Victoria Financial information: Prohibited Collection Practices
In May of 2001, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Consumer Affairs harmonized a common list of prohibited collection practices, since collection agencies often do business in multiple jurisdictions.
No collection agency shall communicate or attempt to communicate with the debtor, any member of the debtor's family or household, any relative, neighbour, friend or acquaintance of the debtor, or the debtor's employer, by any means, in such a manner or with such frequency as to constitute harassment, including:
- the use of threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language;
- the use of undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure;
- threatening to publish or publishing a debtor's failure to pay.
Except for the sole purpose of locating the debtor's address or telephone number, no collection agency shall contact or attempt to contact any member of the debtor's family or household, or any relative, neighbour, friend or acquaintance of the debtor unless:
- the person contacted has guaranteed to pay the debt and is being contacted in respect of that guarantee; or
- the debtor has requested the collection agency to discuss the debt with that person
A collection agency may contact a debtor's employer on one occasion only and then only for the purpose of confirming the debtor's employment, business title and business address, unless otherwise authorized in writing by the debtor.
A collection agency may not contact a debtor at the debtor's place of employment unless,
- the collection agency does not have the home address or phone number for the debtor, in which case verbal contact at the debtor's place of employment, for the sole purpose of requesting the debtor's home phone number or address, is permitted.
- attempts by the collection agency to contact the debtor at their home phone number have not resulted in contact with the debtor, in which case a single verbal attempt to contact the debtor at their place of employment is permitted.
A collection agency may contact the debtor at the debtor's place of employment with authorization from the debtor to do so.
Except on the request of the person being contacted, no collection agency shall make a telephone call or personal call to the debtor, any member of the debtor's family or household, any relative, neighbour, friend or acquaintance of the debtor, or the debtor's employer or surety:
- on a Sunday Footnote 2, other than between the hours of 1 PM and 5 PM Footnote 1;
- on a statutory holiday; or
- on any other day except between the hours of 7 AM and 9 PM, local time for the person being contacted. Footnote 1
No collection agency shall communicate or attempt to communicate with a person for the purpose of collecting, negotiating or demanding payment of a debt by a means that enables the charges or costs of the communication to be payable by that person.
No collection agency shall directly or indirectly threaten or state an intention to proceed with any legal action: for which the collection agency does not have the written authority of the creditor; or for which there is no lawful authority.
No collection agency shall:
- give, directly or indirectly, by implication or otherwise, any false or misleading information;
- misrepresent the purpose of a communication with any person, or the identity of the collection agency and creditor.
No collection agency shall:
- attempt to collect payment of a debt from a debtor until the debtor has been notified by means of a private written communication (or a reasonable efforts to notify) with the name of the creditor, the balance owing, and the identity and authority of the person making the demand for collection of the debt;
- communicate or attempt to communicate with a debtor, by any means, without indicating the name of the credito, the balance owing on the account, and the collection agency's registered name and its authority to make the demand;
- commence or continue an action for the recovery of a debt in the name of the collection agency as plaintiff unless such debt has been assigned to the collection agency in good faith by written instrument indicating such assignment has been given to the debtor;
- commence a legal proceeding where there has been an assignment with respect to the collection of a debt, unless the collection agency first gives notice to the debtor that the collection agency intends to commence or recommend that legal proceeding.
A collection agency may not initiate any verbal contact with a debtor until 5 days after the written communication has been sent to the debtor.
Notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary between a debtor and a creditor, any charges made or incurred by a collection agency or by a creditor in employing a collection agency shall not to be a part of the amount owing by the debtor and shall not be recoverable.
Any waiver or release given of the rights, benefits or protection provided pursuant to the Act or regulations is void.
No collection agency shall:
- collect or attempt to collect money from a person who is not liable for the debt; or
- where the person has informed the collection agency that the person is not the debtor, continue to communicate with that person unless the collection agency first takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that the person is in fact the debtor (MI>no bugging the relatives).
No collection agency shall continue to communicate with a debtor:
- other than in writing, when the debtor has notified the collection agency in writing to communicate in writing only, and has provided an address at which the debtor may be contacted (helpful if English is not a first language);
- other than through the debtor's legal advisor when the debtor has notified the collection agency in writing to communicate only with the debtor's legal advisor and has provided an address for the legal advisor; or
- where the debtor has notified the creditor & collection agency by registered mail that the debt is in dispute, and that they will take the matter to court.
No collection agency shall use, without lawful authority, any summons, notice, demand, or other document that suggests or implies a connection with any court within or outside of Canada.Preference for no contact on another day of worship specified by the debtor is left to the discretion of individual jurisdictions.