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Debt Collection & Repayment

Posted on
29 October 2014
  • Comments (215)

Getting calls from a debt collector? Featured

Written by  Melaina

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Getting calls from a debt collector can be stressful, but we’re here to help you understand what collectors are allowed (and not allowed) to do. 

(Please note that changes were made to the debt collection and repayment regulation, effective April 2016. All of the information below applies to April 1, 2016 and beyond.)

Consumer Protection BC is responsible for enforcing BC’s debt collection law (which covers both debt collectors who are located in BC, as well as those who are contacting BC residents about debts). The debt collection law in BC speaks to how debt collectors communicate with debtors and who is required to be licensed with us. 

It’s important to remember debt collectors are allowed to contact you about the debts you owe (once the debt is due and payable, not before). The information below is designed help you know more about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to debt collection communication practices.

We can help you in other ways, too, such as stopping calls about a debt that isn’t yours or getting a collection agency to contact you in writing only (and not by telephone). 

How can we help?
A debt collector is calling me – what should I do?
What are debt collectors allowed, and not allowed, to do?
How can I get a collection agency to stop calling me?
How do I get details about a debt?
How can I dispute an alleged debt?
What can I do if a debt collector is calling me about someone else’s debt?
Did you know that third-party collectors are required to be licensed in BC?
How can I make a complaint against a debt collector?
Where can I go for more debt collection information?

A debt collector is calling me – what should I do?
Phone callFirst, take a deep breath and remember you’re not alone. Debt is an issue for many British Columbians (did you know that one out of every five people who contact us are calling about a debt-related matter?) and there are laws in place to ensure collectors are following set communications rules and procedures. (That said, please don’t forget that debt collectors are allowed to contact you about the debts you owe.)

If you get a call from a debt collector, we suggest you answer the phone and talk to the person on the other end as ignoring the calls will not make the problem go away. When you speak to the debt collector, remember you have the right to receive details about the debt, request communication in writing only, and visit this FAQs page to learn more. All of the forms mentioned in this blog post is located on our website here.

What are debt collectors allowed, and not allowed, to do?
Here’s a summary: 

Can do   Cannot do

Call you on a Sunday between 1 and 5 p.m.

Call you at work to request your home address, phone number and email address (if they don’t have it)

Make one attempt to contact you at work to collect a debt (but only if they have your home contact information and have been unable to make contact)

Contact your employer in certain circumstances

Contact a member of your family or household, relative, neighbour, friend or acquaintance to try to get your home address, phone number or email

    Call you after 9 p.m. or before 7 a.m.

    Discuss details of your debt with someone else (unless they have your permission)

    Collect more than what is owing on the debt (aside from interest at the rate in your original credit agreement)

    Contact you in a way that costs you money

    Use threatening, profane or intimidating language

    Exert undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure to collect a debt

    Publish or threaten to publish your failure to pay (except to a credit reporting agency)

    How can I get a collection agency to stop calling me?
    By law, you can request for a collection agency to contact you in writing only. To do this, fill out a form we created called “Request Communication in Writing Only” and send it to the collection agency by registered mail, fax or email. After they receive this letter, they are not allowed to contact you by telephone.

    How do I get details about a debt?
    Collectors can make a reasonable effort to call you before a written letter is sent, but only to confirm your correct contact information.  They must send you a letter with the details of your debt, which includes details about who the original and current owners of the debt are, and how much is owing. 

    How can I dispute an alleged debt?
    You have the right to dispute an alleged debt. To do this, fill out a form we created called “Dispute a Debt” and send it to the collection agency and the original creditor by registered mail, fax or email. After they receive this letter, they must stop communicating with you (expect for communications necessary to start a legal proceeding).  

    What can I do if a debt collector is calling me about someone else’s debt?
    Tell the debt collector you are not the person they are looking for and ask for the calls to stop. Be prepared to provide details to confirm that you are not the person they’re calling for, such as your addresses and birthdate. We created a form you can fill out called “Stop the Calls Because You Are Not the Debtor” and send to the collection agency by registered mail, fax or email.

    Did you know that third-party collectors are required to be licensed in BC?
    In British Columbia, anyone who is trying to collect a debt must follow the proper debt collection practices within the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. In addition, third-party collectors (those collecting debts on behalf of the original creditor), bailiffs and debt repayment agents are required to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC. Visit this page on our website to find out more, including links to the debt collection law in BC.

    How can I make a complaint against a debt collector?
    There are a few steps to take: 

    Steps1. Try to resolve the issue with the collection agency, and give them time to fix their mistake.

    2. If the issue continues, collect documentation to support your complaint (such as a picture of your phone, showing what time the collector called).

    3. File a complaint with our office – here’s a form you can fill out and send to our office with your supporting documentation. Please include proof that you first tried to resolve the issue with the debt collector.

    Where can I go for more debt collection information?

    There is a lot more to know about BC’s debt collection law, including more information about your rights and responsibilities. To learn more, visit our website at www.debtrightsbc.ca or feel free to pop by our Facebook or Twitter pages and ask a question.

     

     

    Last modified on 03 May 2016
    Melaina

    Melaina

    Melaina works in communications and marketing for Consumer Protection BC. She is our regular blogger and is always looking for topics of interest to BC consumers.  Feel free to ask a question related to any of our posts by posting a comment!

