Collection Agency Rules

There are definite rules that collection agencies need to follow. They cannot call you all hours of the day and night. There are limits.


Get familiar with the collection agency rules. Understanding these rules can help you deal with collection agencies when they call. Below we provide a partial list of the rules for Ontario. The legislation is similar (not identical) in other provinces and territories. In general, 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
  • cannot use threatening, intimidating or profane language
  • may not use unreasonable pressure or coercion
  • are prohibited from calling 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
  • may not contact your friends, relatives, neighbors or employer for any information other than your address or telephone number, with limited exceptions (for example, someone has co-signed for a good or service you have purchased).

Detailed rules by province are available at the Office of Consumer Affairs Canada

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.

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.

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.

To get free, confidential advice on reducing your debts and stop the calls for good, contact a debt expert today.

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