Are You being Harassed By Debt Collectors?
When you're behind paying the bills, it is common that you will be called relentlessly. This happens both at home and at work, as collection agents attempt to convince you to pay the debts you owe. These calls can be extremely distressing and embarrassing.
Unfortunately, when someone falls behind on their payments to their creditors, these collection agencies (organizations that are hired by your creditors to contact you and convince you to catch up on your payments) have a legal right to contact you.
How Can Ontario Legislation Help Me?
Luckily, due to some recent Ontario legislation, collection agencies (and their staff) are now bound by a series of rules
and regulations that should (but don’t always) put a stop to much of this stressful behavior. This legislation is designed to ensure a collection agency behaves itself while in the process of attempting to collect a debt.
It’s essential to understand that this Provincial legislation is not designed to completely stop the calls and demand letters from collection agencies. Only an insolvency filing, such as a Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal, can truly stop the collection agencies dead in their tracks
. But if you don’t think you’re at the point where you feel a Bankruptcy or Proposal filing is necessary, and you’re tired of talking to collection agents, there is help available. It’s known as the Collection Agencies Act of Ontario.
New Rules For Debt Collectors
Let’s take a look at how this Act imposes some new rules upon debt collectors:
- A collection agency may not demand payment from you until 6 days have passed from the time a written notice was mailed out to you.
- The written notice must contain the name of the creditor, the balance owing and the name of the collection agency.
- If you reply to the written notice with a registered letter indicating you feel the debt is incorrect or false, the collection agency must stop contacting you and only continue its actions through the courts.
- If you inform the collection agency that you did not receive the first written notice, they must not contact you by phone until a second copy of the written notice is mailed to the address provided by you. The 6-day rule once again applies.
- The collection agency is not allowed to contact you by telephone more than 3 times in any 7-day period without your consent.
- The collector may not use profane, intimidating or coercive language. Or use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure.
- The collection agency may not continue to contact you if you have sent a registered letter to them stating that you are not the person they are seeking. Once this letter is received by the collection agency, all calls must stop.
- The collector is not allowed to give false or misleading information to you (e.g. “We have already filed paperwork to send you to court.” when no such court date has been arranged).
- The collector cannot recommend to a creditor that legal action be commenced against you without first sending you notice.
- The collector may not contact your employer - except on 1 occasion, and only to obtain your employment information.
- The collection agency must not contact your spouse, a member of your family or household, a relative, landlord, neighbour or acquaintance, except to obtain your home phone number.
Not All Debt Collectors Follow The Rules
Collection agencies are required to follow a strict series of rules and regulations. Unfortunately, not all collectors are willing to follow these rules and often go beyond the allowable regulations
to seek you out and attempt to obtain payment from you. And since so few of us really know what the rules are, it’s easy for collectors to break them during their collection efforts. Enforcement can also be a long, tedious process
and there is no guarantee the Ministry of Consumer Affairs will be able to cease inappropriate collection efforts
in a speedy manner.
Free Debt Relief Consultation
If you feel harassed by debt collectors and cannot get relief by using the regulations in the Credit Collections Act, please give us a call toll-free at (844) 507-7526 or fill in the form below
to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our 50+ conveniently-located offices
. We can help you find relief from your debt problems.