You would like to know your obligations regarding communications with a debtor or his or her relatives? The following information may be of interest to you.
You must communicate with a debtor in writing before phoning him or her.
The 1st time you communicate with a debtor, you must do so by sending him or her a written notice, in paper format. This notice is called a "Notice of Payment." It must comply with Form N-41 of the Regulation respecting the application of the Act respecting the collection of certain debts.
You may phone the debtor 5 days after sending the written notice. You are not allowed to do so before then.
When making the call, if you are speaking with the debtor, you must:
- provide your identity and that of the collection agency you are representing;
- provide the collection agency's permit number;
- mention the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor.
If you cannot speak with the debtor directly, you may leave a message with the person who takes the call. Your message must indicate the name and telephone number of the person the debtor must contact.
You may not mention:
- that the debtor is in debt;
- that the call is about debt collection.
Notice not received
If the debtor informs you that he or she has not received the written notice, you must send another one. You may communicate with this person 5 days after sending the new notice.
After the 1st communication
The law prohibits you from:
- communicating with a person who indicated to you, during the 1st contact, that he or she was not the debtor;
- communicating directly with a debtor who has notified you in writing to communicate with his or her attorney.
You must follow certain rules when communicating with a debtor or people around him or her.
Contacting a debtor at work
You may contact a debtor or the person who acts as guarantor only one time when he or she is at work. The purpose of the communication must be to obtain the debtor's personal address or telephone number.
You may only establish such communication under the following circumstances:
- You do not have the debtor's personal address or telephone number.
- You have unsuccessfully attempted to contact the debtor or the person who acts as guarantor at home.
If the debtor has granted authorization to be contacted at work, you are not limited to a single communication.
Communicating with a debtor's family member, friend, acquaintances, etc.
You are not allowed to contact a debtor's spouse, civil union spouse, family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbours other than under the following circumstances:
- You do not have the debtor's address or telephone number. In that case, you may only communicate one time with such an individual.
- One of these individuals acts as the debt's guarantor.
Situations in which communications must be in writing
A debtor may send you a written notice requesting that you only communicate with him or her in writing. Such a notice is valid for 3 months and may be renewed if the debtor sends you a new notice.
In addition, you may not communicate verbally with the debtor if he or she has notified you in writing that the debt is being contested and that the creditor must take the case to court.
Information to be provided to the debtor
After a receiving a written request from the debtor to that effect, you must provide him or her with the following information in writing and free of charge:
- the date on which the account is rendered;
- the name of the creditor;
- the initial amount of the debt to be collected;
- the date and the amount of each payment of the debt made since the notice of payment was given, for a first rendering of account or, where applicable, since the last rendering of account;
- the balance of the debt;
- the name of the collection agent's permit holder.
You are required to comply with the debtor's request within 10 days after receiving it.
If the debtor sends a written request to that effect, you must also provide him or her, free of charge, with a copy of the voucher for the debt (e.g. invoices or statements of account). You are required to comply with the debtor's request within 30 days after receiving it.
A pre-recorded message must indicate:
- the name of the person the debtor must contact;
- the telephone number to call back.
You may provide an abbreviated or shortened version of the collection agency's name, but without suggesting that it is a collection agency. For example, you may ask to be called back at "ABC," but you cannot ask to be called back at the "ABC collection agency."
The message must not indicate that the purpose of the call is to collect a debt or that the person contacted is in debt, as someone other than the debtor could listen to the message.
The times when you may contact a debtor are limited.
You may contact a debtor between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Outside these hours, you are violating the law.
You may not contact a debtor on statutory holidays, namely:
- 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).
Saturday is not considered a statutory holiday.