Consumer Rights with Debt Collectors
Debt does not give your creditors license to harass you. When they come calling in Canada, debt collectors are held to certain standards.
Debt collectors are required to:
- Inform you, in writing, of the amount of your debt and the name of the creditor. They must also produce an explanation of your right to dispute the debt.
- If you dispute the debt, the debt collector must give you written proof of the debt.
A debt collector may not:
- Contact you between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Disclose what you owe to anyone but your lawyer.
- Threaten legal action, loss of employment or loss of community ranking.
- Make any more than two separate telephone contacts (including leaving messages on answering machines or with a third party) in a single day.
- Use false statements.
- Impersonate another organization.
- Suggest that you borrow money from some other source to pay the debt.
- Give false information about you to anyone.
- Unless that person has become legally liable for the debt on the debtor's behalf, communicate with acquaintances, friends, relatives or neighbours of the debtor (except to obtain the debtor's address).
- Misrepresent the legal status of the debt.
- Engage in any kind of unfair practice, such as trying to collect an amount greater than is owed.
If these rules are not being followed, file a complaint with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (www.hrsdc.gc.ca), noting the name of the company, the date and time they called, the name of the agent with whom you spoke and any other pertinent information.
Reasons Debts Go Unpaid
The following are some reasons debt goes unpaid:
- Loss of income
- Defective goods and services
- Fraudulent use of credit