Collection agencies: your rights

Collection agencies must be licensed and follow the rules set out in the Collection Agencies Act. These rules include how and when you can be contacted, and in what manner.

You’re responsible for paying money you owe. If you don’t pay, the business may collect their own debts or ask a collection agency to do it for them.

Businesses don’t need to be licensed to collect debt, but both businesses and collection agencies must follow similar rules when they contact you to collect debt.

Collection agencies and businesses collecting debt cannot:

  • make any contact with you by phone or otherwise until they contact you by mail first
  • collect more money than you owe the business or person who hired them
  • make collect calls to you to demand repayment
  • threaten or intimidate you or use abusive language
  • call so often or in such a way that you or your family feels harassed
  • call on a Sunday, or any day between 9pm and 8am
  • lie about you (directly or indirectly) to your family members or to anyone that you owe money to
  • give information, or threaten to give information, to anyone that could affect your job
  • contact your employer, friends, acquaintances, family or neighbours unless they have guaranteed or co-signed the loan they are trying to collect or are looking for your address
  • take you to court (unless the collector has taken on the debt from the company that you originally borrowed money from)

You have the right to:

  • ask collection agencies and businesses collecting debt to only contact you through a lawyer
  • ask who is looking for repayment when they contact you

If you are concerned that a collection agency or business collecting debt is not following these rules, you can contact the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services.

Businesses which collect their own debts are not required to be licensed. They must follow similar rules of conduct set out in the Consumer Creditors Conduct Act.

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