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How to Stop Collection Calls


Tips to Help You Put an End to Endless Calls From Collection Agents While there are laws in place to protect consumers from creditor harassment, oftentimes collection agents can push the limits, leaving you feeling scared and overwhelmed. Collection agents are often relentless and will continue to harass customers until they pay up. From threatening […]

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Tips to Help You Put an End to Endless Calls From Collection Agents

While there are laws in place to protect consumers from creditor harassment, oftentimes collection agents can push the limits, leaving you feeling scared and overwhelmed.

Collection agents are often relentless and will continue to harass customers until they pay up. From threatening letters to non-stop calls at home and at work, an already stressful situation can feel much worse with this continuous harassment.

But there are ways you can regain control of your financial situation, learn your rights, and put an end to the harassing phone calls once and for all. Keep reading to learn more.

Who Are Collection Agents?

Collection agents are tasked with getting you to pay off your debts. If you don’t pay off your debts or negotiate with them, they will continue to contact you.

Collectors can either work directly for the creditor you owe money to, known as first-party collectors. Or, they can work for the agency the debt has been assigned to for collection, known as third-party collectors or agency collectors.

Agency collectors are usually paid a commission, so the more money they collect from debtors, the more money they make, which is why some can get aggressive.

What Are Collection Agents Allowed To Do?

In Ontario, collection agents are allowed to do a credit search on you and register the debt to your credit report—which can negatively affect your credit score.

Collection agents are also allowed to contact:

You:

  • On Sundays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time; and,
  • Mondays to Saturdays, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time

Your spouse, family member, relative, friend, or neighbour if:

  • They want to confirm your contact information;
  • The person they contact is a guarantor—has co-signed—to pay your debt; or,
  • You have given the collection agency written permission to do so.

Your employer if:

  • They are calling to confirm your employment status (one time only);
  • They are calling about a court order or wage garnishment;
  • Your employer is a guarantor/co-signer on your debt; or,
  • You have given the collection agency written permission to do so.

Collection agents are not allowed to:

  • Contact you on a statutory holiday;
  • Contact you more than three times in seven days without your consent;
  • Charge you any fees;
  • Harass or pressure you;
  • Use coercive, threatening, profane, or intimidating language;
  • Give false or misleading information to any person, including your family, friends, or employer;
  • Suggest that a creditor take legal action against you without informing you of their plan to make this recommendation.

Steps To Take To Take Control And Stop Collection Calls And Harassment

Follow these steps to end those collection calls once and for all.

Identify Your Debts

The first step is to figure out what debt the creditor or collection agency is calling you about. Check your credit report and any accounts you might be behind on, and ask the collection agent:

  • Who does this alleged debt belong to?
  • Which creditor is tied to this account?
  • What is the amount of this alleged debt?
  • When did the account go into default?

The collection agent might be calling you about a debt that you’ve already paid off. Or, they might be calling you about someone else’s account with the same name as yours.

If the account isn’t yours or you’ve already paid it off, let the collection agency and credit reporting agencies know so they can remove this false information from your credit report and put a stop to the phone calls.

Know Your Rights

Collection agencies are legally allowed to contact you about any outstanding debts. But there are provincial debt collection laws that collection agencies must follow, such as when they can call you, how many times per week they can call, and if they can call your employer.

Research your provincial debt collection laws and speak with a debt counsellor, so you know your rights when it comes to these harassing phone calls.

Understand When Creditor Conduct is Unlawful

If the collection agent breaks any of the debt collection laws, such as making threats and using abusive language, you can report them to the provincial consumer protection authority.

Also, if you feel like the creditor or collection agency is being unreasonable, check if they are licensed via your province’s consumer protection authority website. If they are not licensed, or their jurisdiction doesn’t fall within your province, then they do not have any legal rights to contact you for debt collection.

Write to Collection Agents

You can also stop the harassing phone calls by sending a “cease and desist” letter to the collection agency. This is a written request for the collection agency to stop calling you and only communicate with you in writing.

File a Complaint

If a legitimate collection agency has broken any laws, report them to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, or the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. These authorities may revoke the collector’s license depending on what they did and if they are repeat offenders.

Keep Records

Make sure to keep records of all written correspondence with the collection agency along with any payments you make. When speaking with them over the phone, write down the date and time, their name, call back number, the company they work for, the debt they are calling about, and any other information that you discuss, such as settlement offers and repayment plans.

And if they leave voice messages on your phone, save these too. These records can be used to file a complaint and help you stop the harassing phone calls.

Make a Plan for Debt Repayment

Once your accounts have gone to collections, your credit will take a hit. But you can work towards paying off your debt and rebuilding your credit score with a debt repayment plan. And debt repayment will help stop the collection calls for good.

There are different ways you can repay your debts, depending on what you can afford. These include:

  • Paying off the debt in full
  • Negotiating a one-time lump sum payment to your creditor
  • Filing a consumer proposal with a licensed insolvency trustee
  • Debt consolidation
  • Looking into a debt management program

Explore Debt Relief Solutions

If you can’t afford to repay your debt, you can explore your debt relief options with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). An LIT will review your financial situation, including your debts, income, assets, and monthly expenses, help you create a realistic budget, and give you advice and options for debt relief.

Collection calls can cause extreme stress. But there are ways to stop these calls for good. So consider these steps and speak with an LIT if you want to take the financial steps needed to put an end to these harassing phone calls.

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