The Law: the rules are governed by Ontario’s Collection Agency Act
Contact with Third Parties: In Ontario, collection agencies are only allowed to contact third parties to ask for the debtor’s address and telephone number. The collection company can, of course, contact anyone (spouse, relative) if that person has guaranteed the debt.
Home: During the week telephone calls are only allowed between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm. On Sundays and holidays telephone calls are allowed between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. A collection agency cannot threaten or intimidate you and cannot use profane or coercive language. In other words they cannot use excessive or unreasonable pressure to try to get you to pay the debt.
Work: A collection agency can only contact your employer once to confirm that you are employed, unless, of course you gave the collection company or the creditor your consent in writing to contact your employer more often. If the collection company has obtained a court order, wage garnishee or wage assignment they can contact your employer to enforce these orders. Also if your employer has guaranteed your debt, the collection agency may deal with your employer (as the guarantor) to collect the debt.
By Mail: In order for the collection agency to phone you they must first (within 60 days) send you a letter detailing
– the name of the creditor
– the amount owing
– the name of the collection agency
– the authority of the collection agency to act for the creditor.
Your rights: If you send the collection agency a registered letter telling them you dispute the debt, they are not supposed to contact you further. Effectively they must go to court to prove the debt.
If you send a registered letter to the collection agency instructing them to deal only with your lawyer – the collection agency is supposed to follow these instructions and not contact you again.
Once you have confirmed with the collection agency that you are the proper debtor that they are dealing with, they are only supposed to contact you a maximum of 3 times in any 7 day period.
If you have informed the creditor or the collection agency that you are not the debtor that owes the money, then the collection agency is not to contact you any further, unless, of course, they can prove that you are the proper debtor.
Rules for the Collection Company
- They cannot give you or anyone else false or misleading information that could damage you or your family
- They must notify you before they commence any legal actions against you.
- They can only call you between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm on regular days. On Sundays or statutory holidays calls are limited to between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm.
- No continued demands for payment if you claim not to owe the money
- Must not collect more money than is actually owed.
- Cannot threaten bodily harm or damage to your property if you fail to pay your debt. This could be held to be extortion or intimidation under the Criminal Code of Canada.
- Cannot write a false or misleading statements about you, knowing them to be false. The collection agency could be charged with libel.
- Cannot enter your home without your consent or a court order. The collection agency could be charged with “break and enter”.
Complaints: If there is any reason for you to complain about the collection agency you should just try to resolve the issue directly with the collection agency. If that fails phone the Consumer Protection Branch, Province of Ontario, Government and Consumer Services Ministry at:
416-326-8800 in Toronto
1-800-889-9768 outside of Toronto
E –mail: email@example.com
Disclaimer: This is based on our understanding of the rules as they apply in the Province of Ontario. They are meant to be a general guideline and should not be used in any specific circumstances. Readers are cautioned that the law of other provinces and territories in Canada and elsewhere are not the same as in Ontario. The staff at Rumanek & Company Ltd. would be pleased to meet with you to review any problems you might have and resolve them to your satisfaction.
Contact Rumanek & Company Ltd. for more information. Please fill out the form on the contact us page for additional information. If you would like a free evaluation please fill out the evaluation form. To learn more please visit our YouTube Channel. Rumanek & Company have been helping individuals and families overcome bankruptcy in Ontario for more than 25 years.