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FAQ: collecting debts

Curious about what we can and cannot do? Have a general question about us? Here are of a few of the most common things we can answer.

How can I tell if you’re a legitimate agency?

We are licensed to do collections in British Columbia and Alberta. We are licensed through the provincial regulators Consumer Protection BC and Service Alberta.

How did you get my phone number?

Most of the time, we get phone numbers already attached to an account. Sometimes that number is old, and now belongs to someone else. Sometimes people are listed as a reference or alternate contact person, and we call them to get a new phone number for the person the account belongs to.

We also do something called ‘skip tracing’, where we attempt to find phone numbers associated with a specific name or address related to an account in our office.

Why are you calling me, I don’t live in Vernon/the Okanagan!

While our office is located in Vernon, the accounts that come to us are from all across BC, Alberta and other parts of Canada.

Why are you spamming me?

The simple answer is that we aren’t; you entered into a financial agreement with a business (or person), and haven’t fulfilled your end. CASL, the anti-spam law, makes an exception for this sort of communication.

From CASL:


(6) Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to a commercial electronic message that solely

(b) facilitates, completes or confirms a commercial transaction that the person to whom the message is sent previously agreed to enter into with the person who sent the message or the person — if different — on whose behalf it is sent;

Why did you call my parent/employer/spouse?

Per debt collection law, if we can’t locate you and have no good contact information, we are allowed to call friends, family, and employers to get your contact information. A very good reason to respond to us!

Why didn’t you just tell my parent/spouse about this bill?

Privacy laws in Canada protect your personal information from being casually handed out, and we can’t share your information to someone new without your permission.

So, how do I get you to talk to my parent/spouse about this bill?

Want us to talk to someone else on your behalf? Send us an email, give us a quick call or even leave a message after business hours, stating your name & file number, and say ‘I give permission for <Person’s Name> to discuss this account on my behalf.’ Due to privacy laws, we cannot, and will not, give out your personal information other than for credit reporting purposes or to the business that put your account into collections.

Where does my information go?

The debt information in our office is sent to Equifax and Transunion, unless otherwise specified by our client. Only information related directly to the person who owes the debt is sent in. How we store your information is covered by our Privacy Policy.

But I didn’t give you permission to put this on my credit rating!

By agreeing to buy or use a service, you entered into a financial agreement with a business or landlord. That means you gave them permission to contact you, and to pursue payment if you don’t pay. We have been hired by these businesses to collect this money on their behalf, and to list any debts with Equifax and Transunion should they continue to be left unpaid.

Did you buy my debt?

No. We are an independent third party, and we are sent accounts by our clients, on whose behalf we are calling you.

Can I 'Pay to Delete'?

No.  When a collection agency applies to be a data furnisher with a credit reporting agency, it signs a subscriber agreement detailing what the debt collector is and isn’t allowed to do. In that agreement, a collection agency is prohibited from requesting the deletion of accurate but negative accounts after receiving payment from consumers. This is a common restriction in debt collection agreements. 

If a collection agency violates its agreement with a credit bureau and gets caught, it might lose its ability to report future collection accounts to that credit bureau, which could put a collection agency out of business. Some agencies may be willing to risk this; we are not.

Forest Lake
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