,000 in unsecured consumer debt.
Based on my detailed notes taken during the phone call the following exchange took place concerning collection calls and the risk of being sued:
Brenda: So I stop making payments to my creditors and I pay you instead?
Brenda: Will I get collection calls from creditors?
Male: Absolutely not. Collection calls will stop. If anyone is trying to collect money from you the calls will stop immediately.
Brenda: But what if they try and sue me?
Male: Absolutely not. We will protect you. They cannot do anything.
Later in the call Brenda asked about how much it would cost her to hire New Life Debt Solution to provide debt settlement services for her.
Brenda: Do you know what my payments would be to you for $15,000?
Male: Approximately $100 per month.
Brenda: How many months?
Male: 60 months, 5 years, $100 per month for 60 months
Brenda: So $6,000 total?
Near the end of this phone conversation Brenda asked the representative from New Life Debt Solution to e-mail her a copy of the firm’s debt settlement agreement which the representative declined to do.
Illegal for a debt settlement provider to charge fees prior to a settlement being paid out
Unless a debt settlement service provider is exempt from the Act, it is illegal for a debt settlement service provider to charge a penny in fees to an Ontario resident until such time that monies have been paid to a creditor under a settlement. Accordingly, it would appear that New LIfe Debt Solution’s free structure contravenes the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.
Under the Act a consumer has the right to a 100 percent refund of any fees paid where the debt settlement service provider is in contravention of the Act.
New Life Debt Solution Inc. would appear to be a new player
Based upon a corporate search of New Life Debt Solution Inc., the company would apear to be a new entrant into the Canadian debt settlement marketplace. According to a corporate search for New Life Debt Solution Inc. the firm was incorporated in British Columbia on June 23, 2015, about eight weeks ago. The corporate search lists one director, Tahir Ahmad Malik. The mailing address for the corporation is listed as 208-9200 120th Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V3V 4B7.
The company’s website indicates that it has offices in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta.
Complaint to be filed with the Ontario Government
Tomorrow I plan on filing a complaint with the Ontario Government against New Life Debt Solution. It would appear that the firm is offering debt settlement services to Ontario residents in contravention of the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.
Contact me if you have paid any monies to New Life Debt Solution
I would invite anyone who has entered into a contract or given any money to New Life Debt Solution to call me at (866) 996-9941 or (519) 827-5513. Alternatively, you can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.