A Credit Counsellor can be anyone selling their services to debtors, as anyone can call himself or herself a “Credit Counselor”. Be aware that even though some advertise that there is no “fee” or that they are “not-for-profit”, in British Columbia there is no government paid debtor service and everyone who assists you with debt repayment is being paid in one way or another. All credit counselors are in the business of advising debtors for a fee.
As a debtor the services you are paying for can vary greatly from one counselor to another. Credit counselors or debt poolers have developed relationships with the banks and credit card companies and can essentially be acting as collection agents for those creditors. Most credit counselors who indicate that they are “licensed” are licensed as collection agents or “debt poolers” in the province that they operate.
If you are looking to reduce the interest you are being charged on your debts, or you want to make one lump sum to repay your debts each month, then a debt pooler may be able to assist you. At the outset in entering into a repayment plan you should understand what amounts you will be required to pay each month and ask for details on a regular basis that your creditors are receiving regular distributions from you through your debt pooler or credit counselor.
There have been numerous cases in Canada where unscrupulous debt poolers have collected funds from debtors and not paid the creditors what was due. This resulted in debtors believing that they were making payments towards their debt when they were not.