We understand your problem.
Collection agencies are known for aggressive harassing phone calls regarding payments. It is the one area that causes the most controversy in their business.
It’s hard to avoid the first phone call from collections or creditors, but once you’ve heard from them, there are steps you can take to stop the calls altogether.
When creditor debt collection harassment occurs, it is essential that you understand your rights and how to stop the calls.
Generally, you have a few options:
- Get your account current, and keep it that way.
- Negotiate a settlement or new payment terms with the creditors. This may sound impossible, but often, some credit companies are willing to listen and negotiate a term that works for both of you, depending on your debt amount.
- File a Consumer Proposal
- File for bankruptcy
If you file for a proposal or bankruptcy in Canada, within 5 days of your filing, your trustee will notify your creditors and all calls should cease. Of course, often times if your account has been turned over to a collection agency, there may be a delay in when the creditors inform them in which case, it may take a few days before they are notified.
In this podcast, Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Mark Marshall, delves into the best way to deal with collection calls, when and where collection agencies can contact you, and how to correspond with them.
Please note that Creditors cannot pressure for collection activity AFTER you have filed for bankruptcy or a proposal. In fact, you, the debtor, are not allowed to pay an unsecured creditor after you go bankrupt. If for any reason, there are still calls coming to you, our advice is to advise them that you have filed bankruptcy (or proposal) and give them the name & phone number of your trustee. Your trustee will then communicate directly with them, and forward on to them the necessary paperwork.
In the Atlantic Provinces, a collection agency CANNOT do the following:
- Threaten or start legal or court action to collect a debt without first notifying you and receiving the creditor’s approval.
- Collect more money than you owe the business or person who hired them.
- Call you in a way that costs you money (such as collect calls or in some cases, calls to cellphones).
- Call you at work. (If you have asked them not to contact you there).
- Discuss your debt with anyone else unless they have your permission.
- Threaten or intimidate you or use abusive language.
- Communicate with you without identifying themselves, the name of the collection agency, the name of the company they are collecting for and the amount owed.
- Call so often or in such a way that you or your family feels harassed.
- Call before 7 am or after 9pm Monday through Saturday.
- Call before 1 pm or after 5 pm on Sunday.
- Call you on a holiday.
- Collect from you at your place of employment.
- Contact your employer, friends, family or neighbors unless they have guaranteed or co-signed the loan they are trying to collect (except if they are looking for your address or confirmation of your employment).
If you feel they are violating these rules, contact the supervisor or manager of the agency and express your concerns. If the matter cannot be resolved, contact the Financial & Consumer Services Commission at 1 866 933-2222 to file a complaint. Be sure to have the collector’s name, your file or reference number, and the dates, times and details of the calls.
The Financial & Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick is a great resource to read for more information on the rules and regulations of collectors and collection agencies.
We hope the information discussed has given you some insight as to the limited actions of Collection Agencies operating in the Maritimes and how they may pertain to you. We at Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. are always available free of charge to discuss any matters dealing with your credit and debt. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-371-8900.