Dealing with Collection Agencies.
What are your rights and responsibilities when dealing with collection agencies?
You’re behind in your payments. Debt collectors are calling. What are your rights? How do you stop collection calls? What are your responsibilities? How should you be dealing with collection agencies?
First and foremost, DON’T GET EXCITED.
The people that you owe money to, your “creditors”, have a right to try and collect that money. If they don’t talk to you, how can they know your situation?
That being said, there are definite rules that collection agencies need to follow.
Collection agencies rules: how can you stop collection calls?
Get familiar with the collection agencies rules. Knowing what debt collectors can and can’t do and what you can and should do will help you deal with collection agencies. Below we provide a partial list of the rules for Ontario. The legislation is similar (not identical) in other provinces and territories.
Collection agencies may not harass you or your family. Calling you once or twice a day is acceptable. Calling you and your family ten times a day is harassment. If you believe a collection agency is harassing you, keep a record of the time, date and frequency of the calls. If you decide to make a formal complaint against the collection agency you will require this information.
Collection agencies may not call you on a statutory holiday, on a Sunday before 1 pm or after 5 pm, or on any day before 7 am or after 9 p.m.
Collection agencies may not contact you (by phone, voicemail, or e-mail) more than three times in any seven-day period on behalf of the same creditor.
Collection agencies may not contact your friends, relatives, neighbors or employer for any information other than your address or telephone number, with limited exceptions. These involve special cases, when, for example, someone has co-signed for a good or service you have purchased.
Ignoring collection agencies’ attempts to contact you will not help you solve your problems: it might stop the collection calls – true, but beware that if they cannot reach you, they may simply proceed with the legal action.
How should you deal with collection agents?
First, don’t ignore them. They won’t just go away. Talk to them, and explain your situation. If you are not working, or can’t pay them, tell them that. Don’t have a long discussion with them. They want to keep you on the phone and upset you so you will pay them money. Don’t play that game. Tell them your situation, and then hang up.
If you can’t pay them, it’s time to consider your options. Debt problems will not simply go away on their own. Bill collectors are calling because you owe money. If you eliminate the debt, you eliminate the phone calls.