    Comments  

    #

    Alma louis

    03 November 2014
    I didn't know gnat debt collectors weren't allowed to Publish or threaten to publish your failure to pay (except to a credit reporting agency)

    Wow
    #

    lucy kabatoff

    03 November 2014
    I learned a lot about what a debt collector can do to collect a debt.
    #

    barbara davis

    03 November 2014
    the info about anothers debt - ty
    #

    Edwin Salazar

    03 November 2014
    This is informative. I have learned that debt collectors should not call me during office hours. Thanks for the info!
    #

    Trina Davies

    03 November 2014
    Wow, learned that there are hours that debt collectors are not allowed to call. Didn't know that before.
    #

    Laurie

    03 November 2014
    Thanks for the link about gtting communication in writing only. Good tip!
    #

    Wendy MacLeod

    03 November 2014
    I knew about a debtor being able to ask only to get collection communciation in the form of a letter, but I had no idea Consumer Protection BC actually had an easy form to complete to send to the collector(s). Great idea! Very proactive and helpful.
    #

    Carl Johansen

    03 November 2014
    Nice to find out info on what you can do when the debt is not yours.
    #

    Chrissy

    03 November 2014
    I learnt how to stop collection calls from other peoples debt! Whew!
    #

    Susan Shaw

    03 November 2014
    Did not know that they were allowed to contact your employer!
    #

    Callie

    03 November 2014
    Debt collectors are not allowed to contact a person by phone, by mail only
    #

    Leslie

    03 November 2014
    I didn't realize that there were specific hours that debt collectors were restricted to. I also didn't realize that they could contact you at work.
    #

    Cheryl Moore

    03 November 2014
    This doesnt pertain to me, but i will share with others it might be of interest too, very interesting article.
    #

    LyndaLou

    03 November 2014
    Didn't know that I could request contact by mail only!
    #

    john baddeley

    03 November 2014
    Some very good and important info, glad I read it. Thank you.
    #

    LA

    03 November 2014
    I didn't realize that people can call you for help with aggressive collection agencies.
    #

    PAT KRAUSHAR

    03 November 2014
    very interesting and informative
    #

    Elizabeth DeVries

    03 November 2014
    wow I tell collection agencies that they can't do something and they say they can do what ever they want to
    #

    Liz

    03 November 2014
    Good information...d idn't know they could not be aggressive...
    #

    Dianne Marks

    03 November 2014
    I learned that an employer can be contacted if I have a debt.
    #

    Susan

    03 November 2014
    It's good to know that one can request no phone calls and that one can be contacted by mail only!
    #

    Susan

    03 November 2014
    It good to know one can be contacted by mail only
    #

    Linda H

    03 November 2014
    I didn't know debt collectors could call on sundays.
    #

    trudy

    03 November 2014
    thanks for the information in regards to completing a form to dispute the debt.
    #

    janet Campbell

    03 November 2014
    Next time a debt collector calls reguarding a debt someone else owes (that used to live here) I will be filling out the form and forwarding it to you. Thank you, your posts are always helpful and I always share them. Lots of great info.
    #

    Melaina

    03 November 2014
    These are great comments! If you're looking to enter the debt collection contest (on from Nov 3 - 30, 2014), please remember to leave a comment on the Facebook post to qualify to win. I'm here if you have any questions! Here's a link to the Facebook post where you should leave your comment: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionBC/photos/a.133225540081688.24955.109133022490940/746043642133205/?type=1&theater
    #

    Corinne Desgagne

    03 November 2014
    I didn't know they could contact your family and friends for information.... .really not okay with that! That somehow seems really wrong to me.....
    #

    GD

    03 November 2014
    It is good to remember not to give out any personal information over the phone to an unknown person.
    #

    Nicolas

    03 November 2014
    I learned soo much , thank you. I hope I am never in this situation.
    #

    Rayne Garnsey

    03 November 2014
    Thank you for the information about receiving calls about someone elses debt. I will fill in the form next time they call.
    #

    Kay

    03 November 2014
    I didn't know that they could phone relatives to get the debtors contact info.
    #

    Bird

    03 November 2014
    I have learned that debt collection is another person's job. I guess I never thought of it that way before. I am glad to know that a third party is licensed which means that debt collection is serious.
    #

    Donna Armstrong

    03 November 2014
    I did not know they were not allowed to call after 2100 nor before 07. I also did not know you could ask to have everything in writing and that they are meant to send a letter prior with the details.
    #

    k

    03 November 2014
    What if they call constantly isn't that harassment?
    #

    Karen Brown

    03 November 2014
    Didn't know they could contact other members of your family, makes sense though...
    #

    Melaina

    03 November 2014
    Quoting k:
    What if they call constantly isn't that harassment?

    Hi K -- Our law is silent on the specific number of times a debt collector can call. That said, we've found the best way to handle these sorts of situations is to stop ALL calls, and to request communication from the debt collector to be in writing only. Here's the form to fill out to do that: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/communication_in_writing_only%202013.pdf I hope this information was helpful!
    #

    Silvy

    03 November 2014
    I learned that debt collectors cannot call you after 9PM or before 7AM
    #

    Lauretta Stevens

    03 November 2014
    I learned that even if u were frauded ,an were in jail an can prove it . if surten det is over ten years u can not fight it
    #

    Heather Coltman

    03 November 2014
    It's especially helpful to know what to do if they are calling the wrong person. This happened to a relative.
    #

    Cheryl Goss

    03 November 2014
    I did not know that they were not allowed to call between 9pm and 7 nor did I know that you could get everything in writing as I have gotten called at midnight in the past interesting
    #

    KIMBERLY

    03 November 2014
    These points have all been very enlightening. I especially found it interesting that one could request to be contacted by mail only.
    #

    Neal miller

    03 November 2014
    Needed help years ago but had no money to pay for the b
    bankruptcy charge.
    #

    V Clifton

    04 November 2014
    Publish or threaten to publish your failure to pay (except to a credit reporting agency)
    #

    kelly

    04 November 2014
    I learned that bill collectors can call on sunday between 1pm and 5pm
    #

    SHAUN

    04 November 2014
    I learnt that you can request to be contacted in writing only !! I am the very few that are debt free (very thankful)
    #

    Caralyn

    04 November 2014
    Love the info. Its always good to know your rights! Requesting contact in writing only is something I did not know so thanks!
    #

    Jessica

    04 November 2014
    I never knew (until now) that you could stop collectors from calling! That's great news~ it's been many many years since I've had one call me but I remember even after trying to sort it out with them that I had been harassed with something I had no control over. It was awful. If I could have received silent letters, it would have been less stressful. I hope to avoid them, but if it were to happen again, I now know. Thank you!!
    #

    Eleanor

    04 November 2014
    Thank you so much I learned a lot about debt collection, I like the fact that you can fill out a form for debt collectors to only contact you by mail
    #

    Michelle

    04 November 2014
    Great info! I like the fact that collectors can't call during certain hours.
    #

    Frank Stock

    04 November 2014
    Nice to know they can not publish your debt problem except with credit reporting agencies
    #

    Geraldine Durant

    04 November 2014
    This article clearly outlines something new I learned that a debt collector can only call between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays.
    #

