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Do Debt Collectors Give Up?

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    Do Debt Collectors Give Up?

    Dealing with creditors, collection agencies, and various debt collectors is extremely stressful. Most of us prefer to avoid opening our mail or answering our phones rather than face another “past due” notice in the mail or another creditor robo-call.  Being chased down by collectors feels overwhelming and can leave you wondering if there’s anything you can do to stop the pressure.  When people ask us: “do debt collectors ever give up?” we are aware that it’s a very common question and an understandable one. Everyone just wants the constant stream of calls and demand letters to stop.

    What many people who are dealing with debt pressures don’t realize is there are rules in place which dictate what creditors and collection agents are permitted to do. Debt collectors Ontario-wide (and elsewhere in Canada) are required to adhere to these very specific rules, which have been mandated by the consumer protection agencies of our various provincial governments. Regulations dictate how often a collection agency can call you, what actions they’re allowed to take, and even what they can say to you once they get you on the phone. Understanding these rules is essential since you need to know when a collection agent isn’t following them.

    How Long Will Debt Collectors Pursue a Debt?

    If you’ve ever wondered: “Do debt collectors give up?” the answer is there is nothing preventing a collection agency from communicating with you for years and years. However, debt collectors Canada-wide must adhere to specific rules and regulations.  While, when it comes to calls, there is no specific Statute of Limitations, Alberta and all other provinces have placed time limits on when creditors and collection agencies can proceed with legal action against you.

    • In Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan, creditors cannot take legal action against you if it has been more than two years since you “originally acknowledged the debt” (this can be in the form of a payment you made or a discussion you had with a collector)
    • In Quebec, the time limit is three years
    • In the rest of Canada, collectors have six years to take legal action

    After this time, creditors, collection agencies, and other debt collectors can technically still call you, but any threat that mentions legal action is more than likely just an empty threat. They may have great difficulty attempting to legally act upon any threats of legal action. 

    Is There a Limit on How Long Creditors Can Pursue Debt?

    There are a lot of questions about debt collectors and how long they can pursue debt. One of the most common questions relates to the Statute of limitations provinces like Ontario have in place. As we’ve already mentioned, there is no time limit on how long debt collectors can pursue you for a debt.  If a creditor or collection agency can prove you did not keep them apprised of any address or telephone change, they theoretically can still pursue you in small claims court.   This is a gray area that circumvents the Statute of Limitations timelines.  It is not unusual for a collection agency to make the claim you evaded them unfairly and they still have the right to pursue, demand payment and even threaten legal action long after a Statute of Limitations period has expired.  Otherwise, many of us would just wait out our creditors until the Statute of Limitations period has expired and then stop worrying about our debts.  

    What Happens If You Continue to Ignore Debt Collectors?

    Similarly, when it comes to debt collectors contacting you, there are laws in place for each province as to what a collector can do and not do.  Theoretically they can call or email you frequently, though some provinces put limits on exactly how often.   In Ontario, for example, the rules state that creditors and collection agencies can only email, speak in person, or leave a voicemail for you three times in one week after their first conversation with you.  Alberta has a similar law in place.  But as many of us are all too aware, debt collectors often do not follow these rules and will contact you constantly, from early in the morning until late in the evening, as well as place calls to your friends and family and even your employer.   

    One other tool a debt collector has in his collection arsenal is the ability to sue you in small claims court if you continue to evade calls and letters.  Many people ignore those collector calls for a while, then receive a notice that the creditor or collection agency is taking the matter to court.   If this happens, you do not want to ignore this notice. 

    How Long Can Debts Be Pursued in Ontario?

    When it comes to debt collectors, Ontario has laws in place for how often they can contact you as well as how long they have to take legal action. In terms of a Statute of Limitations, Ontario doesn’t specify how long a creditor can pursue a debt, but it does state they can only take you to court (or pursue other legal action against you) for a period of two years after the debt has “first been acknowledged.” 

    The Statute of Limitations British Columbia places on legal action is also two years, as is the Statute of Limitations legislation which Alberta requires.  However, this period can be longer in many other provinces and territories, where there can be as much as a six-year timeframe.

    How Long Can Debts Be Pursued n British Columbia?

    When it comes to debt collectors, Canadian law has legislation in place for how long they can take someone to court after the debt has been acknowledged. However, the length of time will depend on the province in which you reside.  For instance, the Statute of Limitations British Columbia places on allowing a creditor to take a debtor to court is two years. After this time, the creditor can still contact you and the debt is still owed, but any threats of legal action cannot legally be pursued. 

    How Long Can Debts Be Pursued in Alberta?

    Much like the limits placed on debt collectors in Ontario and British Columbia, there is a Statute of Limitations Alberta places on legal action. This limit is set at two years from the date the debt is “first acknowledged” (which could mean the last payment made to the creditor or the last telephone call a collector made to you).   Many Canadian provinces place a six-year limit on legal action, so Alberta’s timeframe is substantially shorter.

    Creditors and collection agents are still able to contact you once this time limit has been reached. However, since they are not able to take any legal action against you, their threats carry less weight and they may have great difficulty enforcing any sort of legal demands against you.  

    How to Get Debt Collectors to Stop Harassing You

    If you’re wondering about debt collectors and how long they can pursue debt, it’s understandable. Dealing with them can feel like a hopeless situation. Creditors and collection agents can be very persistent and often quite aggressive. Dealing with them can be incredibly stressful.

    The most straightforward way to get debt collectors to stop calling is to pay the debts you owe (if the debt they are asking about is yours, naturally).  However, that is often easier said then done as most of us don’t have extra funds lying around to pay down these debts when collectors start calling us.   

    If it isn’t possible for you to settle your debts in full through the debt collector, you may be willing to agree to a repayment arrangement (such as making post-dated monthly payments, for example).  If you do agree to a repayment arrangement, ensure you have the terms of the arrangement down in writing before you send the collector any cheques or make any sort of repayment.  

    Another option to deal with the debt once and for all is for you to file a legal process such as a Consumer Proposal with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

    How a Consumer Proposal Can Help

    A Consumer Proposal is a legal process that is administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.  As part of this process, the Trustee meets with you to discuss your situation and to determine what a fair offer to your unsecured creditors would be.  Once the legal documents are signed and the Trustee has arranged for them to be submitted to the government, protection goes into place and your creditors receive your settlement offer in writing.   Your creditors then have 45 days to vote on the settlement offer.  If the majority of them accept your Proposal offer, all creditors are then bound by its terms. 

    Most Consumer Proposals allow you to pay off a portion of what you owe and have the remaining debt eliminated.  And because a Consumer Proposal is a legal process, you receive legal protection when your Proposal is filed with the Federal Government. This means creditors cannot contact you (all communication must be through the Trustee), they cannot send collection agents after you and all legal action that is in place must stop (and no new legal action may proceed).  This solution is ideal for many people because it provides relief from creditors and calls from collection agencies and debt collectors.

    Contact Us Today

    If you are concerned about debt collectors and how long they can pursue debt or if you find yourself wondering “Do debt collectors give up?” then we can help. Our team works with people just like you who are enduring debt pressures.  We help resolve financial problems so you can get a fresh start financially.

    Best of all – there is absolutely no obligation.  We offer a free one-hour consultation where a Trustee will sit down with you, review your financial situation, and provide you with details of all the options available to you. Licensed Trustees are required by law to give you information on all possible debt relief options, not just the ones the Trustee can administer.  Once you have this information you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.  

    Don’t stress about debt collectors any longer. Talk to our team and find out how you can live debt free.