Back to Basics: Collection Agency Harassment and Your Rights
When you have debts that you are unable to pay, your creditors will not just sit back and wait for you to find the money. Creditors have resources available to them to retrieve what is owed, and most will take advantage of them within a very short period of time. The most common is a collection agency – a company that intervenes on your creditor’s behalf to recover money owed. Unfortunately, even though these agencies are regulated, collection agency harassment is quite common.
Here are some things you may not know:
- As soon as your account goes to a collection agency, you must be notified in writing.
- Once you receive this letter, if possible, pay the amount that you owe.
- If you are unable to pay it all at once, contact the agency and explain – don’t just hope the issue will go away on its own.
- If you reach an agreement with the agency, get it in writing.
- Never send cash. Make sure that you obtain a receipt for your payment from the agency.
This is often an oversimplification of the entire process, and since collection agencies are aggressive, their tactics to get you to pay are often intimidating and stress-inducing.
That being said, you have rights. Knowing them is important.
Each province has its own set of regulations pertaining to collection agencies. You can visit the Office of Consumer Affairs to find out more about your own province here: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca02149.html. These regulations are put in place to protect you – and any breach is a violation of these regulations.
In Ontario, for example, a collection agency can’t:
- contact you on a Sunday, except between 1 pm and 5 pm
- contact you on any other day of the week between 9 pm and 7 am
- contact you on a holiday
- use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language
- use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure or harass you
- charge you any fees
If you feel as though a collection agency is not adhering to these rules, you have the right to defend yourself and speak out.
If you’re drowning in debt, dealing with collection calls that, although adhering to the regulations, are causing you to lose sleep at night, and you don’t know where to turn, it might be time to seek out some help.
Did you know DebtCare offers a credit repair program?
We can help stop the collection calls and get your debt cleared up. Call us today to find out about your options: 1-888-890-0888.