How to deal with collection agencies in Sarnia

by Joel Sandwith on November 1, 2010

This is a hot topic in our offices these days – how to deal with collection agencies when you are dealing with debt.

First, let me say that many collection agencies operate in an ethical way, following the law, and simply trying to collect money that is owed to someone.  If you are getting calls from collection agencies, you likely owe someone money, and will need to deal with that situation.

But, what if the collection agency is behaving badly, treating you poorly, or harrasing you?  In my years as a credit counsellor, and now working in a bankruptcy and consumer proposal firm, I have heard many stories about collection efforts.

Several years ago I had a client who had student debt – she had completed school, but then children, separation and other factors forced her into a lower paying job, and she struggled with paying the student loans.  A collection agency called her every day, ten or more times, telling her they were going to have her arrested for the debts!  This is unethical and unfair, you cannot be arrested for inability to pay student loans.

I’ve also heard stories from immigrants who have been told they will be deported if they do not pay their credit cards (you cannot be deported for credit card debt).  I have heard of single parents being told they were bad mothers or fathers due to unpaid debt, I have had seniors tell me that they have been told that their grandchildren will need to pay the debts if they die!  These are all untrue, and unacceptable.

We are even aware of a lawyer here in Ontario who is under investigation for sending out fake letters threatening lawsuits to try and convince people to pay!  While it is legal to threaten to sue, it is not legal to send fake Court documents, which is what has been happening.

So, how do you fight against this?  Well, if you have the money, and agree you owe it, then pay it.  Simple right?  Of course not everyone can afford to pay the debt, and if you could, you would have already.

If you are dealing with collections, you need a plan.  If you try and negotiate with the collection agency, just keep in mind that the agency is likely getting a commision on whatever they collect from you – they may not be satisfied with a small payment each month.

A better way to deal with collections is to look into your legal options to deal with debt.  Filing a consumer proposal or a personal bankruptcy stops the collection calls, and can help you to become debt free once and for all. 

So, pick up the phone, not to take a call from a collector, but to call us, at Hoyes Michalos.  We can help you to determine if a consumer proposal or a personal bankruptcy is right for you.  We can be reached toll free at 310-PLAN (7526) – no area code required, or locally in Sarnia at 519-344-1058.  Let’s get started, and build a plan.

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