Know Your Rights! 3 Restrictions for Debt Collectors, Before You File a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy
When it comes to pursuing outstanding debt, creditors are given a small amount of leeway. Unfortunately, not all collection companies respect the limitations, and some like to push the boundaries in an attempt to apply additional pressure to their debtors.
As a debtor, you have certain rights, which are protected by restrictions and regulations placed on collection agencies. When you file a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy, you are automatically protected from any further collection actions, but in the meantime, you may have debt collectors calling. It’s important that you’re fully aware of your rights, and know what debt collectors can and cannot do:
A Collector Cannot Discuss Your Debt with Others
Collectors are not allowed to speak to anyone but you about your debt. This restriction even applies to friends, families, coworkers, and employers.
There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are limited. In some cases, collectors are permitted to ask friends and family for your mailing address, but even then, they are not allowed to speak to them about the details of your debt.
However, it’s important to note…
This does not apply to any co-signers or guarantors of the debt in question, as they are responsible for repayment, as well.
A Debt Collector Can Only Contact You Three Times a Week
Within the province of Ontario, a creditor is only permitted to contact you directly three times within any seven-day period. This includes phone calls, visits, emails, or voice mail messages.
If the debt is currently being disputed…
If you are being contacted about a debt that you do not have, or one that you have already repaid, you can contest the debt by stating your case in writing and sending a registered letter to the debt agency. Once a debt has been formally contested, collectors are no longer permitted to contact you until the dispute has been resolved.
If the collection agency still wishes to pursue the debt, they may take the case to court. If the court rules in their favour, they will once again be allowed to resume contact for their collection attempts.
A Debt Collector Is Not Allowed to Lie.
Creditors cannot lie about anything to do with your debt. This includes outstanding amounts, collected evidence of your debt or finances, legal actions available to them, or their willingness to pursue those legal avenues.
How Do I Deal with a Collector Who Breaks The Rules?
If any collectors are breaking these rules, it is advisable that you send a letter of warning to the collection agency stating that they are not following regulations. If the violations persist, we strongly recommend that you report them to Consumer Protection Ontario.
Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcies Stop Collection Calls for Good.
The most effective way to put an end to harassing collection calls is to eliminate the debt, one way or another. Once a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy has been filed, the collection agencies are no longer permitted to contact you about your debts. All collection actions – including harassing phone calls and late payment notices – will stop immediately.
If you have found yourself at the receiving end of collection calls, and would like to know your options, please contact us for a free consultation. With offices in Toronto and Hamilton, the team at Fuller Landau Debt Solutions is here to help you get a fresh start and lead a FULLER life. We also invite you to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more about debt management solutions.