    Lesa

    04 November 2014
    Interesting that a request can be made for contact only through the mail! Good to know.
    #

    Melaina

    04 November 2014
    Quoting Joe:
    what if you become disabled and can't afford the high price of bankruptcy?

    Hi Joe -- that's a question that you may want to ask the bankruptcy trustee. There are some alternative debt repayment options, aside from bankruptcy -- here's a link to some information on our website that explains the differences between these options: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/component/content/article/145-debt-collection/1071-debtrepaymentoptions
    #

    Janina Kraus

    04 November 2014
    Great article... ver valuable info!
    #

    Carol Van Egmond

    04 November 2014
    I learned there are various forms one can use to stop debt collectors from phoning you
    #

    lorrie

    04 November 2014
    Good info...didn't know they can't call after 9 p.m.
    #

    Lynda

    04 November 2014
    Learned quite a bit I din't know by reading this, it was very interesting.
    #

    Sandra

    04 November 2014
    Didn't know that you could fill out a form for mail only contact. WOW!
    #

    Larry

    04 November 2014
    Cancelled a contract with Bell Express view in 2006 because over the year they could not do one month correct billing. They said we owed them after and a collection agency called. It was explained and copies were forwarded to the agency and they agreed we owed nothing and they would fix it. Six months later a different agency started to call about the same thing. We sent the repeat information and thought it was resolved again.This year 2014, another has started again. How do I get Bell to quit?
    #

    Kendra Crowell

    04 November 2014
    Thank you for this information it was really helpful, especially the contact by mail and the times they are allowed to call. Thank you.
    #

    Melani

    04 November 2014
    I didn't know that you could request 'in writing' only.

    Very informative!

    Thanks
    #

    Melaina

    04 November 2014
    Quoting Larry:
    Cancelled a contract with Bell Express view in 2006 because over the year they could not do one month correct billing. They said we owed them after and a collection agency called. It was explained and copies were forwarded to the agency and they agreed we owed nothing and they would fix it. Six months later a different agency started to call about the same thing. We sent the repeat information and thought it was resolved again.This year 2014, another has started again. How do I get Bell to quit?
    Hi Larry! Here's a form we created that you can use, called Dispute a Debt: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/debt_in_dispute_form%202013.pdf. Basically, after you fill out and send a copy of this form to the collection agency, the debt collector can no longer contact you (except for communications necessary for a legal proceeding to take place).
    #

    Joanne Dunbar

    04 November 2014
    I did not realize that collectors could contact friends neighbors etc...this would be a private matter and I would be mortified if others were involved.
    #

    Catherine Cole

    04 November 2014
    I did not know that a debt collector could call you at work
    #

    Linda

    04 November 2014
    I did not know about the hours they can phone you? Has this changed recently?
    #

    Linda

    04 November 2014
    I did not know about the hours they can phone!
    #

    Ron Friesen

    04 November 2014
    Great info. Hope I never that I never get called by a debt collector,
    #

    Bev Taylor

    04 November 2014
    Very interesting but thank God I no longer have to worry about this.
    #

    Ray

    04 November 2014
    Thanks for rhe heads up about phone calls at work
    #

    Stacy May Munson

    04 November 2014
    Thanks very much for sharing this information
    #

    Lynda

    04 November 2014
    you can request written contact only... and that they can call you at work under some circumstances.
    #

    magdalena

    05 November 2014
    Good to know that they can't exert undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure to collect a debt
    #

    Melaina

    05 November 2014
    Quoting Linda:
    I did not know about the hours they can phone you? Has this changed recently?

    Hi Linda! Interesting question. I just asked our regulatory expert, and he tells me that part of the law has been in effect since about 2002.
    #

    Norma machelle

    05 November 2014
    this is very interesting article, I learnt the ins and outs. Collections can contact you through mail only, but not through your personal phone but they can contact you at work? This doesn't make sense to me......what's the reasoning for this twist? And I also hope this isn't a scam to help collection angencies to gather personal information.
    #

    Jack

    05 November 2014
    I learned that you can tell collectors that l want my info in writing
    #

    Gary Craig

    05 November 2014
    I learned that they can't call after 9 pm or before 7 am.
    #

    Shirley

    05 November 2014
    I learned that you can request for a collection agency to contact you in writing only.
    #

    barbara barron

    05 November 2014
    I m glad to learn that you can request to be contacted by mail only.
    #

    Sharon

    05 November 2014
    I wasn't aware that a request could be made to stop the phone calls and get it in writing instead. Also that they could make only one call to the workplace.
    #

    Luxy barney

    05 November 2014
    Interesting, i found out collectors can be asked to send me a letter instead of phoning daily
    #

    Luxy barney

    05 November 2014
    Interesting info! I may ask for a letter in the mail instead of answering phone daily
    #

    Amber

    05 November 2014
    I didn't know they were not allowed to call after 9 pm. I had one company calling until 10 or 11 pm. Thank you!
    #

    Neil Anderson

    05 November 2014
    What can I do if a debt collector is calling me about someone else’s debt? Great info, we bought a different house and acquired someone Else's probs. Not even the person we bought it from. Calls at 7 in the AM, we work graveyards, after explaining many times that we had no idea who they were talking about I would hang up. One morning the collector phoned back and told me I was rude for hanging up, I promised her I was phoning the police and charging her personally for harassment. What I learned from these calls was that some companies obviously don't check people out enough that they give give card to. My rant for the day
    #

    Kuljeet

    05 November 2014
    I have learnt about the debt collection. Really imformative!
    #

    Melissa G. Dostalek

    06 November 2014
    I didn't know that there is an actual form called "Stop The Calls Because You Are Not The Debtor" that can be sent by registered mail. In the past I have sent faxes to debt collectors but have found that they are sometimes ignored.
    #

    Dennis Helset

    06 November 2014
    I had one company threaten me with jail time. So I said come and get me and they never called me (ever) since then.
    #

    Melaina

    06 November 2014
    Quoting Norma machelle:
    this is very interesting article, I learnt the ins and outs. Collections can contact you through mail only, but not through your personal phone but they can contact you at work? This doesn't make sense to me......what's the reasoning for this twist? And I also hope this isn't a scam to help collection angencies to gather personal information.


