One of the most stressful parts of financial difficulties is dealing with collections agencies. In Winnipeg, collection agencies must follow certain rules when they attempt to collect money, but it can still be difficult dealing with them.
If you’re having trouble with collection agencies and aren’t sure what to do, these tips will help:
Know Your Rights
In Manitoba, it’s against the law for collection agencies to harass or intimidate you in any way, including:
- Calling before 7 am or after 9 pm, on Sundays, or on holidays
- Threaten to repossess your belongings, or attempt to, without proper authority
- Call or harass your family or workplace to try and locate you
If a collection agency is behaving abusively or harassing you, contact the Consumers’ Bureau of Winnipeg.
Get verification of the debt
By law, a collection agency must write to you and tell you how much you owe, the original creditor, and proof of their right to attempt to collect money. If the amount you owe or the debt is in question, you can request verification. You can also request a copy of the original signed contract. By law, they must provide it.
If you do owe them money, negotiate to pay a smaller amount. Most collection agencies will do this. If you can negotiate for less, make sure you don’t pay them until you get an agreement from them in writing.
Seek Professional Help
If you can’t afford to pay your debts and you want to end the constant calls from collection agencies, it may be time to seek professional help. The only way to legally stop collection activity (including calls, letters, or wage garnishment) is to file for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.
With bankruptcy, you agree to turn your assets over to a licensed insolvency trustee, who sells them and distributes the money to your creditors. In turn, your debts are discharged at the end of the bankruptcy. With a consumer proposal, your trustee negotiates with your creditors to settle your debts for less than you owe. You then make one payment a month to your trustee until the settled amount is paid off.
Only a licensed insolvency trustee can legally file a bankruptcy or consumer proposal. Licensed insolvency trustees offer free consultations, and they can tell you what your best option is to stop collection agencies.
In Manitoba, collection agencies can be difficult to deal with. If you can’t afford your debts and need help, a licensed insolvency trustee is your best source. They can put an end to collection attempts and help you get back on your feet.