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5 Truths About Debt Collectors Canadians Need to Know

a debt collector calls a debtor to demand payment

This time around we’re going to explore a topic guaranteed to get most people hot under the collar: Debt collectors. Yes, the hated debt collector is someone we all try to avoid whenever possible.

If you live in Canada and have ever had to deal with the intimidating world of debt collection (or even if you haven't) it's essential to be well-informed and to know your rights. So, pay close attention as we share five essential truths about debt collectors every Canadian needs to know:

Truth #1: Debt Collectors Must Follow the Rules

You need to be aware that debt collectors in Canada are subject to strict regulations.

In Ontario, The Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act is overseen by Consumer Protection Ontario and governs debt collectors’ actions, ensuring they play by the posted rules. This act mandates that collectors treat you with respect and fairness, refrain from harassment, and provide accurate information about your debts. In other words, they can't bully or intimidate you!

"But wait, I’ve had collectors call me and insult me, swear at me, threaten to send the police to my door. Isn’t that illegal?" you might ask.

"Absolutely it is, and that’s because…"

Truth #2: You Have Rights

You have rights when dealing with debt collectors. These include the right to request written confirmation of your debt and the right to dispute it if you believe there's an error. Debt collectors must provide this information within five days of initial contact. Plus, they can't contact you at unreasonable hours, nor can they disclose your debt to anyone but you without your consent.

That means they can’t talk to that nosy neighbor down the street about you being a deadbeat or call your boss and complain about your lack of payment. Those behaviors are not allowed.

Truth #3: Debt Can Be Negotiated

Here's another truth many Canadians are not aware of: You can negotiate your debt with a collector. If you're facing financial hardship, don't hesitate to discuss your situation with them. The collection agency may be open to settling the debt for less than the full amount or establishing a manageable payment plan with you.

Don’t forget the bottom line here: The collection agency wants to recover the debt and won’t get paid until they collect from you. So, finding a mutually beneficial solution is in their best interest, too. Just make sure any deal reached is in writing, which brings us to our next point….

Truth #4: It's Important to Keep Records

In the digital age, it's easier than ever to keep records. When dealing with debt collectors, document every single interaction. This includes dates, times, names of the collectors, and the details of your conversations. Should any issues arise down the road, having a well-organized record can be a lifesaver. It's like having a personal insurance policy against unfair treatment or abuse.

Truth #5: Seek Professional Help

If you find yourself overwhelmed by debt or facing a particularly aggressive collector, don't hesitate to seek professional help. There are credit experts (such as Richard Moxley, author of The Credit Game) and Licensed Insolvency Trustees who specialize in debt-related solutions. Just remember, you're not alone in this; there are resources available to support you.

There you have it - five crucial truths about debt collectors that every Canadian needs to know. And now you do!

It’s important to remember that dealing with debt collectors can be stressful but that you have rights, and there are rules in place to protect you. Don't let intimidation tactics from unruly collectors get the best of you. Keep a cool head, document everything, and if needed, seek professional assistance.

Managing debt is a challenging journey, but with the right knowledge and mindset, you can navigate it successfully.

I hope you found this information helpful and empowering. If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences, feel free to drop us a comment or question below.

Until next time, stay financially savvy, Canada!


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