    Hi Norma -- thanks for your question! Once you've submitted the Communication in Writing Only form, the debt collector can't contact you by phone at all -- whether that's at home or at work. I hope that clears it up!
    #

    Melaina

    06 November 2014
    Quoting Neil Anderson:
    What can I do if a debt collector is calling me about someone else’s debt? Great info, we bought a different house and acquired someone Else's probs. Not even the person we bought it from. Calls at 7 in the AM, we work graveyards, after explaining many times that we had no idea who they were talking about I would hang up. One morning the collector phoned back and told me I was rude for hanging up, I promised her I was phoning the police and charging her personally for harassment. What I learned from these calls was that some companies obviously don't check people out enough that they give give card to. My rant for the day


    We have a form for that, Neil! It's called "Not the Debtor" and you can access it here: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/not_the_debtor_form%202013.pdf
    #

    chris

    06 November 2014
    interesting to know about third party licencing.
    #

    Heather Scarisbrick

    06 November 2014
    I did not know a debt collector was allowed to call you at work - period - whether to request information on you or talk to you about your debt. That was good information to know.
    #

    valerie Caldicott

    06 November 2014
    did not know I was not required to answer questions about some else's debt. Also did not know they had to be licenced and the hours they can call.
    #

    Mark

    06 November 2014
    I learned alot
    #

    Sandra

    07 November 2014
    I had no idea you had forms available on your website. Very informative and useful to everyone. Thanks!
    #

    Lynda

    07 November 2014
    There is a lot of great info on this site!
    #

    Matt

    07 November 2014
    I learned about when debt collectors can and cannot call someone.
    #

    Clair

    07 November 2014
    Life has been made simpler by having all the forms at our finger tips when confronted with an issue. Thank you.
    #

    mary ann

    07 November 2014
    I did not know that prior to a debt collector calling you must have recieved a letter ( at least 5 days prior to them calling)
    #

    Donna

    08 November 2014
    I learned to never miss a payment so that one does not have to deal with these people.
    #

    Joyce

    08 November 2014
    I was not aware that a form was available for "request for communication by letter". I think this is a great step forward. Those phone calls can be very intimidating.
    #

    Julie

    09 November 2014
    They are not allowed to threaten, or harass many times in the past I had them call and have a bad attitude right off the bat.And it wasn't me that had thee debt.
    #

    Linda Wall

    09 November 2014
    Thanks for the info...
    great to have the links for the various forms.
    #

    Wayne Bradley

    10 November 2014
    I have some friends who need to see this info....
    #

    Ramona

    11 November 2014
    Some very important info....a good read for everyone.
    #

    Diane Mckay

    11 November 2014
    I did not know they could only phone you between certain time I think they should be aware of the rules I got so despurt I cut my phone off so thank you for letting me know I was trying to pay them off every month and they would not except payments
    #

    Rachel Livingston

    11 November 2014
    I didn't know that they were actually allowed to call you at work for any reason. That's very interesting.
    #

    Carrie

    11 November 2014
    Good to know the hours they can n can't call etc
    #

    L.Gallant

    11 November 2014
    I learned that about your rights in regard to calls when you are not the person with the debt.
    #

    Sandra

    11 November 2014
    I did not know previously how to handle calls for debt that is not ours (but with the same name). I wish I had known then how to handle this.
    #

    Janice Muller

    12 November 2014
    I didn't know you could request communication in writing only.
    #

    Lauryn

    12 November 2014
    I had no idea you could mealy them so you can only receive mail from them
    #

    Tay

    12 November 2014
    I have actually had debt collectors call me regarding my neighbors debt! apparently they used my name address and tele as a contact person UGH! maybe I think I will send them this info!
    #

    Glenn Dreger

    12 November 2014
    Sometimes when you have a debt that you are unable to pay, it is good to call the creditor and explain the problem, and how you are going to deal with it.
    #

    Jeff Parker

    12 November 2014
    It's nice to find out that you can make them stop calling and communicate with me in writing. Thanks.
    #

    Eric

    12 November 2014
    Didn't know you can request for a collection agency to contact you in writing only.
    #

    ed spalding

    12 November 2014
    debt collectors keep phoning me about people with the same last name as mine all the time and I don't know the people they are calling about ...I keep telling them I don't know them but that doesn't deter them in the least I think they phone more after I tell them I don't know the people they are trying to contact
    #

    Lesley Hastings

    13 November 2014
    Debt collectors called me at work my sister used my info.and now they are after me what can I do please help me thank you
    #

    anita

    13 November 2014
    Didn't know they had to contact you by mail before the phoning
    #

    anita

    13 November 2014
    great info
    #

    sherry.

    13 November 2014
    Great article. Loved the info on what a debt collector can and cannot do. Knowledge is power!
    #

    Melaina

    14 November 2014
    Quoting Lesley Hastings:
    Debt collectors called me at work my sister used my info.and now they are after me what can I do please help me thank you

    Hi Lesley -- if they're calling about a debt that doesn't belong to you, here's a link to the correct form to fill out and send to the collection agency: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/not_the_debtor_form%202013.pdf Please let me know if there's anything else I can assist with!
    #

    Crystal Brown

    14 November 2014
    I wish they knew how much it bothers me to not be able to pay my debt. I am sick and my finances are a mess.
    #

    lelania

    14 November 2014
    great to know about contact by letter only.
    our landline gets multitude of collection calls for a whole total different family of 3; up to 3x or more a day.
    #

    Jennifer

    15 November 2014
    Very helpful information
    #

    R.K. Turner

    15 November 2014
    Its really good to know you can dispute the claim officially.
    #

    Valerie Culliton

    15 November 2014
    I did not know about the dispute debt form
    #

    Dolores Bazil

    15 November 2014
    Great website. Thank you.
    #

    Kira K

    15 November 2014
    I didn't know debt collectors could call so early or late, I thought it was between business hours...
    #

    corrie lundstrom

    17 November 2014
    thanx, very informative:-) i didn't know you actually had forms for various situations.
    #

    Julie

    17 November 2014
    Very informative.
    #

    Sharon

    17 November 2014
    Are not allowed to discuss case with strangers n problem won't ago away if not answering calls
    #

