Sometimes when a consumer owes money to a company and is not paying it, the company hands this debt over to a collection agency.
Since collection agencies only get paid when they collect these debts, they can be very persistent. While you are responsible for paying money that you owe, the Collection Agencies Act says that all collectors must be licensed. This means there are rules that collection agencies must follow when they contact you.
- Collectors must contact you by mail before making any contact by phone or otherwise. There is a standard letter that they should use. They must file a copy of this letter with Service Nova Scotia.
- Collectors cannot collect more money than you owe the business or person who hired them.
- Collectors are responsible for making sure that you actually owe the money. They must tell you who is looking for repayment when they contact you.
- Collectors may not make collect calls to you to demand repayment.
- You may ask collectors to only contact you through a lawyer.
- Collectors may not threaten or intimidate you or use abusive language.
- Collectors may not call so often or in such a way that you or your family feels harassed.
- Collectors may not call on a Sunday, or between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Collectors may not lie about you (directly or indirectly) to your family members or to anyone that you owe money to.
- Collectors may not give information, or threaten to give information, to anyone that could affect your employment.
- Collectors may not contact your employer, friends, aquaintances, family or neighbours unless they have guaranteed or co-signed the loan they are trying to collect, except if they are looking for your address.
- Collectors may not take you to court – unless the collector has taken on the debt from the company that you originally borrowed money from.
If you are concerned that a collection agency is not following these rules or if you have any other questions about collections, you may contact Service Nova Scotia through our Contact Us page.
While ordinary businesses which collect their own debts are not required to be licensed, they must follow similar rules of conduct set out in the Consumer Creditors Conduct Act.