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Have You Been Told Scary Tales from Creditors?

As many celebrate Halloween, one of the traditions is to share scary stories. In my role as Credit Counselling Manager, people tell me a lot of scary stories that have been fabricated by creditors.

Many clients will contact our office with questions like:

  1. “Can I get kicked out of Canada if I owe money?”
  2. “Can I cross the border if I owe money?”
  3. “Can this creditor garnishee my income tomorrow?”

These questions usually come from something a creditor has said to them.

The answer to question #1 is “absolutely not”; the answer to questions #2 is “absolutely.” In 2014, Equifax Canada reported that the average Canadian was carrying $20,891 worth of debt, excluding mortgages. If either of those statements were correct, there would be a lot of Canadians ousted from Canada or unable to travel.

As for a creditor being able to garnishee your income, there is a 21 day suing process to garnishee your income. The only creditor exempt from this is Revenue Canada.

If you are in a position where you owe money, you do have rights. These rights are listed under Ontario’s Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.

I like to highlight the following 3 rights from the Act:

A Collection Agency must:

  1. Contact you only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, between 1pm and 5 pm on Sundays and not on a holiday.
  2. Cannot contact you more than 3 times in a 7 day period without your consent, once the agency has actually spoken with you.
  3. Cannot use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language, or use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure or otherwise communicate in such a manner or with such frequency as to constitute harassment.

If you do get a scary story from a creditor and want to verify it, please contact one of our Credit Counsellors at 519-743-6333 x235.

Heather Cudmore is the Credit Counselling Manager at Carizon Family and Community Services.