    Betty

    17 November 2014
    interesting
    #

    Stephanie

    17 November 2014
    New info I learned is :
    Debt collector must send a letter 5 days before attempting to call a customer.
    #

    Kathy Whiting

    17 November 2014
    I knew very little about the rights on both sides, so found it illuminating information.
    #

    Lara

    17 November 2014
    I didn't know debt collectors couldn't call you after 9pm.
    #

    Kiran

    18 November 2014
    Loved the article . Learned a lot about debt collection . Did not know that you can be asked to be contacted in writing only . Also that one can get details of the debt in writing.
    #

    Carmen

    18 November 2014
    Didn't know you could request contact in writing only
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    heather

    19 November 2014
    Early morning calls are the worst. Glad you can stop them altogether.
    #

    Erin

    19 November 2014
    Tried to comment for the contest. Won't let me :-(
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    Vic

    19 November 2014
    Good to know about callers that have the wrong ne but have left my phone number.
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    Melaina

    20 November 2014
    Quoting Erin:
    Tried to comment for the contest. Won't let me :-(

    Hi Erin -- here's the direct link to the contest post: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionBC/photos/a.133225540081688.24955.109133022490940/746043642133205/?type=1&theater. What's happening when you try to leave a comment? Can you send us a private message on Facebook and I'll try to help you post?
    #

    T. Lyttle

    20 November 2014
    We put up with debt collectors for 6 years. They had the wrong name, wrong address, but our phone number. None of them would delete our information and look for the debtor, too damn lazy!!
    #

    jozie

    20 November 2014
    Good info but most of its pretty common knowlage
    #

    Melani

    20 November 2014
    Very good information.

    I did not know there were certain hours that creditors can and cannot call.
    #

    Adeline

    20 November 2014
    Finding out the Collectors can only call my place of work once to obtain my contact information and then again only if failure to contact me at home was an interesting piece of information to find out. Also did not know I could stop the calls occurring either too early or too late.
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    Emily

    22 November 2014
    I knew nothing about debt before I read this, it was very helpful.
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    Kathy

    22 November 2014
    I have had many of them do this: Exert undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure to collect a debt. I didn't know they aren't supposed too!
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    Carol

    22 November 2014
    Did not know that you could request to stop the calls in writing
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    Sherry

    22 November 2014
    Finding out that if you can request the debt collectors to stop the phone calls, and comunicate in writing only, was brand new information!
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    RON BYRON

    23 November 2014
    I learned that collectors cannot 'discuss details of your debt with someone else'.
    #

    Jennifer L. Stewart

    23 November 2014
    Thank-u for information pertaining to times Debt Collectors may call you.I also find requesting written contact only quite useful if dealing with financial matters so you can better prioritize your day.
    #

    Gary Hilliard

    23 November 2014
    Everyone should read this.Amazing what these people can do without your knowledge!!
    #

    Sandy Parkin

    23 November 2014
    This site was very informative!
    #

    Betty-Anne Juba

    23 November 2014
    Learned that third-party collectors are required to be licensed in BC
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    Krissy

    23 November 2014
    a royal pain in my rump, and a few other people i know... someone using you for a credit reference without your knowledge or consent.. they when they default the harassment begins...
    i don't think you should be able to name someone as a credit reference without their informed consent.
    #

    Helen

    24 November 2014
    Learned that calls cannot be made before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
    #

    lee

    24 November 2014
    Getting calls from CVB(?)trying to collect on an imaginary Telus debt. I googled the numbers and according to other 'victims' they are a total scam. I'm averaging 12 calls a day from three numbers, all in the same office, starting a few minute after 7am and the last, around 8pm. I never answer, never will. I will be sending them a letter to only contact me via snail mail though, hopefully that works. Otherwise I'll have to change my number
    #

    Melaina

    25 November 2014
    Hi Lee -- If the collection agency is called "CBV," then I can confirm that it's a BC-licensed debt collection agency.

    If you're in doubt that the debt belongs to you, I'd suggest that you ask them to send a letter with the details of your debt (which they're legally obligated to do before the collection calls start -- if you didn't get this letter, it could be that they didn't have your mailing address).

    If after you review the details of the debt and you still don't think it belongs to you, there's another form you can fill out called "dispute the debt" (here's a link to that form: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/debt_in_dispute_form%202013.pdf).

    Let me know if you have any other questions!
    #

    charlotte

    25 November 2014
    I thought it was common sense that a debt collector couldn't use profanity in a call, good to see it is listed , I have experienced it and of course the judgement that comes with it , thank you for posting this info.
    #

    gwen kirsch

    25 November 2014
    so glad to know about consumer bc. nice to know there is someone there with great advice.
    #

    Noel Barber

    25 November 2014
    These rules, rights and obligations should be made a lot more public.
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    Linda

    26 November 2014
    I didn't know you could ask for written communication only.
    #

    Cheryl Johnson

    26 November 2014
    Always good to know your rights. Good info, Thank you.
    #

    Brenda Gough

    26 November 2014
    Debt collectors are not allowed to call before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and these are good rules! Anyone who calls too early or too late should be punished.
    #

    jacquie

    27 November 2014
    Good information
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    Laurael

    27 November 2014
    I didn't know you could request that they only communicate through the mail, thank you.
    #

    Wendy

    27 November 2014
    So many things I didn't know. Thank you.
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    Sarah

    28 November 2014
    Didn't know that you could request all the details on your debt, or never really thought to ask. Would need to ve careful who to share it with.
    #

    crystal

    29 November 2014
    Great information... i never knew any of that before
    #

    Ashley Stevens

    29 November 2014
    Wow, learned that there are hours that debt collectors are not allowed to call. Didn't know that before.
    #

    Denise Dussault

    29 November 2014
    Good to know there are rules for debt collectors and support if you find yourself in this predicament .
    #

    Tammy

    14 January 2015
    What if you ask for all the details in writing and you never get it?
    What if you pay the debt and still receive nothing in writing or a notice of satisfaction is not filed on your credit bureau?
    #

    Melaina

    14 January 2015
    Hi Tammy -- By law, debt collectors have to supply you with written details about your debt (refusing to do so would be a violation of our laws). That said, it's possible the debt collector cannot send this letter if they do not have your current mailing address -- if that's the case, you need to give the debt collector that information so they can supply the proper documents.

