COLLECTION CALLS: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you are currently unable to manage your debt and have defaulted in your monthly payments, collection agencies might be calling demanding payments. The stress of not being able to handle your debts and receiving harassing phone calls from debt collectors can be intimidating and at times overwhelming. We believe it is important to know your rights and protect them when dealing with collection agencies.
Debt collectors are legally required to follow rules set by the Collection & Debt Settlement Services Act. This act prohibits collectors from certain actions.
A collection agency cannot contact you before sending you a written notice through regular mail; email does not count. This notice must include: the name of your creditor, the amount of money owed, and name of the agency along with a statement showing that the creditor hired the agency to collect the money. Once this notice is sent to you, the collection agency must wait 6 days before making any contact with you by phone or in person. After the initial conversation, debt collectors cannot e-mail, leave voice mail or speak in person with you more than 3 times in a week unless you’ve agreed otherwise.
According to the Collection & Debt Settlement Services Act, a collection agency CANNOT:
- Contact you during the week between the hours of 9 pm and 7 am;
- Contact you on any statutory holiday;
- Contact you on a Sunday – except between the hours of 1 pm and 5 pm;
- Use threatening, intimidating or coercive language;
- Use excessive or unreasonable pressure;
- Charge you any fees;
- Give false or misleading information.
Collection agencies can only contact your employer once, in order to obtain your employment information. They are prohibited to contact your employer UNLESS:
- Your employer is a guarantor on your debt;
- They are contacting your employer regarding a court order and/or wage garnishment;
- You have provided the agency with written authorization to contact your employer.
Also, debt collectors cannot contact your spouse or family members except to get your contact information UNLESS:
- The person is a guarantor on your debt;
- The person has your permission to be contacted and act on your behalf.
While these rules are put in place in order to protect all consumers, not all collection agencies abide by these rules. If you think a collection agency has broken the rules, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
If the collections calls are causing you daily stress and anxiety it is important to take action to deal with your debts. Remember, collection agencies are contacting you because you owe them money. The calls will not stop unless you pay your debt(s) in full or file for a consumer proposal or bankruptcy.
You can stop all collection calls immediately with the help of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. As soon as you file for a consumer proposal or bankruptcy the law will protect you and direct contact from your creditors / collection agencies will STOP. They will only be allowed to contact our office regarding your debts.
If you feel your debt load is too much to handle and you are overwhelmed by your current financial situation, we are here for you. At Sheriff Sole & Madej Inc. our commitment is to find the best solution for you. Call us at 1-844-482-3328 to book a free confidential consultation. We offer services in 12 convenient locations throughout the Greater Toronto area with staff members that speak over 7 different languages.