Collection calls are annoying, especially if your financial situation hasn’t changed since the last call. Although the rules vary between provinces, legally, collection agencies have the right to contact you regarding a legitimate debt. They are prohibited from using threatening language, becoming abusive, contacting your employer except for employment verification, or calling during specified hours. According to Canadian statute, collection agencies cannot “make frequent calls that constitute harassment,” however their calls are unfailingly systematic, unwanted, and aggravating. Following are three ways to stop collection calls.
- Cease and Desist Letter
In Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and Nova Scotia, consumers can legally request that debt collectors stop phoning you at your home. A cease and desist letter can be written by anyone in Canada that is being aggressively pursued by a debt collector. Cease and desist letters demand that the agency stop the phone calls, and continue communication only in writing. Consumers should make sure to keep a copy of the letter for their records, and send the correspondence by certified or registered mail. Difficulties may arise for the consumer once the cease and desist letter has been received by the collection agency. These difficulties may include instigation of legal action to collect the debt, or the agency may allow the account to simply charge-off which will damage the customer’s credit for years to come.
- Pay off Debt
Dealing with the debt is the best option to stop the collection calls. In many situations, paying off the debt in full is not possible. In this scenario, talk to the collection agency about a payment arrangement to repay the debt that does not compromise paying your other debts and living expenses. For all payment arrangements made:
- Follow up all arrangements in writing, and when possible, enclose an initial good faith payment
- Never send cash
- Get a receipt for all payments
- Deal only with the collection agency and do not contact the original creditor
- Debt Management Solutions
If no acceptable solution is available with the collection agency, a debt management program can help. Be forewarned that not all debt management programs are legitimate. Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada, Inc. (CCSAC) is a registered non-profit organization that helps individuals in Atlantic Canada negotiate lower payments and interest terms. Paying back debts is structured around the person’s ability to pay. The counselling service contacts the creditors on your behalf and details the payment schedule. Once an agreement has been made, collection agencies are asked to stop, or lower interest, for the length of the payment process. They are also asked to contact the Credit Counselling Services, instead of the debtor, with any questions or difficulties. Clients pay a single monthly deposit to the debt management program that is then distributed to creditors.
Credit counselling can stop the collection agency calls, help you manage and eliminate debts, and avoid bankruptcy. If you are getting calls from collection agencies, and need some advice, contact us today.