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Supreme Court confirms that auto-dialers are off limits once you ask for collection calls to stop

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MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release

{June 28, 2017} VICTORIA, BC – The Supreme Court of British Columbia has confirmed Consumer Protection BC’s finding that CBV Collection Services Ltd. (CBV), a national debt collection agency, broke the province’s consumer protection law.  

After the release of Consumer Protection BC’s decision in 2015, CBV disagreed with the interpretation of the law and applied for a Judicial Review of the decision. The Supreme Court of British Columbia judgment, published on June 21, 2017, confirms Consumer Protection BC’s position that the company must stop attempting to contact debtors after the person has requested that communication be in writing only.

“This decision impacts tens of thousands of British Columbians,” says Tayt Winnitoy, Executive Vice President for Consumer Protection BC. “Our interpretation of the law has been tested. It’s simple - if a debtor requests communication in writing only, they are well within their right to do so. Collectors can’t keep trying to reach them by phone; this includes the use of auto-dialers.”

A copy of the court’s full judgment is available on the Supreme Court of BC website. CBV has the right to file an appeal with the BC Court of Appeal within 30 days of the decision.

“This decision also sends a strong message to the rest of the debt collection sector,” says Winnitoy. “The industry needs to recognize and respect the laws about communicating with debtors. We now have confirmation from the courts and if a collector is engaged in that business practice, it must change.”

The law gives all Consumer Protection BC-regulated businesses the opportunity to request a reconsideration if they disagree with a decision. “Fairness and due process are an essential part of our operations, and because of that we are confident in our process and our understanding of the laws we oversee,” says Winnitoy.

For more information about Consumer Protection BC’s reconsideration process, please click here.

There is a lot to know about debt collection in BC. A backgrounder on debt collection and other information for businesses and the public are available at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.

About Consumer Protection BC:
Consumer Protection BC is the regulator of a variety of sectors and specific consumer transactions in the province. Our mandate is to license and inspect our regulated businesses, respond to consumer inquiries, investigate alleged violations of consumer protection laws, classify all general release motion pictures and provide information so consumers can self-assess the fairness of a transaction. Our vision is a province where all citizens of BC are empowered in their transactions as a result of rigorous and consistent business compliance and through the provision of solution-based information. For more information about our organization and to read our recent enforcement actions, please visit our corporate website at 
www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. To learn more about our inspections and complaint-handling processes, please refer to this backgrounder. You can also follow us on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips and resources.

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