Putting a Stop to Calls from Collection Agencies and Creditors
Calls from collection agencies and creditors can be annoying and even harassing. Some people receive so many calls or such aggressive callers that they stop answering their phones entirely. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the issue. Creditors and collection agents won’t just give up and stop calling. In fact, if you ignore them, they might ramp things up and become even more persistent. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about these calls. Here are some ways to properly handle collection agencies and creditors.
Find Out What They Want
A collection agent must be clear about why they are calling. If you receive a call from a collection agency, make sure to find out the name of the individual or business they believe you owe money to, how much you owe, the amount on the debt when it was first due, how much is currently owed, and everything else about the debt. This can help you determine if the debt is actually yours and, if it is, if the agency has the right information.
You will also need to find out the name of the collection agency as well as their contact information. They must legally provide you with this information.
If the Debt is Yours and Accurate
If the collection agency gives you accurate information, the easiest way to stop them from calling is to pay off the debt. However, if it’s not possible to do this right away, explain your situation and see if you can work out a payment schedule. They may be willing to negotiate with you. If they are, make sure to get any agreements in writing before you make any payments. Also, ensure that you get a receipt for any debts that you pay.
If the Debt is Not Yours or Not Accurate
Sometimes, collection agencies may not have the right information. If they’ve called the wrong number, for instance, let them know and request that they stop calling you. By law, collection agencies must take reasonable steps to ensure that they’re calling the right person. If they don’t stop calling you with inaccurate information, you can file a complaint with your provincial or territorial government.
If the collection agent is calling the right person, but their amount is incorrect, provide proof that you have paid the debt and that the details they have are wrong.
In some situations, a collection agency could have the right contact information, but they may be calling about a debt that you did not take out. This can happen in situations of identity theft or fraud. In these situations, you may wish to reach out for legal help from a lawyer or paralegal. You should also contact the major credit bureaus (TransUnion and Equifax) and check for errors in your credit report.
Rules for Collection Agents
There are laws about what collection agencies are allowed to do. These will vary by province and territory, but generally they are not able to:
- Contact your friends, family, coworkers, or employer about your debts other than to verify your contact information or in situations where you have had someone co-sign a loan or authorized the collection agency to contact another individual.
- Contact you during certain hours. In general, agencies are not allowed to call on Sundays, holidays, very late at night, or very early in the morning.
- Use threatening or abusive language. If a collection agent threatens you or is harassing, you should not speak with them.
- Give you false information or withhold critical information, such as who they are and why they are calling.
- Continue to demand payment after they have been told that their information is incorrect, unless they have taken reasonable steps to ensure their information is accurate.
Stopping Collection Agency Calls
If you are not able to work out a payment arrangement or if you are not able to repay the debt that you owe, there are options out there to stop collection agencies from calling. For instance, if you file a consumer proposal or begin the bankruptcy process, creditors and collection agents are legally prohibited from contacting you about the debts included in the process. To find out if these processes make sense to you, or to learn information about other potential options, contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee today.