We had a terrific question raised recently by someone who came in to meet with one of our debt managers, to discuss her financial pressures face-to-face. The question was about the power a creditor can bring to bear on someone who owes them money. Specifically, this young woman asked if Visa could force her to pay back the $50,000 debt she owed to them. She was also terribly concerned about her home, her car and her monthly pay cheque – could they do anything to her? Could they force her to pay back the debt? We find these types of questions to be among the most common we receive, and while every single person’s situation is slightly different, the fear and the concern expressed are traditionally the same:
- Can my creditors take my possessions?
- Can they garnish my pay cheque?
- And can they touch my personal property?
The short answer is: Yes, they can, and they may already be taking steps to seize your wages or other property if your debt is over-extended.
All of this doesn’t occur instantaneously. Luckily, in most cases, your creditors will give you ample warning of their determination to be repaid, including advising you that legal action will be pursued. You may be asked to appear at Ontario Superior Court to explain why you have not paid your debts to a particular creditor. And even before your case reaches the courts you will be receiving harassing, and often disturbing, telephone calls and letters from collection agencies who have been hired by your creditors to collect the money you owe them.
Normally, by the time the collection calls start to become a big problem, most people who owe money to their creditors have made a move to come in and talk to us. They want the calls to stop, the demand letters to cease, and they don’t want their friends, neighbours, family members and co-workers (especially their boss or immediate supervisor) to know that they are in debt and under extreme amounts of pressure from these collection agencies and creditors.
Some people can even hold off the collection agencies for long periods of time, utilizing a variety of methods. But ultimately the garnishment, or legal decision demanding repayment will appear and a decision must be made: How do I make this problem go away as quickly as possible?
That’s when we recommend you contact us (though, preferably, getting in touch with us when the collection calls begin would be a better option, especially if such calls are causing you undue stress).