How Many Payments Can I Miss Before Debt Collectors Come Calling?

2018-03-14   minute read

Consumer Proposal


Your credit cards are adding up. Add to that several other loans and lines of credit, and the complex juggling act of making your minimum payments can seem like a full-time job. Your finances are taking on a life of their own and you hate the animal they've become.

Some months, you might find that after taking care of the mortgage, paying utilities, food and transportation costs, there isn't enough left over to make all your required debt payments. You're growing increasingly worried about what will happen if you start consistently missing payments, or worse, if you reach a point where you can't make those payments at all. 

Person talking on a cellphone looking at spreadsheets on their laptop

A Rolling Stone Builds Momentum

The biggest problem with missing required monthly debt payments is they can turn a somewhat manageable situation into one that is nearly impossible to overcome.

Creditors will usually seem compassionate at first. They'll attempt to work with you to make payment arrangements and may suggest options such as pre-authorized debits to avoid missing deadlines. But after repeating the process several times, they will often resort to extreme measures to persuade you to become current on your debts. In severe cases, they may even double your monthly minimum payment following each one that is missed — until, eventually, it is equal to the total outstanding balance.

After as little as three months (though this fluctuates based on the creditor, their policies and your previous history with them), they will hand your account over to a collection agency. The sole purpose of these businesses is to wear you down with incessant phone calls and letters until you satisfy their demands. They'll call you at home, at work and on your mobile phone. They've even been known to contact employers and relatives in an attempt to embarrass debtors and disrupt their lives.

Further Escalation

Even if you manage to tolerate the barrage of calls and letters from the collection agency, the situation could get worse: failure to respond to the request for payment may ultimately result in court action against you for the debt owed. If the court finds in favour of the creditor and judgment is awarded against you, the punishment can be severe — including having the legal costs of the creditor and additional penalties added to the amount you owe. It might potentially even result in a wage garnishment.

What to Do

The process illustrated above describes the worst-case scenario of what could happen if you continually miss payments on your debts and ignore the situation. The good news is that there are federally legislated processes intended to help you before your situation spirals that far out of control. Even better news is any one of these processes can be commenced at any time — from when you first start missing payments to after court judgements are made against you.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee offers both Consumer Proposal and personal bankruptcy options that immediately cease all collections actions against you and help you work toward a financial fresh start. During a Free Confidential Consultation, they will review your financial history with you, explain your options and help you decide whether a Life-Changing Debt Solution is your best path forward. You don't have to struggle alone, and you don't have to wait until you feel backed into a corner. Your debt-free future is just a phone call away.

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