If you have debt and have not been able to make your payments on time, collection agencies may be calling you. The stress of not being able to pay your debt combined with the pressure of collection calls can be very overwhelming. It is also quite possible that you may not know your rights regarding collection agencies – for instance, ‘are collection agencies allowed to call you at work?’. Understanding how collection agencies work and your rights can reduce the stress of dealing with your debt.
What are collection agencies able to do?
According to the Office of Consumer Affairs, here are a few things that collection agencies are able to practice in Ontario:
- Mail a written notice, including the name of who hired them, the amount owed, the agency name and authority to collect; 6 days later they may contact you.
- Call on Sundays between the hours of 1pm and 5pm.
- Contact your family, neighbours, friends to obtain your address and telephone number, however they are not permitted to discuss the nature of their call unless you have given permission or the person who answers has guaranteed your debt.
Are collection agencies allowed to call you at work?
Collection agencies are able to contact your employer to verify your employment information. That said, they cannot speak to your employer for any other reason unless your employer has guaranteed the debt. The only other reason they may discuss your debt with your employer is if you have provided written authorization, or the agency is calling with regard to a court order or wage assignment. Therefore, in most cases, collection agencies are not allowed to call you at work.
What are collection agencies not able to do?
There are restrictions on what collection agencies are able to do, as laid out by the Office of Consumer Affairs. They are not able to:
- Call on a statutory holiday or between the hours of 9pm and 7am.
- Call more than 3 times in a 7 day period without your consent after they have made initial contact with you. They must speak with you or leave an email/voice message – calls with no message left do not count.
- Use threatening language, profanity, excessive/unreasonable pressure or intimidation.
- Charge you extra, but interest may accrue on your debt.
- Give false information or recommend any legal action without sending you notice first.
- If the agency is calling the wrong person, they must cease contact and you have rights to ensure that these calls stop.
If an agency is acting inappropriately, you have the option to first send a letter to them explaining why and that you expect them to follow the law, or, file a complaint with the ministry. The most effective way to stop harassing calls is to put a plan into place that will deal with your debt and protect you from legal action. Spergel can help you make such a plan and deal with the collection agencies for you. We can stop collection calls immediately, stop interest, and take the burden off your shoulders.
Find out more about your options for debt relief by calling us at 310-4321, visiting our nearest location for a free consultation, or completing our free assessment form online and one of our representatives will contact you directly.