Dealing with Collection Agencies: Harassment and The Collection Agencies Act
In Canada, if you have a debt that goes into default, your creditor can assign your debt to a collection agency to be collected. The collection agency will then attempt to collect the debt from you. They will do this by calling you, sending you letters, and some creditors will even grant collection agencies the authority to sue you.
Dealing with collection agencies is no fun! When a collection agency is after you they can be ruthless and even harass you. Some people find themselves feeling powerless when dealing with collection agencies.
Dealing with collection agencies used to be even worse than it is now, but as a result of public outcry, the government decided to begin regulating them. Collection agencies are regulated provincially and all provinces have legislation that regulates the activities and conduct of collection agencies and their collections. In Ontario, for example, this legislation is referred to as the Collection Agencies Act and is administered by the Ministry of Consumer Services.
Although all provinces regulate collection agencies, with regulations varying from province to province, here are some things that, across the board, collection agencies can’t do.
- Ask you for payment without first having notified you in writing that they have been retained by your creditor to collect the debt.
- Make phone calls to you with a frequency that would be considered harassment.
- Make phone calls to you outside of the days and hours the legislation in your province mandates.
- Ask you to pay a debt without having provided you with the name of the creditor and the total amount owed.
- Provide personal information to third parties, such as other people in the household, or leave it on your voicemail.
- Contact your employer (unless there is a court order), neighbours or friends to obtain an address or telephone number for you.
Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and no one wants to end up with a debt in collections. Having a debt in collections is an indication of an underlying financial problem. While you may be able to count on things like the Collection Agencies Act to control the behaviour of your creditor’s collection agencies, you won’t be able to stop dealing with collection agencies until you have a plan to deal with your debt.
So many people get stressed out when dealing with collection agencies that, instead of facing the debt head on, they alter their lifestyle. They stop opening mail or answering the phone. Don’t do this!
There are financial solutions to deal with debt that is in collections and companies that specialize in these types of problems. Some financial solutions can even reduce the size of your debt or freeze the interest on your debt, and all financial solutions will stop collection action!
Just imagine your life without the phone ringing off the hook every moment. Imagine being able to rebuild your credit. Imagine having control over your debt. All is possible – it’s up to you to take the first step.
For more information about dealing with collection agencies or if you need help with a financial problem please contact DebtCare Canada at 1-888-890-0888 or visit www.debtcare.ca.