    For your second question, collection agencies are required to note that a debt has been paid on your credit report. If you have inaccurate information on your credit report, the first step would be to submit proof of payment to the credit reporting agencies (Equifax and TransUnion) and request they fix the error. If that doesn't work, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC oversees accuracy of information on consumers' credit reports, so you could escalate the issue with them. I hope this information was helpful!
    #

    Leah Drewcock

    28 January 2015
    Hi Tammy,
    I am a trustee in bankruptcy. I often hear from our debtors years after they are finished bankruptcy that collection agents start calling again to collect a debt that was included in their bankruptcy. We show these individuals how to rectify and errors on their credit report, but what should they do about these rogue creditors and collection agents who don't acknowledge their bankruptcy?
    #

    Melaina

    28 January 2015
    Hi Leah -- Thanks for your question. Consumers who are getting the calls can stop the communications by filling out and submitting a Debt in Dispute form (available on our website, here, http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/debt_in_dispute_form%202013.pdf). If you're the one receiving the debt collection calls on the behalf of the debtor, you would need to send the collector a letter with documentation that proves the debt has been paid/was included in the bankruptcy.

    All this said, if you (or your clients) are getting repeated calls from a debt collector even after the proper form/letter was sent, then this is something we'd want to hear about. In that case, we'd ask the debtor (or you, depending on who is getting the calls) to send us poof that the debt collector was properly notified (along with evidence showing that they received the form/letter, such as an email read receipt, a fax transmission report or a certified mail receipt).

    I hope that helps -- let me know if you have any other questions!
    #

    Melaina

    28 August 2015
    Hi Shannon -- I'm sorry to hear about this. My suggestion would be to have your parents submit a "not the debtor" form to the debt collector (available on our website here: http://bit.ly/1wJhnXH). I know this step may seem a bit redundant as you've already relayed this information verbally, but what this does is create a paper trail of evidence that you can use if the debt collector violates BC's debt collection laws going forward. Make sure the form is sent to the collection agency in a way that you can prove it was sent (such as by fax with a transmission report, an email with a read receipt or by registered mail) -- this way the collector cannot claim s/he never received it. If the debt collector continues to call your parents after they've submitted the form (give them about a week to update their records), give us a call and we'd be happy to assist further: 1-888-564-9963.

    On another note, you may also be interested to learn that you can make a request for all communications from the debt collector to be in writing only, thus stopping all calls completely. Here's a form on our website if you wanted to make that request: http://bit.ly/1KSkzCF

    I hope this information was helpful, Shannon!
    #

    shannon

    28 August 2015
    I've been getting calls say about 10-15 times daily, they've been calling my parents house nonstop too. I've called the agency last week and asked them to take my parents number off the call list, they said they did but as of as early as this afternoon they were still calling their house. no reason for it as I have updated my info with them, not to mention when she calls she is very rude, any ideas how to stop this? can I charge them with harassment for calling my parents house? any ideas greatly appreciated
    #

    Vince

    11 November 2015
    Are laws surrounding debt collection based on the province in which you incurred the debt or the province in which you currently reside? Thanks!
    #

    Shoko

    12 November 2015
    Hi Vince, a debt collection company would have to follow the law where you reside even if the debt incurred in another province. Any collector contacting someone who lives in BC, has to be licensed with us and follow the BC rules. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our Inquiry Centre at or toll free 1-888-564-9963.
    #

    J

    25 November 2015
    Im still getting collection calls, for debts that are from 2007-2010 that Im having trouble paying.. is that even legal? keep in mind though the calls have become once in a blue moon now... but up until 2 years ago I was getting like 5-6 a day
    #

    Phil Devitt

    25 November 2015
    I've been receiving calls from a debt collector for months now and their the third group to contact me about said debt. I have never received any letters from any of them, the only letter I ever received was from the bank telling me that i was late with my credit card payment. after I received the letter from the bank I went in and told them I had been laid off and they had to wait for there money till I had it to give. Now I have a letter saying if I don't pay them there going to take me to court and charge me with failing to pay and also make me pay the court fees. Every single time any of these people phoned me to tell me I owed them money, I told them all I am not working I haven't worked in going on five years I have no money and I'm trying to better myself by going to post secondary education to become a functioning member of society. I received student loans for my classes but surely they don't expect me to pay them with my school money. I am scared because I can't pay.
    #

    Shoko

    25 November 2015
    Hello J, thank you for your question. If the debt is yours, collection agencies are allowed to call you. You may request communication to be in writing only - the link to the form is located on our website here: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumers-debt-collection/how-to-make-a-complaint/forms I hope this information helps!
    #

    Shoko

    25 November 2015
    Hello Phil, it sounds like a difficult situation for you. We always encourage people to speak to their creditors about their debts. There are also debt management options which may be able to help and it’s important to understand the different business models when it comes to those options. - you may find some useful information on our debt web portal (http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/debt-portal). Another thing you may want to do is to request communication to be in writing only - the link to the form is located on our website here: http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumers-debt-collection/how-to-make-a-complaint/forms I wish you the best, Phil!
    #

    Bob

    04 December 2015
    Hi,
    The company that I work for has a collector that is after one of our employees and they've been constantly calling our receptionist non-stop.

    Unfortunately we don't have a way to block unknown numbers. It's adding to the stress level of our receptionist and I'd like to know what actions can be done to stop the collector?

    Do we need to get police involved?
    Thx
    #

    Shoko

    04 December 2015
    Hi Bob, thank you for your question. You may suggest your co-worker to request the collection company to communicate in writing only. We have a form for that on our website - http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/consumers-debt-collection/how-to-make-a-complaint/forms and it is best to keep a copy for his/her records and proof that the form has been sent (fax receipt, registered mail through Canada Post, receipt etc.).

    Also do have a look at the blog post on this page if you haven't alread - it has a lot of information that maybe helpful for him/her including when a collection agency is allowed to contact an employer.

