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What are my rights where collections agencies are concerned?

Dealing with collection agencies can be stressful and complicated.

Understanding your rights can help to lower stress make it far less complicated.

A collection agency may not:

  • Contact you until six days have passed from sending you written notice of the following A. The name of the creditor
    B. The balance owing
    C. The name of the agency and it’s authority to demand payment
  • Continue to contact you if you did not receive the notice unless a second copy of the written notice is sent to an address provided by you, and then contact may only be made 6 (six) days after sending of this second notice.
  • Contact you if you send a registered letter to the agency saying that you dispute the debt and suggest the matter be taken to court.
  • Contact you on Sunday, except between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on a holiday.
  • Contact you if you and /or your lawyer notify the agency by registered mail to communicate only with your lawyer, and provide the lawyer’s name, address and phone number.
  • Contact you other than by ordinary mail more than three times in a seven-day period without your consent, once the agency has actually spoken with you.
  • Use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language, or use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure.
  • Continue to contact you if you have told them you are not the person they are looking for unless they take reasonable precautions to ensure you are that person.
  • Give false or misleading information to any person. (i.e. telling you that they have notified the courts and set a date when no date has been arranged)
  • Recommend to a creditor that a legal action be commenced against you without first sending you notice.
  • Contact your employer except once to obtain your employment information, unless your employer has guaranteed the debt, the call is in respect of a court order or wage assignment or if you have provided written authorization to contact your employer.
  • Contact your spouse, family/household members, relatives, neighbours, or acquaintances except to obtain your address and or phone number unless the person contacted has guaranteed the debt or you have given permission for the person to be contacted.

If a collection agency has used any of these tactics in dealing with you, you can file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario.

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