Dealing with Collection Agencies and Collection Agents
Dealing with collection agencies - Your rights and responsibilities.
You're behind in your payments. Collection agents are calling. What are your rights and responsibilities? How do you stop collection calls? How should you be dealing with collection agencies?
Not paying your debts can hurt your credit rating, affect your ability to get credit, and prevent you from getting a mortgage. Mostly though we understand that dealing with collection calls is embarrassing and causes you and your family a lot of stress.
If you are being contacted by collection agencies, it may be time to ask for help. Contact one of our experts to discuss how you can stop collection calls and discuss your debt relief options or look at ways you can reduce your debt.
That being said, if collection agents are calling now, you should know there are definite rules that collection agencies need to follow.
3 Steps to Dealing with Collection Agency Calls
- First, don't ignore them. They won't just go away. Talk to them, and explain your situation. If you are not working, or can't pay them, tell them that. Don't have a long discussion with them. They want to keep you on the phone and upset you so you will pay them money. Don't play that game. Tell them your situation, and then hang up.
- Second, tell them what you can afford, and offer to send them the money. If you can afford $200 per month, offer to send them $200 per month. They may ask for $400, but never commit to pay more than you can afford.
- Finally, if you can't pay them, it's time to consider debt relief alternatives. Debt problems will not simply go away on their own. Bill collectors are calling because you owe money. If you eliminate the debt, you eliminate the phone calls. Use our Debt Options Calculator to estimate your monthly payment if you were to find a way to actually eliminate your debts.
Stop collection agency calls - talk to an expert and discover how to deal with your debt once and for all.
Collection agency rules
Get familiar with the collection agency rules. Knowing what debt collectors can and can't do and what you can and should do will help you deal with collection agencies. Below we provide a partial list of the rules for Ontario. The legislation is similar (not identical) in other provinces and territories.
- Collection agents may not harass you or your family. Calling you once or twice a day is acceptable. Calling you and your family ten times a day is harassment. If you believe a collection agency is harassing you, keep a record of the time, date and frequency of the calls. If you decide to make a formal complaint against the collection agency you will require this information.
- Collection agents may not call you on a statutory holiday, on a Sunday before 1 pm or after 5 pm, or on any day before 7 am or after 9 p.m.
- Collection agents may not contact you (by phone, voicemail, or e-mail) more than three times in any seven-day period on behalf of the same creditor.
- Collection agents may not contact your friends, relatives, neighbors or employer for any information other than your address or telephone number, with limited exceptions. These involve special cases, when, for example, someone has co-signed for a good or service you have purchased.
You should deal with collection agents in a forthright and professional manner. Try to treat them the way that you like to be treated yourself. Don't allow them to bully you into making commitments that you know you cannot keep. If you do make a commitment - keep it. If you cannot, be certain to explain to the agent why you couldn't.
Ignoring collection agents' attempts to contact you will not help you solve your problems: it might stop the collection calls - true, but beware that if they cannot reach you, they may simply proceed with the legal action.
If your money problems have become too big to deal with on your own, and collection agencies are harrassing you, then it's time to ask for help. Contact a debt expert today to get free, confidential advice on reducing your debts and stop the calls.