    Please also be aware of the information on this website which speaks to some upcoming changes to the law: http://goo.gl/MI6cMi. If you have any further or specific questions, please let us know.
    #

    john rogers

    15 January 2016
    Hi. I am in the position of having an outstanding debt. in B.C.Canada, but I now live in the U.S.A. I have been making payments on this debt until recently, and because of economic difficulties for me; I have had to make some tough decisions, and stopping making these payments was one of them. I haven't had any calls from debt collectors yet, but am sure they will start soon.

    What are the rules and regulations for cross border debts? I am totally in the dark here, and hope that you can help me to know what my rights are in this somewhat unique situation.

    Thankyou
    #

    Shoko

    18 January 2016
    Hi John, thank you for contacting us regarding your question. If you currently live in the USA (NOT as a temporary resident for 6 months out of the year, for instance) then the collectors would have to follow the laws in the state you live in. You may want to contact the state attorney general to get more information. I hope you can find the information you are looking for there. I imagine that you know this but for the benefit of others, it should be noted that moving does not erase a debt and just because a person isn’t receiving collections notices, it doesn’t mean that the debt isn’t accruing.
    #

    Brenda

    16 April 2016
    Who and where are the best places to get a debt consolidation through?
    #

    Shoko

    18 April 2016
    Hi Brenda, thank you for contacting us. As we are the regulator of the debt collection and debt repayment agent industry, we are not able to make a specific recommendation on which company to contact. However we have some resources on our website on tips when you are dealing with debt repayment agents. Here there are: http://bit.ly/1U2OFMO (debt repayment info in general) and http://bit.ly/23TpyPf (your rights as a consumer related to debt repayment).

    If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Inquiry Centre, toll-free at 1-888-564-9963. I hope the information provided here points you to the right direction.
    #

    Ryan

    26 April 2016
    Hi Melaina. I have a collection agency claiming that they are collecting money that I owe to HSBC. I sent them a regestered letter asking for the type of credit/debt, all account numbers, and all relevant dates. They responded with only "HSBC finance". I sent another regestered letter saying that just saying HSBC Finance is far to vague and asked again for the same three pieces of information. They responded with the same "HSBC Finance" but none of the info I requested. I honestly don't know what this debt is and I can't get any info out of them. The worst part is they are putting this on my credit report and I didn't even know! I found out when I went to a bank for a pre-approval for a loan. What is the best way to get them to stop reporting this and even remove it from my credit? Thank you.
    #

    Greg

    26 April 2016
    I have a collection agency calling me about a debt supposedly from years ago. planning to do a payroll verification report. My bank and the financial consultant I have contacted cannot find any trace of this debt on my credit reports. Is there a suggested way to move forward on this please? I thought any outstanding debts would be reported through a credit bureau and show on my credit report
    #

    Shoko

    27 April 2016
    Hi Ryan, thank you for your question. Sounds like you have done your best to get the details of the debt from the collector – have you tried contacting HSBC directly to inquire if you have any outstanding debt with them? Also with the debt collector, although you may have been doing this with registered mail etc, you may want to send them the form to request communication in writing only. You can download the form from our website here - http://bit.ly/1NAUjV0.

    If the debt turns out to be not yours, there are steps you can take with Transunion and Equifax – the two credit reporting agencies in Canada. You can visit their website for more information on this. I know there is a lot of information here so if you need any clarification, please feel free to contact us at toll free number, 1-888-564-9963.
    #

    Shoko

    27 April 2016
    Hi Greg, you may want to contact the debt collector to see if you can get the details of the debt. There is a way to request the communication to be in writing only with a collector - you can send them the form that is available on our website here - http://bit.ly/1NAUjV0.

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at toll free number, 1-888-564-9963.
    #

    Marcia Brown

    29 April 2016
    i agree with your comment I'm not okay with it either and it should be wrong that they can call your employer. Its really nobody's business but your own.Quoting Corinne Desgagne:
    I didn't know they could contact your family and friends for information.....really not okay with that! That somehow seems really wrong to me.....
    #

    Laura

    02 May 2016
    I am getting debt collector calls for ICBC in British Columbia. I have severe disabilities. I have never had a drivers license nor be a co-signer for a vehicle. I have never owned a vehicle in my life. I explained this to the collector and 6 times they had phoned me. I'm severely hearing impaired and have had someone else talk to the collector to explain my situation. I'm on Government Assistance right now. There is no way I can make payments and I have no idea what the debt is about considering I have never had a licence and a vehicle.
    #

    Shoko

    04 May 2016
    Hi Laura, that sounds like a frustrating situation. We have two forms that may be helpful to you. One is "request communication in writing only" and the other is "dispute alleged debt". Both forms can be found on our website here - http://bit.ly/1TjwLjM Once you fill out these forms, make sure that you send them via registered mail or fax with record so you can prove that you have sent these forms.

    If you have any further difficulties with the process, please feel free to give us a call at toll free number, 1-888-564-9963 or email info(at)consume rprotectionbc.c a.
    #

    Carol

    02 June 2016
    Had a loan through HFC later HSBC well in 2007 they offered buy out paid 1263.00 things progressed, well amount was never wrote off after buy out HSBC sold to Contact Resources and they have started harassing me from 2013 on which is funny because exact year bank destroyed payment files. Since then every couple weeks till recently everyday 9 to 10 am , noon and 5:00 pm and sent a letter to take me to court which my husband signed for
    #

    Shoko

    09 June 2016
    Hi Carol, thank you for your post. You can use one of our forms to request communication in writing only. The link to the form is here - http://bit.ly/1U0OeOJ please make sure that the form is sent to the collection company with a proof of delivery. You may want to use fax or register mail for example.

