"Statue of limitation" for Debt in Ontario. A collection story.
They called her and DEMANDED PAYMENT on the spot , which is illegal see point 1 on my explanation , and they called hew friend and family totally ignoring the law again p2 , they refused to identify themselves and talked at human level with her trying to intimidate her and if possible cheat their way into getting her money p3 , never stopped calling her even after her begging to be sued and clearly refusing to acknowledge the debt p4.
After digging some more and talking with a friendly paralegal another info surfaced , the debt was older than 2 years so according to the laws in Ontario it was no longer legal for collectors to pursue it unless she admitted the debt in writing p5.
Here is the empowering guide to deal with Collections and I want to stress it that if you have a debt and you can "PAY IT IN FULL" :
1. First contact from Collection Agency should be about establishing your identity and confirming your mailing address. They are bound BY LAW to send a letter with full explanation of the debt , legal owner, and proof that your name is on that account.
2. They can call you Employer or family and friend with the sole purpose of finding your address and phone number. They should not give any details or discuss your financial situation to anybody except you.
3. They have to identify themselves by providing a ONTARIO issued collector number proving that they are allowed to collect in this province. They have to use a professional language and tone and not provide false information. The most common lie is: "if you pay now your credit history will remain the same" This is a lie because they already made a Credit Bureau inquest and left a note regarding the collection which will be completed or not at their will with another note stating that the debt was settled.
4. If you think the whole thing is an error ( in full or partially) or then ask them to stop calling and take you to court in writing and with registered mail. Is the Small claims court ( no lawyer) for up to 10k or superior court if more and in this case you will need a lawyer.
5. SOL. Statue Of Limitation , if the debt is older than 2 years in the province of Ontario it is protected by the SOL. This info apply to debts which discovery is newer than January 1 2004. Debt discovery is the approximate date in time when debtor realised that the debtor will not pay it back the money and usually is the last account activity on that debt , last time you actually paid anything against that account.
i.e. If your last payment was Feb 2004 then starting with March 2006 the debtor can not take you to court anymore regarding that debt nor change the dates in the account.
The collection agency refused to acknowledge that this law even existed but that is part of their unlawful behaviour. I assume that not all Collection Agencies are like that but this was my friends experience.
There is a particular provision in the law that says if the debtor acknowledges the debt in writing or by making any payments toward the debt the SOL in reset ed and it will only apply again in two years from that particular event. There are debtors who just honestly forgot to pay a debt or recently can afford to pay it and want to do the right thing and pay it so in this case the debt is renewed and no longer under the SOL.
In this case if you are unsure of the validity of the claim or other considerations think before you give any acknowledgements or money out and take your time to see what your options. Maybe is time to see a Bankruptcy firm or a insolvency lawyer to guide you through these rough times.
I am sharing this experience with you to empower the consumer going to some rough times and make them realise that they're not left alone in front of a abusive collector and maybe the law is on their side and can protect them.
If you think you've been treated badly by collection agency submit a claim with the consumer protection bureau but ... don't expect them to shut the collectors down as they receive hundreds of these claims daily. Your best defense if to keep yourself legal, pay the debt if it's legitimate or ask them to pursue the claim in courts if you think is not valid. Don't waste your time fighting with them over the phone and try to reach some kind of settlements without a legal binding written agreement from them as if it's not written you can't use it to defend yourself when time comes.