Top 5 Tips For Dealing With Debt Collectors

2015-02-27   minute read

David Gowling

Debt Solutions

The phone won’t stop ringing. You’re afraid to answer the phone because you’re pretty sure it’s a collection agent.  The calls are now even going to your neighbours, family members and work. The amount of stress this can cause may affect your work, your family, your health. Here are the 5 top tips for dealing with debt collectors to take back control and be pro-active rather than reactive in dealing with your debt.

Person talking on a cellphone looking at spreadsheets on their laptop
  1. Answer the phone. Debt collectors are limited in how many times a day they can contact you.  If you don’t answer the phone or they get voice mail, it doesn’t count, so they’ll keep calling. You can let them know they can deal with you, only you and that you do not give them permission to contact your workplace.
  2. Treat the caller with same level of respect you want from them. It is better to take the high road.  If both sides treat each other with respect then there is a greater chance a payment arrangement can be made.
  3. Make a commitment to make payments you can afford. Offer to make monthly payments if you cannot afford payment of the full amount.  Request the confirmation of the arrangement from the collector. Once you make that commitment, avoid NSF payments or you’ll be going right back to the beginning.
  4. Never pay cash. You need a paper trail to show that you paid the right person.  Once a debt collector is involved, you can only deal with them. If you try to pay the original creditor it will only cause confusion and more phone calls.
  5. Know your rights. It may not seem like it but there are rules that govern how debt collectors must act. They will need to be licensed by the provincial government. General information on collection agents can be found from Industry Canada under the Office of Consumer Affairs.

We hear many stories where debt collectors are very aggressive and seem unwilling to work with you. If that’s the case, you should contact one of our Trustees. We can meet with you and discuss all your options in dealing with your debt at no cost to you. There are many times where we provide people with guidance on how to deal with the debt problems without taking the step of a consumer proposal or bankruptcy. But knowing your options and how to take the next steps puts you back in control of not only your debt but your life.

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