Debt Collection

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What is a Collector?

In British Columbia (BC) there are two types of collectors – 1st party collectors and 3rd party collectors. 1st party collector is trying to collect their own debt. An example of this would be a store that is owed money and they contact the debtor directly asking for payment. Although they do not have to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC, laws regarding collection practices still apply.

3rd party collectors are debt collection agencies that have been hired by a creditor to collect a debt for them. They also have to follow the law and must be licensed by Consumer Protection BC if they are collecting debts from debtors located in British Columbia.

If you live in BC and are being contacted about a debt, the collector must follow BC law no matter where they are located.

What Are Prohibited Collection Practices?

The law is meant to ensure that debt collectors treat collectors in a fair manner and there are certain practices that a debt collector must not do:

Debt Collectors Are Not Allowed To:

  • communicate with or try to collect money from you if you have notified both the collection agency and creditor that you dispute the debt
  • communicate with or try to collect money from you if you have notified the collection agency that you are being contacted about a debt owed by somebody else.
  • collect or try to collect more money than you owe;
  • try to collect without a proper license;
  • phone you collect or ask that you send the money in a method that includes charges to you, i.e. wire transfers, etc;
  • talk to your employer except under certain circumstances such as to confirm your employment, personal contact information or if they have been unable to contact you at home;
  • give you a document that appears to be an official court document when it isn't.

For more information on your rights around debt collection please view our debt collection legislation and read our frequently asked questions or visit our debt collections complaints page. If you have any further questions you can call our inquiry centre at 1 888 564 9963.