Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How to deal with Debt Collection Agencies

And Why You Should Never Respond to Letters or Phone Calls from Debt Collectors

Disclaimer - This is not legal advice. We are not lawyers. If you have serious concerns consult a Consumer Protection lawyer.

#1. Never answer someone calling from a 1-877 number. They are usually scammers or debt collectors (or both). If you do answer and they identify themselves as a debt collector, immediately accuse them of running a scam and hang up the phone. If you have the option, immediately block all calls from that phone number.

#2. Avoid confirming your identity. If they ask if you are "John Smith", deny it and say they have the wrong number. Then hang up immediately.

#3. Never give anyone your date of birth or your social insurance number over the phone. They will try to trick you out of that by asking you to confirm your identity. Refuse. Say you don't give out that information over the phone due to privacy reasons. Even if they pretend to be from the government, accuse them of running a scam and hang up the phone.

#4. Debt collectors will often even try to collect on fake debt - debt that isn't even real and they are just making up. It is a scam they do.

#5. Debt collectors will also try to collect on old zombie debt - debt that has already passed the statute of limitations and is not real debt any more.

#6. If they try serve you with (bogus) legal papers, you should avoid service. You are under no legal requirement to answer the door or receive it.

#7. Do not sign any registered mail from an unknown source. If they try to serve you via registered mail or courier, refuse to sign and the mail will be returned to the sender.

#8. Even if they do manage to serve you, do not respond to any of their requests for you to mail them back and acknowledge the debt. You are under no legal requirement to answer their mail.

#9. If you do end up in court with a lawsuit somehow, demand proof that the debt is real. Repeatedly accuse them of trying to sue you using FAKE DEBT. Demand proof that the debt is real, that the person suing you actually owns the debt, the amount of the debt, the date of the debt, and when the statute of limitations wears off. And demand that they prove that you are the person they are looking for. If they are suing John Smith, how do we know they are not suing the wrong John Smith?

It all comes down to the following issues...

When debt collectors buy a debt all they are really buying is a spreadsheet document with the names, addresses, phone numbers, and amounts owed by hundreds or even thousands of people. They know very little about the actual person. They probably don't even have your social insurance number unless you make the mistake of giving it to them. Or the date of the debt. Or your birthday. Chances are they likely they don't even know your middle name.

And even if they do have your social insurance number, that doesn't matter. Because it still doesn't prove that the debt is real. If you demand full documentation and proof that the debt is real, they cannot do it because they don't any such documents.

All they have is a spreadsheet with your name and number on it.

They don't have a signed contract from you. Only the credit card company has that. Your contract was with the bank or credit card company. The debt collector is simply some hoser who buys and sells debt. They probably are not even Canadian. They are probably American.

Debt collectors will also try to threaten you with a lawsuit, but that is all it is. Empty threats. They will even go to lengths to make up fake lawyers who don't exist, fake law firm websites, try to serve you with bogus legal documents that aren't even filled out correctly / are not real, etc.

And you are under no legal obligation to answer any of it.

And even if you do end up in court, demand proof that the debt is real and refer to it as fake debt.

Because frankly they cannot prove the debt is real. Especially if they just made it up.

Below is a lovely video on this topic worth watching.

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