What to say to collection agency calls

Posted on 13 November 2021

Written by Chris Galea

Receiving a phone call from a collection agency can be extremely stressful when you are in need of debt relief. Collection agencies are companies that specialize in recovering unpaid debts from debtors. You may encounter one if you do not make your debt payments on time. Creditors will try to regain their money by either using their own debt collection department, by hiring a collection agency to reclaim the money on their behalf, or by selling your debt to a collection agency. Collection call agents are sometimes forceful, blunt, and difficult to negotiate with. It is easy to become flustered or nervous when dealing with debt collectors. For this reason, it is important to know what to say to collection agency calls. Asking the right questions can help you verify information, give you clarity, and make the debt resolution process much easier. In this article, we explain how you should deal with collection agencies in Canada.

What to say to collection agency calls

When your debt is sent to a collection agency, you should receive prior notice in the form of a letter. This will outline the fact that a collection agency will want to collect any debt that you may owe. It will outline the collection agency involved, the creditor to who you owe money, and the amount of debt owed. Once you receive this notice, you should try to contact your creditor to see if you can pay off some of the debt owed to avoid the collection process, or to see if you can agree on a repayment plan. If not, there are some key questions you should ask when speaking to a collection agency. Try to find out the following:

Discover who is calling

When you have outstanding debt, the creditor themselves will usually contact you for the first 6 months. After that, they can send the outstanding debt to a collection agency. When you receive a call, always verify whether it’s the creditor or a debt collection agency contacting you, and more specifically their name and telephone number. This way, you know who to contact and how to properly negotiate to pay your debts. You can also ask the collection agency to contact you only in writing.

Find out more details on the debt

You should always ask for as many details about the debt as possible. Find out the alleged amount owing, who it is owed to, and when the debt was incurred. These details should be mailed to you before a collection agency calls you, but it is good to verify the information again. If the debt does not seem familiar, you can verify it directly with the creditor, your bank, or obtain a free copy of your credit report from TransUnion or Equifax. If the debt is not yours, notify the creditor directly so that the collection agency can contact the correct person instead and stop hassling you.

Get the collection agent’s details

When dealing with a collection agency over multiple phone calls, it is best to always speak with the same agent. Always ask for the agent’s name, telephone number, and company name to ensure you only have contact with this person. The less collection agents involved, the easier it will be for you to keep track of any negotiations and debt payments.

Ask for a written receipt for any payments

If you are able to pay the collection agency or negotiate a payment plan with them, always ask for written confirmation and a written receipt. Verbal agreements are difficult to prove, so this written acknowledgement of any deal is necessary. When making a payment, never pay with cash (as this is nearly impossible to track) and always ensure you receive a receipt for each and every single payment.

Verify all the information

If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of the collection agency, you can verify their information a few different ways. You can make sure they are legally registered in Ontario by asking for their Ontario registration number or directly contact the original creditor to ensure they work with this collection agency. If they are not legitimate or legally registered, you do not have to deal with them.

Learn how to stop collection agency calls

If you are receiving calls from debt collectors and want to stop collection agency calls altogether, the best way to do this is to pay off your debt. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can help with a variety of debt relief solutions, including bankruptcy and consumer proposals. These forms of debt relief automatically generate a stay of proceedings, which prevents collection agencies from contacting you. Of course, you will also be relieved of your debt too and be able to begin a fresh financial future. It is important also to understand your rights with collection agencies, including whether or not they are allowed to call you at work. At Spergel, we can help you to understand your rights around collection calls, as well as stop them for good.

If you want to stop collection agency calls, Spergel is here to help. We know what to say to collection agency calls and can do so on your behalf. We will find the debt relief solution that is right for you. Book a free consultation to speak to an experienced Licensed Insolvency Trustee and learn how you can start a fresh financial future today – you owe it to yourself.


Chris Galea

Chris Galea is a Chartered Accountant and Insolvency and Restructuring Professional with over 20 years’ experience as an LIT (Licensed Insolvency Trustee). He is also our resident expert on tax debt, COVID debt, and the region of Saskatchewan, Canada. When he’s not at the office educating people about bankruptcies and consumer proposals, Chris is playing pick-up hockey with his friends, spending time with his family, and learning Spanish!

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