Ring, ring, ring… many Canadians know the anxiety around receiving a collection call. If you’ve fallen behind on your bills, you might agree that the never-ending calls, texts, emails, and letters from debt collectors are one of the hardest parts of struggling with debt.
Intimidating and pressuring calls from debt collectors can lead to feelings of stress, shame, and hopelessness. But this doesn’t have to be the case – understanding the steps to take and available support can help end collection calls for good.
Why am I getting collection calls?
When borrowing money from a lender, both parties agree on terms, fees, and a repayment schedule. If you experience a change in your finances resulting in late payments, you’ll likely hear from your lender. However, if you continue to miss payments, your lender may take more extreme steps beyond a friendly reminder call or email. They may even hire a company to recover your unpaid debts, called a collection agency.
The collection agency’s job is to recover your debt and any interest or fees it has collected. If the stress of falling behind on your debts isn’t enough, debt collectors can contact you via phone, text, email, and/or mail. Depending on your province, debt collectors can even try to reach you multiple times a day if you don’t answer. Collection agencies can even take legal action against you through wage garnishment or seizing assets.
The good news – there are ways to stop the calls, avoid further damage to your credit score, and halt legal action. The key is understanding your next steps and the support available to you.
What should I do when I receive a collection call?
It may be intimidating, but the first step is to answer the call. Receiving a call from a debt collector is nerve-wracking but ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. The harder it is for debt collectors to reach you, the more aggressive and persistent their efforts may become. We suggest you prepare for the call by reviewing your account to demonstrate that you’re well-informed and want to resolve your debts.
Debt collectors may come across as blunt or demanding, but it’s important to hear their side of the story before sharing yours. Start by understanding who’s calling you by requesting their full name, the company they work for, and their phone number. Dealing with only one collections agent will help you stay organized. Next, it’s important to ask for specifics on the amount you owe, who you owe it to, and when they issued the debt.
From here, it’s important to verify the information you received to protect yourself from financial scams. Often this is done by contacting your original creditor. Before sharing personal information, negotiating a settlement, or making a payment, ensuring you’re dealing with a legitimate agency is critical.
To learn more tips for talking with debt collectors, watch Licensed Insolvency Trustee Freida Richer on Global Edmonton.
How do I stop collection calls?
Settling your debt is the best way to stop collection calls. If you can pay off your debt with a lump sum, you can work directly with the collection agent to organize payment. You can also negotiate with the collection agent to come up with a repayment plan you both agree on. Other options are available for those who cannot afford immediate repayment or don’t feel uncomfortable negotiating with a collection agent.
If you can’t repay your debt, you can still stop collection calls. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can help you silence collection calls and get a financial fresh start with various debt relief options. A consumer proposal will allow you to pay back a portion of what you owe while protecting you from collection calls, wage garnishment, or legal threats. Your trustee will negotiate with creditors on your behalf to determine your monthly interest-free payment, based on what you can afford.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt and are looking to end collection calls, we’re here to help. At Grant Thornton, we offer judgment-free, 30-minute consultations to help you find the best path to debt freedom. Call 1-844-4GT-DEBT or book online for your free consultation.