Collection Agencies and The CRA – Do You Know Your Rights?
When you owe money, whether to a creditor or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), this knowledge can be stressful. If you can’t pay and are being contacted regarding the debt, that stress is likely to increase tenfold. However, there are limits, and if a collection agency or the CRA is becoming more aggressive than you’re comfortable with, know that you have rights and are protected.
Collection agencies in Ontario are regulated by the Consumer Protection Act and their activities must adhere to certain guidelines.
Before any contact occurs, a collection agency must first send you a written notice through regular mail notifying you of the person or business that says you owe them money, the amount you owe, the name of the collection agency and a statement that the creditor has asked them to collect the debt. Only after this has been sent can you be contacted, and not for at least 6 days after the notice has been sent.
Here are some of the things a collection agency can’t do:
- 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 your rights have been violated by a collection agency, you have every right to file a complaint. You can find out more information about your rights and how to file a complaint here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/filing-consumer-complaint.
The CRA is considered very different from collection agencies. That being said, their activities must also follow a strict set of guidelines. They are required to treat you with respect and integrity, and there is an entire Taxpayer Bill of Rights which outlines the rights of individual taxpayers when dealing with the CRA.
Some of these rights include:
- The right to privacy and confidentiality
- The right to service in both official languages
- The right to be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly
- The right to complete, accurate, clear, and timely information
- The right to lodge a service complaint or request a formal review without fear of reprisal
The entire Taxpayer Bill of Rights, as well as the steps to take if you feel your rights have not be respected, can be found here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/rc17/rc17-12-16e.pdf.
At DebtCare, we often receive calls from individuals requesting information about their rights as far as collection agencies and the CRA are concerned. No matter what, you should never feel harassed or disrespected. If you’re currently dealing with a debt that is being enforced, we can help you better understand the various solutions.
Call us today for a free consultation: 1 (888) 890-0888.