If you, or someone close to you, is being contacted by a collection agency it is important to know your rights and the rules they must follow. Equally important is knowing what to do if you believe your rights are being abused.

Did you know that Collection Agencies have to follow certain rules in Newfoundland and Labrador?

In NL, there is the Collections Act  which is legislation that Collection Agencies must follow.

Paragraph 12, of the Collections Regulations  under the Collections Act, copied below, provides a Code of Practice.

Code of Practice

12. (1) In accordance with the following Code of Practice, a collection agency or collector shall not, in an attempt to make collections,

(a) where the debtor is an employee, contact the debtor by telephone, mail or in person at the debtor’s place of employment;

(b) contact the employer of the debtor without the debtor’s consent;

(c) contact the debtor between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. ;

(d) threaten to proceed with an action for which he or she does not have authority;

(e) use coercive language, threaten loss of employment or loss of community ranking;

(f) communicate in any manner with a debtor unless he or she has previously sent him or her a written notice;

(g) make telephone calls or personal calls or written communications of a nature or frequency as to constitute harassment of the debtor, his or her spouse or a member of his or her family; or

(h) except to obtain the debtor’s address, communicate with acquaintances, friends, relatives or neighbours of the debtor, unless that person is surety for the debtor.

(2) A collection agency, collector, person or firm acting on behalf of a collection agency when contacting a debtor by telephone shall immediately upon contacting the debtor identify itself as a collection agency and shall in no way use a device, comment or statement to infer otherwise.

If you feel as though a Collection Agency is doing one of the actions listed above, Service NL has a FAQ page that says “If you feel you are being harassed by a collection agency you should ask to speak to the collector’s supervisor and voice your concern. If the harassment continues contact us at (709) 729-2600 or Toll Free 1-(877) 968-2600.”

The Government of Canada also provides information about Collections Agencies  for each province.