Having debt is a way of life for many people, as most of us cannot afford to buy a home with cash only. However, there are tens of thousands of Canadians out there struggling with other types of debts that can stem from unpaid credit cards and loan payments.
While some of us manage to pay off these debts in a reasonable fashion, others cannot. And when lenders don’t get paid back by their borrowers, according to the predetermined terms, they can often hand the debt over to a debt collection agency. In this article, we will talk about how you can stop collection harassment in Canada. We will also tell you a bit about the debt collection laws in Canada so that you will be prepared with the knowledge you need when the time comes.
What else happens when you can’t make your loan payments? Click here to find out.
Who are Debt Collectors?
Debt collectors are tasked with getting you to pay off your debts and, generally speaking, they are much more aggressive and persistent than your lender. If you don’t pay back this debt or make some other arrangement with the collection agency, they can be quite annoying to deal with. In fact, the things they do can often feel like harassment, especially if you have never dealt with a similar situation before.
For more information about the debt collection process in Canada, read this.
Of course, it goes without saying that getting these debt collectors to stop reaching out to you every day is probably your number one goal. The only problem is, how do you go about stopping them?
What is Collection Harassment?
To understand how to stop collection harassment, we must first understand what it is. Collection harassment can come in different forms but is usually refers to when a debt collector oversteps their boundaries and begins intentionally annoying or abusing you. This type of harassment can come in the form of repetitive calls when they are not allowed to call, threats of violence, obscene language, not letting you know who they are when they call, and more.
Have you been victimized by a debt collection scammer? Try reading this.
These activities can end up being a daily occurrence and can become extremely upsetting to deal with. Now, there are laws in place in Canada to prevent harassment from debt collectors. Unfortunately, these laws aren’t always followed. Because of this, it is important to know the debt collection laws in your specific area, so that you’ll realize when you are being harassed and be able to stop it. With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at the debt collection laws in Canada.
What Are the Debt Collection Laws in Canada?
Because of the somewhat aggressive and persistent nature of the debt collection process, there have been some laws set in place to protect consumers from harassment. These laws will largely depend on the province you are in, but there are some rules that remain constant throughout the country. Here are some of the Federal regulations when it comes to debt collection laws:
- Debt collectors cannot reach out to your friends, families, or neighbours unless one of them is a cosigner, you gave permission for them to be contacted, or the debt collector is trying to confirm your employment, phone number, or address.
- Debt collectors cannot ask anyone other than you to pay the debts unless that person is are a cosigner.
- Debt collectors cannot use threatening or abusive language in calls or letters to you.
- Debt collectors cannot give you false or misleading information, or apply unreasonable pressure on you to pay off your debts.
- Debt collectors cannot add any collection-related costs to your debt and can only charge you for what you owe, except for legal fees.
- Debt collectors cannot call you on your cell phone unless you gave it to them as a means of communication.
- The times a debt collector can call you will vary depending on which province you are in.
As mentioned at the beginning of this section, other rules and laws may apply, but they will differ depending on which province you live in. Be sure to read up on the specific laws and rules in your province, so you will be aware of when a debt collector is overstepping their boundaries and is harassing you. The more you know about these laws, the better you will be able to detect when a debt collector is harassing you.
Look here to learn more about what collection agencies can do to you in Canada.
Steps You Can Take to Stop Collection Harassment in Canada
While the rules and debt collection laws in Canada state that harassment is not allowed, it still occurs. So, how do you stop the collection harassment? Well, there are a few simple steps you can take.
Send A Letter
Send the debt collector a written letter which states that you believe they are breaking the law and they should cease doing so immediately. If you are going to make this claim, you need to have evidence such as letters, recordings, or testimonials that back up your story. If they don’t do anything and continue to break the law, you need to reach out and file a complaint with the government.
Click here to read about Debt Collection Laws in Alberta.
Report Harassment to Authorities
Normally, a debt collection agency tries to abide by the law, but of course, there are times when they do not. Most agencies will cease the illegal activity and/or harassment after your letter (as they’ve become aware that you now realize your rights and the specific laws). However, some will persist, which is when the government should step in. Once you have reached out to the government about the harassment, the ball is in their court and there is not much more for you to do.
Click here to read about Debt Collection Laws in Ontario.
Get a Lawyer Involved
However, if you don’t want to deal with debt collectors at all, there are a few ways to make this happen. If you have a lawyer, you can arrange it so the collector will only contact your lawyer, and not you. Similarly, if you are working with a licensed credit counsellor, you can have the debt collector contact them. And if you simply hate dealing with the annoying calls, you can ask that the collectors only contact you in writing.
To find out about the Ontario Debt Collection Statute of Limitations, read this.
If Possible, Pay Your Debts in Full
Of course, another way to stop collections harassment (and the debt collection process as a whole) is to simply pay off your debts. Once you pay them, the debt collection agency should get off your back and leave you alone. That being said, we realize this isn’t always a viable solution for some people.
Will paying off a collections account improve your credit score? Find out here.
Even though collection harassment isn’t allowed in Canada, that doesn’t stop some debt collectors from doing it. However, if you educate yourself on the debt collection laws in Canada and your province, you will be well equipped to stop collectors from illegally harassing you.