When facing financial difficulties, there is nothing more unsettling than being harassed by collection agencies. Rather than taking your phone off the hook, it is essential to fully understand the collection agency’s role and be aware of your rights. A collection agency’s goal is to bring to your attention the fact that you owe money to a creditor. Their method of contact should be professional and cordial. It is important to realize that they are doing their job and it is not a personal confrontation. However, if they reach a point where it leads to the feeling of being harassed, then there are effective ways to stop them.

What is considered harassment by a collection agency?

It is essential to recognize and differentiate between harassment and the agency’s job — the signs of harassment to acknowledge include receiving repetitive calls (more than necessary), the use of aggressive language by a collection agent, or the issuance of threats. An agent should properly identify themselves and provide details of the debts you owe, including the creditor’s name. An agent should not be reaching your workplace more than once or speak to your family members or neighbours.

What is not allowed?

Each province has its own debt collection laws to protect the consumer. However, there are consistent rules that apply throughout the country. The regulations include that a collection agency should not misinform or give misleading information to you or any other party. Any contact should not exceed more than three times within a week. Profanity or threatening language should not be used. They should not charge any fees or pressure you to make payments.

What is allowed?

A collection agency is allowed to inform you of your debts through mail and email. The letter or email should include who they are and the company they work for. The company should also indicate that they are registered in Ontario and provide details of the amount owing, the circumstance’s outline, and a disclosure statement with contact details. Once a letter has been sent, the agency or agent will generally wait six business days before contacting you via telephone.

Solution and options

Most creditors abide by the law and do not harass the consumer. However, there are some cases in which they do persist and cross boundaries. It is suggested to contact the collection agency and let them know that you feel they are not following the law. Suppose you choose to make a claim, you must have supporting evidence, such as a call log, recordings, or a paper trail. If the harassment continues, the next step is to report it to the authorities. Or perhaps it may be necessary to obtain a lawyer.

If collection calls are getting annoying and your debt is spiraling out of control, speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee will help you and offer the most suitable options given your financial situation. Options may include filing for a consumer proposal or personal bankruptcy. Upon filing a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, your Licensed Insolvency Trustee will deal with your creditors on your behalf. When you file insolvency proceedings, your creditors are stayed from taking action against you.

At Pollard & Associates Inc., we will support you and offer the best solution for your case.