Les agences de recouvrement : démêler le vrai du fauxFebruary 4, 2016

Collection Agencies: Separating Fact from Fiction

Being in debt can be a difficult situation to manage. When a person incurs late payments or ceases to service his debts, his financial institution may engage a collection agency to recover the amounts due. In that case, what is important to know is that, even if you have debts, you also have rights. Here is what a collection agency can and cannot do as well as some advice on how to extricate yourself from your indebtedness.

What You Should Expect from a Collection Agency

A collection agency can contact your acquaintances or your employer to ask for your contact information, if it does not have it. However, it cannot communicate with them repeatedly. It can contact them only once. It can also call your work, but, again, only once.

A collection agency must always identify itself when attempting to contact you by phone. It must establish contact for the first time in writing – never by phone. Moreover, it can attempt to contact you only from Monday to Saturday between 8 am and 8 pm. It can neither disclose your financial difficulties to your family, your employer, or your friends nor give them a message asking that you return the call.

It cannot claim an amount greater than the amount actually owed, nor have you believe that failure to pay makes you liable to prosecution or police arrest. It cannot send you written communications that might be confused with court, municipal, or government documents.

Most importantly, the agency cannot in any way make use of threats, intimidation, or harassment. The important thing is to treat you with respect even if you have owed money for some time.

Enforcing Legal Agreements and Obligations

To ensure that relations remain respectful and fair, financial institutions have certain obligations towards their clients. These are codified and regulated by a body of laws in effect in the country. All financial institutions must offer, among other things, a certain standard of quality of financial services and advise their customers to the best of their ability in relation to their financial needs. In return, customers of financial institutions have reciprocal obligations. By not complying with the agreements, the offending party may be subject to sanctions. So, when a customer refuses to make payments, he opens himself to having to interact with a collection agency.

How to Prevail

The solution is to honour your commitments and pay your debts. However, if you are at the point of having to deal with a collection agency's calls, take a deep breath and try to negotiate an agreement. While agencies can sometimes seem intimidating, they are there to recover money owed and, consequently, are open to negotiation.

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