The right way to deal with collection calls

November 25, 2014

If you’ve fallen behind on payments, you may be the recipient of collection calls. Learn how you can be prepared for these calls.

The right way to deal with collection calls

Dealing with collection calls can feel overwhelming. Getting unexpected calls from debt collection agencies at home can be stressful, especially if you’re not ready to deal with their questions.

  • With a few helpful tips, you can feel empowered and prepared to answer the next collection call.

What is a collection agency?

Before you answer the phone, understand who's calling.

  • If you owe money and have not made recent payments, the people you owe (creditors), may contact a collection agency.
  • Your creditors pay a collection agency.
  • It is the role of the collection agency to recuperate what your creditors are owed.

What is a collection agency prohibited from doing?

When the phone starts ringing and you suspect it’s a collection agency, it is in your best interest to know your rights. A collection agency is not allowed to do the following:

  • Harass or intimidate you, send you threatening mail or threaten you over the telephone or in person. It is a criminal offence
  • Use scare tactics like calling you many times a day at home or at work. This behaviour may be a criminal offence
  • Threaten legal action to collect the debt before your first notification
  • Give false information or information that is misleading
  • Request payment from someone who does not owe the money
  • Demand money without confirming that the person in fact owes money
  • Communicate with your friends, employer, relatives or neighbours for information, other than to get your telephone number or address

What must a collection agency do?

  • Depending on which province you live in, you must first be notified in writing that your account has been passed to a collection agency before they call you. This is seen as a reasonable attempt to communicate your debt
  • Identify who they are, who is owed money and how much is owed

What should you do when a collection agency calls?

Once the account has been handed over to a collection agency, deal only with that agency when your arranging payments.

  • If you can, pay the money you owe. That way, you won't have to deal with the agency
  • Explain why you can’t pay the full amount
  • Suggest a repayment plan, like a lower lump sum or monthly payments
  • Only make payments if you can receive a receipt for your payment
  • If your financial circumstances change at any time during repayment, let the collection agency know by phone and in writing
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