If you find yourself being contacted by a debt collector, it might be a good idea to brush up on your rights in the province. Here are some of the rules debt collectors must follow in BC.

The rules debt collectors must follow in BC

Generally speaking, anyone who is collecting or attempting to collect a debt, must follow the debt collection rules in BC. Most often, you may find yourself dealing with a debt collector. We licence debt collectors in the province and enforce the rules they have to follow. Use the information below to learn the rules in BC and access tools and resources to help you exercise your consumer rights:

1. Debt collectors are only allowed to contact you about the debts you owe once the debt is due and payable, not before.

2. They must send the details about your debt before they start calling you (including the amount owing and who owns the debt). This can be a written letter or an email. If you didn’t get this information, you have the right to ask for the details. How to ask for the details of your debt. Keep in mind, there are two exceptions to this rule:

a. They can make an effort to call you before sending you the details of your debt – but only to confirm your correct contact information.

b. If they have bought the debt from the creditor (or they are the creditor, such as a payday lender), they are not required to send you the details of your debt first, which means that they can begin calling you right away. 

3. Debt collectors must stop calling you if:

a. You notify them that you want to be communicated with in writing only (or through your lawyer). Learn how to get the calls to stop

b. You notify them that you would like to dispute the debt and have it taken to court for resolution. Learn how to dispute the debt

c. You notify them that they have the wrong person. Learn what to do if it’s not your debt

4. They can only call between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a Sunday (your local time).

5. They must not call you before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays (your local time).

6. They must not call you, a family member, or a friend at any time on a statutory holiday.

7. They must not discuss the details of your debt with another person without your permission. However, they can contact a family member, friend or acquaintance to confirm your contact information.

8. They must not contact you in a way that will cost you money.

9. They must not publish or threaten to publish details of the debt except to a credit reporting agency.

10. They must not use threatening, profane, or intimidating language.

11. They must not put excessive pressure on you.

12. They must not threaten to sue you unless they are actually taking legal action.

13. They can’t try to collect any amount that is more than what you owe. They can’t apply their own interest rates or fees, but interest can be charged at the rate in your initial credit agreement.

The rules outlined above are not an exhaustive list – there’s a lot to know about this topic. Learn more about BC’s debt collection laws.

Dealing with unlawful collection behaviour after taking out an online loan?

Have you taken out a loan from an online lender and are now experiencing harassing debt collection practices? You may be dealing with an unlicensed or illegitimate payday lender, which can make it difficult to exercise your rights. Learn more about the risks of borrowing money from unlicensed lenders and where to go for help.

Find out now: Check if your payday lender is licensed.

Where to go for help

We know dealing with debt can be stressful, especially if you’re getting collection calls. In BC, you have rights when it comes to debt collection. The law speaks to when a collector can contact you and how they can communicate with you. Learn more about your rights for debt collection in BC.

If you believe a debt collector or someone collecting a debt is not following the rules, explore our consumer help page about debt collection to get instructions and official forms that may be able to help, depending on your concern. If you still can’t resolve the issue, feel free to submit a complaint to us directly.

About Consumer Protection BC

We’re a not-for-profit provincial regulator. We are responsible for licensing debt collectors and regulating certain aspects of the debt collection industry in BC. The laws we oversee capture your rights when it comes to credit reportingdebt collectionpayday loanshigh-cost loans, and certain aspects of debt repayment services. Find out more about us and the other industries and transactions we oversee by exploring our website.

Learn more about your rights when it comes to debt and borrowing.

Debt and borrowing in BC

More debt and borrowing resources

Managing debt
How to make a plan to manage your debt
Comparing different debt relief options
The impact of debt on your credit report
How to improve your credit score
How to build healthy financial habits

Debt collection
How to stop collection calls
What to do if it’s not your debt
The rules debt collectors must follow in BC
How to dispute a debt

Borrowing wisely
Things to think about before you take out a loan
Understanding the cost of your loan
The rules for payday lenders in BC
The risks of borrowing money from unlicensed lenders
Buy now, pay later plans: what you need to know

Tell us what you think for a chance to win!

The information above is part of a consumer education initiative on debt and borrowing in BC and we want your input!

By completing the survey, you will be entered to win one of two $300 prizes and you’ll support consumer education in the province. Your feedback will help us fine-tune our educational resources so we can continually improve and help more people make informed debt choices in BC.

Take the survey by visiting this page or by clicking on the image below.
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