Are you interested in learning more about the rules surrounding communication with an agency? You may be interested in the following information.

A collection agent must contact you in writing before phoning you.

Written notice

A collection agent must send you a written notice, called a “Notice of Payment.” You can view an example of a Notice of Payment (in French only).

Contacting you by telephone

The collection agent may phone you 5 days after sending the written notice. He or she is not allowed to do so before then.

When making the call, the agent must:

  • provide his or her identity and that of the collection agency he or she is representing;
  • provide the collection agency’s permit number;
  • indicate the amount owing and the name of the creditor, that is, the name of the person who claims you owe him or her money.

If you are not the person who owes this money, tell the agent. He or she will not be allowed to contact you again.

If you want the agent to only communicate with your legal advisor, notify the agent of that fact in writing. He or she is required to comply with your request.

If you are contesting the amount claimed and would like the creditor to ask the courts to rule on the matter, notify the collection agent of that fact in writing. The agent will not be allowed to contact you again.

Notice not received

What if you did not receive the notice the collection agent claims to have sent you? Tell the agent you did not receive the notice and give him or her your address. The agent will have to send you a new notice, and then wait 5 days after sending it to phone you.

Pre-recorded messages

A pre-recorded message may only indicate:

  • the name of the person you must contact;
  • the telephone number to call back.

The message may not indicate:

  • that it is about a debt collection;
  • the fact that the person to whom the call is placed is in debt.

This rule aims to maintain the confidentiality of the process. Any person other than you who listens to the message will not be informed that a collection agency is trying to contact you.

The name of the collection agency may be mentioned in the message, but may not suggest in any way that it is a collection agency. For example, you may not be asked to call the ABC collection agency. However, you may be asked to call ABC.

A collection agent is required to provide you with certain documents when you ask for them in writing.

Information about the debt

You are entitled to ask the collection agent to provide you with information about the debt, namely the amount the agent claims you owe. The agent is required to reply to your request in writing within 10 days after receiving it.

The following information must be provided to you:

  • the name of the creditor (business or financial institution to whom you owe money, for example);
  • the total amount owing;
  • the date and amount of each instalment;
    • since receiving the Notice of Payment, if the agent is providing you with information on your file for the 1st time, or
    • since the last time the agent provided you with information on your file;
  • the balance of the debt;
  • the name of the collection agency;
  • the date on which the agent provides you with this information.

No fees may be charged for this document.

Proof of the debt

You may request supporting documents in connection with the sum of money the agent claims you owe, such as invoices or statements of account.

The agent is required to reply to your request, at no charge, within 30 days after receiving it.

Is a collection agent contacting you at work? The agent may contact you, or the person who acts as guarantor, only one time. The person who acts as guarantor has agreed to pay in your place if you fail to do so.

Conditions to contact you at work

Collection agents are allowed to contact you at work in either of the following situations:

  • they do not have your personal address or telephone number; or
  • they have unsuccessfully attempted to contact you by telephone at home or were unable to contact the person who acts as guarantor.

If you have granted your authorization to be contacted at work, the agent is not limited to a single call.

Collection agents are not allowed to contact people around you: your spouse, partner, relatives, friends, acquaintances or neighbours.

This rule does not apply in 2 situations:

  • a person acts as your debt’ s guarantor, i.e. that person has agreed to pay the debt in your place if you fail to do so;
  • the agent does not have your address or telephone number. The agent may then communicate only once with one of these people in order to obtain your contact information. The agent may also do so if he or she has tried to call you at home but was unable to reach you.

Collection agents may not contact you any time they wish. The law specifies when they may do so.

Times and days when you may be contacted

Collection agents may speak to you between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday, inclusive. They are not allowed to contact you on a statutory holiday, namely:

  • Sundays;
  • January 1;
  • Good Friday;
  • Easter Monday;
  • Fête nationale (June 24);
  • Canada Day (July 1, or July 2 when the 1st falls on a Sunday);
  • Labour Day (the 1st Monday in September);
  • Thanksgiving (the 2nd Monday in October);
  • Christmas (December 25);
  • Victoria Day (the Monday that precedes May 25).

Has a collection agent contacted you, but you are not the person who owes the sum of money being claimed? The agent may have confused you with another person with the same name.

Right from the 1st contact, let the agent know he or she has made a mistake. The agent will not be allowed to contact you again. If he or she does, you may file a complaint with the Office de la protection du consommateur. The page titled Contact Us lists our contact information.

Complaints

If a collection agent fails to abide by these rules when contacting you, you may file a complaint with the Office de la protection du consommateur. The page titled Contact Us lists our contact information.

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