As the regulator of the debt collection sector, we often get calls from consumers about calls from collectors. If you are getting calls, remember you are not alone — debt is an issue for many British Columbians. If you are getting calls, did you know that you have the right to request to be contacted in writing only by the debt collector?

What is your right as a consumer?

First of all, it is important to remember debt collectors are allowed to contact you about the debts you owe. That said, you also have the right to be contacted in writing only. To ask for this, fill out a “request for communication in writing only” form (printable form or online form) and send it to the debt collector with a proof of delivery (fax transmission report, registered letter receipt, etc.). Once you do that, they are not allowed to contact you by phone and they have to start communicating with you in writing only (such as mail or email).

What happens to your debt?

It’s important to remember that your debt has not gone away just because the collector is no longer calling you. If you need some resources on how to pay down your debt, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has some information on dealing with debt on their website. If the debt is left unpaid, interest charges may accrue and your debt load may become larger. An unpaid debt may also affect your credit rating negatively and make any future financing difficult.

What happens if your debt is not paid and you ignore written communications?

If your debt is not being addressed and you choose to ignore written communication from the debt collector, there may be legal implications. The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (BPCP Act) states that legal proceedings may be brought if a collector gives you such notice. So it is important to keep in mind that just because the collection calls have stopped, it doesn’t mean that your debt is gone. You may want to keep an eye on any written correspondence from the collector and respond accordingly.

What happens if a collector continues to call you?

If you have requested a debt collector contact you in writing only and you are still getting calls a few days later, please contact our office at Consumer Protection BC. You can reach us at 1-888-564-9963, send us an email to info@consumerprotectionbc.ca or fill out our complaint form.

There is a lot more to know about BC’s debt collection law, including more information about your rights and responsibilities. Visit our Consumer Help page to learn more.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Getting calls from a debt collector?
New things to know about BC’s debt collection laws
Tips for negotiating with collection agencies
This isn’t my debt
A debt collector called my workplace