Being in debt is a stressful situation for any person. Often, debt coincides with job loss, financial missteps made many years ago and other difficult experiences. A person can be worried about losing his or her home, being unable to pay bills and taking care of his or her family.
Under these already-upsetting conditions, being harassed by creditors can prove to be too much for someone. Thankfully, consumers in Ontario have options to stop creditor harassment.
Any time a creditor contacts someone attempting to collect a debt, it can feel intrusive and upsetting. However, not every unpleasant or unwanted interaction with a collection agency is harassment. There are specific rules in place for collection agencies in Ontario that dictate what they can and cannot do.
Under the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act, the following acts are prohibited:
- Sending a letter without including accurate information about the debt
- Contacting a person other than the person who owes the debt
- Calling you very early or late at night (unless requested by you)
- Calling you on holidays
- Making threats
- Using profane or intimidating language
- Calling several times per day or more than three times a week
- Using false information
- Contacting you within six days of sending the initial written notice
- Telling you that they will take legal action even if they do not have the authority to do so
Protecting yourself and stopping the harassment
If you feel an agent is harassing you, keep diligent notes about every exchange. Keep track of paperwork, call times and frequencies, as well as what the agent says when he or she contacts, which can be crucial in the event parties take legal action.
You can also file a complaint on the Ontario Government website.
These measures can provide relief from creditor harassment, but the debt (if you owe it) will remain. As such, you might also consider debt-relief options, including bankruptcy. Not only can this help you address your debt, but filing for bankruptcy also stops collection efforts.
Struggling with debt is stressful enough without the added anxiety and embarrassment that can result from creditor harassment. Putting a stop to the unlawful efforts of creditors can make it easier for you to focus on finding solutions for your financial situation.