The ins & outs of dealing with collection agents


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Having a debt passed to a collection agency is not something anyone ever wants to hear and getting a call or visit from a collection agent can only spike your stress levels even higher.

Many collections agents will use harsh tactics to attempt to get you to make payment on the bill that you owe such as threatening legal action. However, there are strict guidelines in most provinces that are designed to manage these tactics and keep an eye on the agencies themselves.

So, to give you a head start and debunk some common myths, we’ve grouped together our best tips and tricks for dealing with collections agencies and their collectors.

Many collections agents will use harsh tactics to attempt to get you to make payment on the bill that you owe such as threatening legal action.

Know your rights

If you are being contacted by a debt collector, it’s important to know what they are and are not able to do. Knowing your rights when it comes to collections agencies can often prevent you from misunderstanding or making promises to the agent that you can’t keep.

The points below detail what debt collectors can and cannot do:

Can

  • Visit your employer at least once – this should purely be to confirm your employment or to speak to you personally
  • Contact you on your personal number within specific hours of the day and certain days of the week. Most commonly, they will not call you on a Sunday as this is prohibited
  • Reach out to your friends and family to find out where you live or work
  • Contact you on multiple platforms such as phone or email – this can be several times a week depending on province

Cannot

  • Harass you in order to make you pay
  • Use dishonest tactics get a hold of you
  • Attempt to collect a debt without alerting you in writing first
  • Threaten action that they have no intention of taking
  • Misinform you about the debt they are collecting for

It is important to note that if an agency or a collector breaks government regulation that you retain the right to make them aware of this. You also retain the right to make a complaint against them with the relevant authority in your province. This won’t stop your liability for the debt but will allow you some breathing space to sort out your finances.

Always make a realistic repayment plan

You should be aware that collection agencies and their collectors are paid on commission, so in their eyes, they’re simply doing their job and trying to get paid when chasing for payment. However, this often means putting a lot of pressure on you to find any available avenue to pay the debt in full or within as short a repayment period as possible.

When making a repayment plan with a collector or their agency, remember to consider your financial state as a whole. Request time to evaluate your situation and work out what you can afford to pay so that you don’t give in to their demands for an unrealistic payment plan. Always remember that although you are in arrears, you are still a customer – and no matter what the situation, companies will always want to minimalize complaints.

Always be prepared

It’s always important to be prepared when dealing with a collector. Once you are aware that your bill has been passed to a collection agency, collect all the information you have surrounding the debt before you speak to an agent. This can help avoid feeling pressured when they contact you.

If you are offering a payment plan, you will need to provide any relevant documents as proof of your incomings and outgoings. Collection agents are trained in the power of persuasion so it’s always best to be prepared for them to question everything you tell them and try to push you to make higher payments. In these instances, always stand your ground and don’t fall for any ploys they use that they can’t accept your offer. If you end up going around in circles with them, ask to speak to their manager until you are able to get a secure agreement.

At the end of the day, being contacted by a collection agency can catch you off guard – but the most important point to remember that will make dealing with them easier is communication. Well-timed and efficient communication can often help to stop any harassment.

The bottom line is they won’t want to hear it, but always do what you feel is best for you. If you are unsure what that is or just don’t know where to turn – speak to one of our experts today for free and confidential advice.

Always be prepared

It’s always important to be prepared when dealing with a collector.

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