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Debt Collection

Posted on
02 April 2012
  • Comments (4)

Tips for Negotiating With Collection Agencies

Written by  Michelle

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The Consumer Protection BC Inquiry Team receives a large number of calls around debt collection each month. Although we have written a few blogs already about this topic, we thought it might be useful to share some tips around debt collection.

If you owe a debt that has now been passed to a collections agency, you will likely be asked to pay off the full amount as soon as possible. Although this may be the best way to avoid incurring any more interest on the account, this may not be an option for some people. Under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection laws, collection agencies are not required to accept payment arrangements. This being said, you have the ability to propose payment arrangements which are agreed upon by both parties. If you find yourself in this situation, you might consider calculating how much you can afford to pay on a regular basis (usually once every two weeks or once per month) and propose this to the agency. If the collection agent agrees to accept these new payment arrangements, request that this arrangement be sent to you in writing prior to making any payments.

Once you receive a letter in writing confirming your new terms and conditions, be sure to make your payments in full and on time. If you are late on a payment or pay less than the negotiated amount, the debt may default back to the original terms and conditions and you may be asked to pay the entire amount off immediately. As in any situation where money transactions are involved, it is best to keep a copy of the proof of payment. This is very important for your own records.

For more information about debt collection, please visit www.debtrightsbc.ca. If you have an inquiry or complaint regarding a debt collection agency, please visit our “How to make a complaint” page, or contact our Inquiry unit by phone at 1-888-564-9963 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last modified on 05 April 2012
Michelle

Michelle

Michelle formerly worked in the Consumer Protection BC Inquiry Centre. She answered calls and emails from consumers and businesses on a wide variety of topics

Comments  

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Ben Ziegler

04 April 2012
Michelle, this is a very helpful post. Thank you. I work as a mediator of commercial disputes, and the advice you provide for consumers, e.g., negotiating terms that you can move forward with, and live up to, is bang on. And building on that, and with a consumer hat on, it would be nice to see more info about the collection agent's mindset... how do they approach debt negotations? This type of info also benefits the consumer. The more you know about the interests of the person you're negotiating with, the better.
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Hermes Outlet Online

08 June 2012
Very pleased to see such a good article, I appreciate deeply.
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Betty-Anne Juba

13 February 2014
I am continually getting phone calls and letters from a collection agency for an individual who passed away while renting a room in my house. We have written and phoned the collection company before the death and many times after that she was unable to pay (on welfare and dying of cancer). And of course after when she died. This has been going on for 21/2 years. What are our options?
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Shantel

13 February 2014
Hi Betty-Anne. Yes, we can help you stop the calls. I would recommend faxing the collection agency a "not the debtor" form. Here is a link to the form.

http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/not_the_debtor_form%202013.pdf

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