Debt causes stress and anxiety for a lot of people, especially if you have a lot of it. Debt can cause you to be denied for loans and cause strain on your relationships. But one of the most distressing consequences of debt is getting hounded by debt collection agencies.
What Are Debt Collection Agencies?
A collection agency is a third party that is hired by other people to collect debt. If you owe a business or company money and you don’t pay them on time or at all, that person or company you owe money to might hire a collection agency to get their money for them.
There are rules that collection agencies must follow and limits to what they can do to get the money back.
In Ontario, debt collection agencies must be registered with the government. If they aren’t registered, then it is against the law for them to attempt to collect money from you.
There are also certain rules collection agencies must follow when contacting you. A collection agency must contact you by written notice before they can contact you through any other means. This can be through email or mail, but if you tell them you don’t want to receive emails, then they must do it by mail. After sending the initial notice, they are able to contact you after six days.
Collection agencies can only contact you during certain times of the day, and no more than three times per week.
If you find yourself being contacted by a collection agency but don’t owe any money, do not give them any personal information or any money. The collection agency, or the creditor who hired them, might have made a mistake. You should contact both of them and explain that you don’t owe any money so they can double-check your file and get things sorted. This is called disputing the debt.
Another important thing to do when you are being contacted by a collection agency is to make sure that it is a legitimate collection agency. There are scammers and people out there that pretend to be collection agencies in order to scare you and collect money for you. Remember, a collection agency must send you a written notice before they can do anything else. Wait until you get this notice before paying any money.
The fake collection agency may give you the name of a real collection agency but not actually work for them. Look online for information about the company and then call them to ensure that it is them who contacted you.
A real collection agency will have your personal information already. The person who hired them must give them this information in order for them to be able to collect money from you. Again, double check to ensure it is a legitimate agency by looking up their phone number yourself and contacting them.
Before making any big legal decisions or taking legal action, you should consult with a legal professional from Ontario Legal Pool.