Standing Up Against Pushy Collection Agencies

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

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Missing bill payments is something that is occurring frequently throughout Canada, just as the complaints against debt collectors are rising. Because debt collectors are paid by commission, they have the right to be a little pushy, but there are those that cross the line. They will use illegal practices to try to encourage payments. If you are behind on your bills and the collection agencies are calling, don’t think that there is nothing you can do when they bully you. There is a legal code of conduct that collection agencies must adhere to for every territory and province in Canada. This legal code of conduct gives you the defense weapons needed to deal with even the crudest of bill collectors.

Bully Tactics

There are a number of bully tactics that collection agencies will use but you do have legal ammunition against them.

  1. The first tactic is the “nasty surprise.” These collectors are under weekly production quotas, which motivate the collectors to call immediately once a case is assigned to them. Some of the agents can be pushy and they will sometimes pretend to be another person just to try and get you on the phone. Your legal ammunition for this is the fact that a collection agency must mail you a notice that identifies the creditor at least five days before they call you. They must advise you of the agency name, how much is owed, and their authority to request payment from you. If you never received that notice, collectors must mail another notice and wait five days before calling again. You can also hang up when a person on the other end does not identify themselves.
  2. The second bully tactic is abuse of the debtor. There are collectors that are quite hostile and will use insults and threats. They have been known to call debtors losers or other names. They believe that such actions will compel the debtor to pay faster. Your legal ammunition is the fact it is illegal to use such threatening and abusive language and it is your right to record the abusive call.
  3. The third bully tactic is the threat of lawsuit. The collector may say, “Pay the full amount right now or we’ll sue you.” This is the first clue that the collector is a bully. Fortunately, your legal ammunition is that you must be notified by the agency before it is recommended for the creditor to sue. A collector can only mention the filing of a lawsuit after legal action has been started by the creditor. If you suggest a reasonable payment plan to the collector and they refuse it, you can send your proposal over postal mail.
  4. The fourth bully tactic is the phone blitz. This is a tactic that collectors use to literally drive the debtor to the point of aggravation because the calls come many times throughout the day. There is ammunition on this based upon the province or territory you live in. In Ontario, collectors can’t call more than three times in a seven day period, before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or before 1 p.m. and after 5 p.m. on Sundays. You can ask the debt collector for their first and last name and write it down in a call diary so you can keep track of the call quantity and who is making them.
  5. The fifth bully tactic is the one where the collector involves family and friends. The worst collectors will intimidate friends or family in order to pressure you into making payment. Fortunately, it is against the law to discuss personal debts with individuals not responsible for the debt. The only information agencies are allowed to receive from third parties is confirmation of your telephone number and address. Your ammunition against this type of tactic is to call the Ministry of Consumer Services of file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
  6. The sixth bully tactic is telling the debtor that they have to prove that the debt isn’t theirs. It is the agency’s responsibility to determine who a debt belongs to. You can send a registered letter to the agency stating the debt is not yours and you can recommend court action to them.
  7. The seventh bully tactic is a vicious one and it is when your employer is approached. They may also make threats that they will hurt your employment. Your ammunition is the law and it says that collection agencies cannot contact your employers for any reason other than to confirm employment information. Only court orders enable a collector to contact your employer for any other reason. If you send a cease-and-desist letter, the agency must communicate via your lawyer.
  8. The last tactic is the extra charge. There are some collectors that will demand additional money to cover their own expenses. It is actually illegal for collectors to add fees and other charges unless the creditor of the account agrees to such charges. You can ask the collector for a copy of the document that states the creditor agreed.

Warding Off Barbaric Collectors

There are those collectors that can be completely barbaric. Don’t let them intimidate you because you do have rights and you can exercise them when they are violated. Record every detail when collectors call and record calls so that you have proof of the violation. When there is proof of the violation, you increase the chances that something will be done about your rights being violated.

Conclusion

Don’t let the bullying debt collectors get the best of you because you don’t have to take it. There are laws in place to keep you from having to deal with the abuse. These laws also make sure the violators pay for their actions.



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