Dealing with debt collectors in Canada can be a stressful experience. If you’re receiving calls and letters from debt collectors, it’s important to understand your rights and options. Here are some tips on how to deal with debt collectors in Canada:
Know Your Rights
In Canada, debt collectors are regulated by provincial and territorial laws and federal laws such as the Consumer Protection Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Under these laws, debt collectors must follow specific rules when communicating with consumers.
One of the most important rights you have as a consumer is a right to request that the debt collector stop contacting you. You can do this by sending a letter to the debt collector requesting that they cease all communication. Once the debt collector receives your letter, they are only allowed to contact you to confirm that they will no longer contact you or to notify you of legal action they plan to take.
Verify the Debt
If you need clarification on whether the debt is legitimate or if you don’t recognize the debt, you have the right to request that the debt collector verify the debt. Under Canadian law, the debt collector must send you a written notice within five days of their initial communication with you that includes the debt amount, the creditor’s name, and information on how to dispute the debt if you believe it is not valid.
It’s important to review the verification of the debt carefully and compare it to your records. Then, you can dispute the debt in writing if you believe it is invalid. The debt collector is required to investigate your dispute and provide you with a response within 30 days.
Negotiate a Payment Plan
If you do owe the debt but cannot pay the total amount, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the debt collector. It’s essential to be realistic about what you can afford to pay and to communicate this clearly to the debt collector. You may be able to negotiate a lower total amount owed, a lower interest rate, or more favourable payment terms.
Be sure to get any payment agreement in writing and keep a copy for your records. Once you’ve made your payments as agreed, the debt collector should stop contacting you.
If you need help with the situation, consider seeking help from a credit counsellor or lawyer specializing in debt collection. A credit counsellor can help you understand your options and develop a plan to manage your debt. A lawyer can also help you if you believe the debt collector has violated your rights under Canadian law. Alberta Credit Counsellors is available during business hours, after hours and on weekends at 780-488-3328.
Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful, but knowing your rights and options is essential. By understanding Canadian laws regarding debt collection, verifying the debt, negotiating a payment plan, and seeking help if needed, you can work towards resolving your debt and improving your financial situation.