When a Creditor is Collecting a Debt
Creditors may contact you directly about a debt you owe them. For example, your credit card company may call you to remind you that you have not been making the minimum payments necessary to keep your account from defaulting. Generally, federal consumer protection laws regarding fair debt collection do not apply in these situations, but the creditors are still required to comply with The Ministry of Consumer Relations.
The Law prohibits creditors (and their agents) from:
- communicating the nature of your debt to your employer prior to obtaining a judgment against you;
- threatening to take an action that it can not or would not normally undertake;
- threatening to collect a fee over and above the debt that you owe;
- communicating with you in a manner which simulates a judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized or issued by a governmental entity; and
- contacting you or a family member with such frequency or at such unusual hours as can be reasonably considered abusing or harassing you.
Harassing or Abusive Tactics
Debt collection agencies are prohibited from engaging in the following harassing or abusive practices:
- using or threatening to use violence or criminal means to harm you;
- using obscene or profane language;
- advertising your debt for sale;
- telephoning you repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy or harass; or
- placing telephone calls without meaningful disclosures of their identity.
False or Misleading Representations: Debt collection agencies are prohibited from:
- making false representations that they are government representatives;
- making false representations that they will seize, garnish or sell any property or wages unless such action is lawful;
- making false representations that you have committed a crime or that you will be arrested or imprisoned;
- making false representations that papers resembling official documents are from a court or governmental agency, when they are not;
- making false representations about the amount of the debt;
- making false representations that the debt collector is employed by a credit bureau;
- making false representations that they are attorneys or that there is the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt;
- making threats to communicate false credit information with any other person; or
- using a false business name.
Other Prohibited Practices: Debt collection agencies are prohibited from:
- collecting an amount greater than what you owe;
- depositing a post-dated check prior to the date on the check;
- contacting you by postcard;
- threatening to take possession of your property through non-judicial action, when there is no right to do so.