    With regards to the letter notifying you that they are taking you to court, please feel free to contact us by calling 1-888-564-9963 toll free. We would like to get more information about this over the phone. Thank you, Carol.
    #

    sm

    14 July 2016
    Are collection agencies allowed to check your credit report?
    #

    Shoko

    18 July 2016
    Hi sm, yes collection agencies are allowed to check your credit report.
    #

    Melaina

    21 October 2016
    Hi Karen -- It sounds like you may be talking about the Limitation Act (which is not overseen by our office). The debt collection law we administer speaks to collector behaviour (such as when and how they're allowed to contact people who owe debts). For more information about the Limitation Act, check out this information from the government: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/about-bcs-justice-system/legislation-policy/legislation-updates/limitation-act (there are some Q&As near the bottom of the page that may be helpful). If that doesn't answer your questions, let me know and I'm happy to pass along some legal resources. I hope that helps!
    #

    Karen

    21 October 2016
    I have a question. Can a collection agency [legally] attempt to collect a debt on which the BC Statute of Limitations has expired?
    #

    Mr. Schuler

    01 December 2016
    What can you do when someone else uses enough of your information to run up a debt that gets sent to a debt collector?
    #

    Melaina

    01 December 2016
    Hello Mr. Schuler -- I may need a little bit more information. Is this a case of fraud? If so, this would likely fall under the jurisdiction of the police, although we would be able to offer assistance with getting the debt collector calls to stop and information about how to remove false information from your credit report. If it's too difficult to explain in a comment, feel free to contact our call centre at 1-888-465-9963.
    #

    Jonathan

    13 January 2017
    I have an instance where a landlord is trying to get extra money. cleaning fees, early move out etc etc. I have documentation which disproves everything they are saying. It has now been sent to a collection agency which has reported it to Equifax and trans-union. trans-union has done an investigation and has removed it. However the collection agency and Equifax have not responded to my request for an investigation and proof of their findings. My question is How do I get this to stop?
    #

    Shoko

    17 January 2017
    Hi Jonathan, thank you for your question. for credit report accuracy issues, you may want to contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC).

    For information on how to make a complaint with the OIPC, you can visit the "How do I make a Complaint?" page on their website. Here is the link - http://bit.ly/2jvWH4T I hope they can point you in the right direction!
    #

    Vince

    26 January 2017
    I’m getting calls from a collection agency on behalf of a telecommunicati on company. They say it’s the law that I have to provide them a birthdate. It’s difficult to get any information from them as they repeat that they need to verify that they have to have the correct person. I’ve only identified myself by my name. They are reluctant to provide a confirmation of the spelling of their name as they blurt it out quickly. I’ve verified that I am in good standing with a zero balance with the company and that they have not sent my name to an agency. Two questions, is it true that I have to provide my birthdate and can compel the telecommunicati ons company to clear my name by clearing it at the collections agency?
    #

    Shoko

    30 January 2017
    Hi Vince, thank you for posting your question. It sounds like the collection agency is doing their due diligence to follow the privacy act (Personal Information Protection Act) to verify that they are speaking to the right person. If you have have concerns about the privacy issue, you may want to contact the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner (OIPC). I hope this information helps, Vince.
    #

    Buddy

    20 February 2017
    Hi. I have a credit card debt that has gone to 3rd party collections. i havent heard from them in a while and havent had anything mailed to me.im finally about to be caught up on my bills thx to a disastrous Alberta economy.i moved to bc.finally steady income and this weekend 1000 dollars was taken from my account without notice.this was money for my car payment and for my child.what are my rights.my scotiabank says they cant do anything.im pretty sure they need to give a notice of some sort.i have no money and need help.thx
    #

    Shoko

    22 February 2017
    Hi Buddy, thank you for your comment. I would need to have a bit more information about your situation so can you please contact our Inquiry Centre? Our toll-free number is 1-888-564-9963 or alternatively, you can contact us by email, . Thank you!
    #

    Deb

    31 March 2017
    I'm confused. My daughter just had a collection agency (Gateway) call (this would be their initial call that they contacted her) and they told her she owed the debt in full. It was a BMO credit card that she missed paying on... BMO says it's been referred to credit agency but she needs to pay BMO. Credit agency says it's been referred to them but she needs to pay BMO. This doesn't make sense to me. First, can collection agency demand payment in full without any paperwork? Secondly, who is she supposed to be "paying" and communicating with? She is in no condition to pay in full but stated she could pay $250. /month.
    #

    Amanda

    31 March 2017
    Hi Deb, thank you for your question. It is my understanding that generally you would arrange the payment process with the debt collector if your debt has gone to collection. However I’m not completely sure as our law that we oversee does not speak to how payments are arranged. Having said that, If both BMO and the collection agency are saying to pay BMO, then it might be your best bet to contact BMO again and get clarification on the process and organize a monthly or bi-weekly payment plan. I hope this information is helpful, and if I’ve misunderstood please let me know!
    #

    Amanda

    24 April 2017
    Hi Money Talks, thank you for your question. Our law does not speak to payment arrangements with debt collectors, however, if you would prefer to receive communication in writing only from the collectors you can use this form to request that: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/images/content/inquiries/communication_in_writing_only%202013.pdf.

    Something you may be interested in doing is to seek a second opinion on payment options from a trustworthy financial institution. It may be helpful to get some additional advice to see if there are any other options for you. I hope this information is helpful to you!
    #

    Money Talks

    25 April 2017
    I have been dealing with a debt collection agency, paying them a set amount each month, agreed upon with the agent I was dealing with. Now that agent has left the company, a new agent called me, telling me the past six months of payments were accepted as part of a waiting period for me to get funds in place to make a lump sum of X amount to clear the debt. Now that time is up. I explained that last conversation I had with the agent was about how much per month I was going to be paying and that was it. He said that was not what was in the file. I explained I am in no position to do anything other than the monthly payments at this point as I am on medical leave from work. He told me I had 48 hours to make arrangements to come up with X amount to clear the debt. So I better find a place to get a loan from, because a bank won't touch you. Or family or friends. Can they do that? Ask for a lump sum when you're making payments?
    #

    Kelly

    02 August 2017
    I have CBV calling at 9:23pm. I know they are in BC and I am in Alberta, but they are calling an Alberta phone number in Alberta. Do they not have to take the time change in effect. I was already sleeping and what a great way to be woken up.
    #

    Amanda

    02 August 2017
    Hi Kelly, thank you for your comment. It's my understanding that the laws for collecting debt in Alberta would apply here. I might suggest you contact Service Alberta for clarification for what the laws are in the province regarding debt collections calls. Here is their contact information: https://www.servicealberta.ca/contact.cfm. Even if CBV is located in BC, they would have to follow the consumer protection laws for Alberta consumers. I hope this helps and best of luck!

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