Right off the bat
The first step a collection agency must take is to send you a written notice through the mail (email doesn’t count). This notice must include:
After sending the notice, the agency must wait six days before it can contact you in person or by phone.
What if they’re wrong?
The agency cannot continue to contact you if:
How often can they contact you?
The agency has to observe a number of restrictions about how often their agents can contact you and how they communicate with you. For example, after their first conversation with you, the agents cannot contact you more than three times in a seven-day period without your consent, except by regular mail. “Contact” means the agents must actually speak with you, email you or leave you a voice mail. If you don’t answer the phone and the agents don’t leave a message, it doesn’t count as a contact.
In addition, the agency cannot:
Can they ask other people about you?
In general, a collection agency can contact your employer once to obtain your employment information. Otherwise, they cannot contact your employer unless:
A collection agency cannot contact your spouse, a member of your family or household, or a relative, neighbour or acquaintance except to obtain your address and telephone number, unless:
In addition, a collection agency cannot:
Can a collection agency charge you extra?
No. Collection agencies cannot add any charges. They are allowed to collect only what you owe your creditor. But remember, the amount you owe could continue to grow if interest charges are piling up. This depends on the terms of your contract with your creditor.
Exercise your rights
If you believe a collection agency has violated any of these practices in dealing with you:
Solve the problem
If you are contacted by a collection agency, it’s important that you deal with them to resolve your debts as soon as possible. Otherwise, the problem won’t go away and could very well get worse. Your creditor might:
It’s always best to deal with debts before you get to this point.