Collection Calls in Canada
Calls from debt collection agencies can prove extremely stressful, particularly when they are harassing you on top of your overwhelming debt. You may not be sure where to turn or what to do next.
It is important to remember that there are always ways to stop these collection calls. The best thing to do is to contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee who can analyse your financial circumstances and advise you on the best way to stop these collection calls for good. At Spergel, we have been helping Canadians gain debt relief for over thirty years.
Why do I keep receiving collection calls?
Calls from debt collection agencies occur when you are overdue on debts you owe to creditors. Typically, collection agencies are professional debt collectors hired by creditors, and are paid commission on each dollar collected from debtors. This often leads to continuous collection calls, many made using auto-diallers where you are kept in a queue and called until you answer. Collection calls usually begin around three to four months after an account is due. Most importantly, ignoring collection calls does not work – if ignored, they can escalate to wage garnishment, lawsuits, and the calls will ultimately continue.
What are my collection call rights?
If you are a victim of collection calls, it is important to know what creditors or debt collection agencies are and are not able to do. Do note that collection call rules vary from province to province, but here are the collection call rules in Ontario:
- Any debt collection agency must be registered with the Ontario government
- A debt collector must send you a formal written notice of your debt via mail, specifying the creditor, collection agency, the debt owed, and confirmation that they have permission to request the debt on behalf of a creditor
- A debt collector must then wait six days before making a collection call to you
- Once a debt collector has spoken to you once, they may only contact you via email, message, or phone up to three times in a week without your consent
- A debt collection agency may not charge you any additional fees
- A collection agency may not contact you between 9pm and 7am, on Sundays except during the afternoon, or on a holiday
- A debt collector is unable to harass or pressure you, or use threatening or intimidating language
- Learn more about if collection agencies are allowed to call you at work
How to stop collection calls
There are a number of actions you can take to stop collection calls for good. These include producing a debt repayment plan, taking on a debt consolidation loan, negotiating with creditors, or taking on a legal form of debt clearance like a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. Here are some steps you can take to stop collection calls:
- Ensure the debt referenced on collection calls is truly yours. If you believe you have already paid the debt in question, show evidence or proof of payment to the debt collection agency. You could also contact the creditor to dispute the debt claim if necessary.
- It is important that if you do owe the debts, you are not bullied by a debt collector. Collection rules in Ontario stipulate that a debt collector is unable to harass you, or use threatening or intimidating language.
- If you believe you can afford to repay your debt, you can attempt to negotiate directly with the debt collector. It is possible to reason with a debt repayment plan, a debt consolidation loan, or to arrange a debt settlement. Ensure you do not ignore collection calls as this could lead to further action like a wage garnishment, and try to act professionally, keep the promises you make, and do not feel pressured into committing to something you are unable to sustain.
If you are unable to pay back the debt you owe in a reasonable manner, contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to intervene with debt collectors. As they are accredited and regulated by the Canadian government, they have the legal power to stop collection calls for good. At Spergel, you can book a free consultation to discuss stopping collection calls, and you will be assigned your own trustee to walk you through each step of the process.
How Licensed Insolvency Trustees can stop collection calls
In order to stop collection calls, it is important to know when you need professional help. This will be obvious if your debt has become overwhelming, if collection calls are becoming too much, or if you are unsure about your debt relief options. As Licensed Insolvency Trustees are regulated by the government, they are trained in all debt relief options including consumer proposals and bankruptcy. Trustees also have the power to intervene with creditors, negotiate a reasonable settlement for both you and your creditors, and ultimately stop collection calls for good. Here are the two primary ways a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is able to stop collection calls:
Filing a consumer proposal
If you are struggling with over $10,000 worth of debt, a consumer proposal may be a good option for you. It is a legally backed form of debt settlement administered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. The end result is often a reduction in debts by up to 80%, and a consumer proposal is considered to be the cheapest and safest form of debt relief. One of the most important aspects of a consumer proposal is that filing one automatically generates a ‘stay of proceedings’. This is a legal protection from creditors, meaning that they cannot contact you, or pursue lawsuits or wage garnishments against you. Instead, your trustee will handle your creditors on your behalf.
Often considered a last resort when it comes to gaining debt relief, filing bankruptcy offers a fresh financial start. If your debts are spiralling out of control and the collection calls will not stop, bankruptcy could be a good option for you. Much like filing a consumer proposal, bankruptcy must be filed by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. The difference is that you are cleared from your debts in exchange for reassigning any of your non-exempt assets to your trustee to pay towards your outstanding debts. Once again, bankruptcy offers a stay of proceedings, meaning that creditors are prevented from making collection calls and taking legal action like wage garnishment.
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Eric’s Debt Collection Settlement
The credit card collections calls were causing Eric stress and wouldn’t stop, so he decided to get help. He was close to signing what he called a “debt collection settlement”. Eric had found a lender to borrow enough from to pay off his collection debts. A close friend told him he was crazy to agree to the proposed repayment interest of 30% and Eric decided to call a Licensed Insolvency Trustee instead to help him find a better option.