The number one tactic that collection agencies employ to entice you to negotiate with them is by simply harassing you, every which way.
In extreme cases we have had clients tell us about collection agencies who have used the following aggressive collection tactics to force a dialog:
- Sending an abundance of mail with collection agency letterhead to the residence
- Sending mail to the consumer at work
- Calling the consumer at work and/or leaving messages with co-workers
- Contacting the consumers payroll department
- Leaving descriptive messages on the consumers voice mail
- Calling the consumer multiple times daily, even at night and on Sundays
Especially in Ontario, there are a number of protections in place that protect consumers from “over the top” collection agency tactics. The Ministry of Consumer Services regulates collection agencies and the Ministry of Consumer Services licenses all collectors in the Province of Ontario.
When a consumer has a problem with a collection agency they can file a complaint against the collector personally or against the collection agency. If the Ministry agrees that you have a valid complaint they will write to the collection agency requesting a response. Depending on the response, the Ministry will continue to pursue the complaint until a satisfactory solution is reached.
Here is one example of an existing rule that applies to “third party disclosure”. A collection agency cannot provide information about you or your dealings with them to any third party. If a collection agency phoned you at home and your brother answered the phone and the collection agency told him to “have you call them back about your credit card debt”, this would be a third party disclosure violation.
An answering machine is also considered a third party. In many households many people have access to a single answering machine. Collection agencies are not permitted to leave details about your dealings with them on an answering machine. A co-worker is yet another example of a third-party.
If the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot pay your debt, there are steps you can take to ensure that the collection agency treats you fairly. With that said, the fastest way to get a collection agency off your back is by dealing with the debt. You can do this a number of ways: through a debt consolidation, through credit counselling or through government programs.
Coming up with a strategy to deal with your debt will put you on course to get the collection agencies out of your life and start working towards better financial help. For more information about collection agency harassment and what you can do to deal with debt that is in collections, visit http://www.debtcare.ca/