Of course, the best way to avoid these bill collectors is to pay your bills on time. But if you find yourself in a situation where a bill collector is seeking payment, it is important to know you have certain rights when a bill collector comes knocking at your door. It is against the law for a collection agency to:
- phone or visit before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- phone or visit on a Sunday or a statutory holiday
- deliberately mislead you with a paper that looks like a legal document or a court form
- harass you or your family
- threaten to repossess goods without having the proper authority to do so
- remove any goods unless you or an adult having possession and use of the merchandise is present at the time and is aware of the removal, except with court authority
- harass neighbours or friends to locate the whereabouts of you and your family
- seize or attempt to seize any item other than what they are authorized to seize
- phone or telegram collect
A collector must give you his or her name, his or her company's name and the name of the business or person who is requesting money and the balance owing, and may not request more than what is owed. Service fees for collection agents cannot be added to the sum owing unless the law provides for it.
If you decide to make a payment to the collector, ask for a signed receipt. The receipt should be dated and include the name of the business or person requesting payment and the amount paid.