Collection agency harasses debt-free Canadians


SLM
+2
#1
Collection agency harasses debt-free Canadians

If you’ve ever had something go to collections then you know how terrible the experience can be. If you haven’t, try to imagine the harassing calls and the incessant requests for payments that you can’t afford. Now imagine you don’t actually owe a thing, but still receive the invasive calls for months on end. How annoying would that be?
For some Canadians, the above scenario isn’t imagined at all. It’s reality, one that is both frustrating and illegal. According to CBC News, employees of one of the country’s largest debt collection companies, iQor Canada, routinely calls people who don’t have unpaid debts.
Sometimes they have even collected on said ‘debts.’ Sometimes they call because they don't have a first name, so they call everyone with that last name in a given area. Sometimes those receiving the calls are related to the debtors. Other times they're unrelated, but have similar last names. Robert Buisson of Laval, Quebec told CBC that he was harassed by iQor Canada for a $90 Rogers bill that was not only paid, but didn’t even belong to him (it belonged to his father). The company called Buisson continuously for over a year and half – even months after his father had died.
The story is similar for Toronto couple, Randy and Nina Walsh, who told CBC that iQor had called them several times a week for eight months.
“The calls were nothing short of harassment,” Walsh told CBC. “After about four or five months, the calls were driving us crazy.”
After many months, the Walshs contacted the Better Business Bureau to have the calls stopped.
In another incident, Emanuel Carvalho of Markham, Ontario told CBC that although he’s never had outstanding debt, he received voicemail messages from iQor for over six months.
“They better get their act straight and indeed find out who [are] the real people they should be contacting,” Carvalho told CBC. “That’s their job.”
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of complaints against iQor. A CBC News investigation found that the company has been fined several times this year already. In fact, hundreds of complaints have been filed over the past few years, the investigation found.
Former employees, who wished to remain anonymous, confided that they were told to contact the names on their lists, regardless of whether or not they were the right people.
“[The company] just pays us to call them and we call them and we don’t bother with if it’s honest or not,” a former worker told CBC. He believes that some of the non-debtors actually paid for debts they didn’t owe either.
“People paid bills they had no idea where they came from just because they wanted to unblock their credit, or stop being called,” said one former employee.
In a written statement, iQor said, “iQor takes seriously any call to a wrong number and regrets the inconvenience caused to any consumer as a result.”
That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been infractions, though. iQor has been fined in provinces across Canada, and in the U.S. This year alone, iQor has been fined $51,420 in Canada for violating provincial regulations, including continuously harassing non-debtors. In the U.S., a subsidiary of iQor, Allied Interstate Inc., was fined $1.75 million dollars for attempting to collect from non-debtors, for using abusive language, and making repeated, harassing phone calls.

Have you ever received harassing calls for debt that you didn’t have?


Collection agency harasses debt-free Canadians - Finance Blog | How to Budget


Anyone had any experiences with these clowns? This company IQor in particular I've seen mentioned quite a bit. I had a period of time where they kept calling (they use different numbers and keep changing them but you can google and it'll come up)and asking for a name where the only similarity to mine was the first letter of the first and last name matched mine. It felt like a fishing expedition so I just said no one here by that name and then stopped answering if I saw the number, eventually I got rid of my home line anyway and went completely cellular so it's no longer a problem. Besides the fact that I'm up to date on all my bills, even on the off, off, off chance that it was some long ago Blockbuster late rental that I'd forgotten about or something similar, I had just moved to a different city, different address and different phone number than any creditor would have had anyway.


I don't think people really know too much about the legislation surrounding collection agencies and what consumers rights are. There's such a stigma around debt and being 'behind' in payments that it's not something people will often talk about. But it's shameful to think that some people end up paying for a debt that's not even theirs simply our of fear and because of the underhanded tactics of these companies.
 
PoliticalNick
+4
#2  Top Rated Post
I can help here.

First you have to remember that you have power in this situation and act like you do.

To start on the first call inform them you are logging all their calls and that you will only deal with the matter in writing. This doesn't mean you have to provide them with you mailing address, do not help them do their job. This puts them on notice and if they do call again you can immediately file a complaint and get them fined.

The next thing is to ask them to provide you with a copy of a contract signed with them (which they of course do not have) with your signature in ink, not a photocopy. If they actually send you an original contract from whomever they represent shred it quickly. Without an original 'wet-ink' contract any case will get tossed from any court.

Now they will make threats of passing it to their legal dept and taking you to court. Invite them to do just that. They have no legal right to collect on anything so they will not head down to the courthouse.

The fun really starts if they try to put something on your credit record. Since they have no contract with you and they have no right to collect they cannot lawfully affect your credit. This is your opportunity to file a suit against them. You have to give them notice they have 30 days to remove the credit hit and after that you can ask for actual & punitive damages.

This is a very basic description but you get the idea. Most agencies will send the file back to wherever it came from after 1 or 2 calls if you let them know that you know they cannot legally collect.
 
taxslave
+1
#3
Once. I said sue me. Never heard from them again. Now it happens that at least in BC there are serious penalties for wrongful claims. Given to the person being sued.
 
SLM
#4
This is the part that really pisses me off.

Quote:

Former employees, who wished to remain anonymous, confided that they were told to contact the names on their lists, regardless of whether or not they were the right people.
“[The company] just pays us to call them and we call them and we don’t bother with if it’s honest or not,” a former worker told CBC. He believes that some of the non-debtors actually paid for debts they didn’t owe either.

Now how many honest people will innocently say something along the lines of "No, that's not my name, my name is xxxx". Especially if the name is similar. That is out and out fraudulent practices as far as I'm concerned and they need to levy some really, really heavy penalties on these companies.

Again though the problem is that I think very few people want to even admit that a collection agency has been contacting them, even if it's completely in error, because of fear and the stigma.
 
PoliticalNick
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

This is the part that really pisses me off.

Now how many honest people will innocently say something along the lines of "No, that's not my name, my name is xxxx". Especially if the name is similar. That is out and out fraudulent practices as far as I'm concerned and they need to levy some really, really heavy penalties on these companies.

Again though the problem is that I think very few people want to even admit that a collection agency has been contacting them, even if it's completely in error, because of fear and the stigma.

It is always amazing what people will actually do for a paycheck. If more people were to learn and understand that these leeches have NO legal authority to collect anything they would probably disappear over a short period.
 
CDNBear
+4
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

I can help here.

Apparently not...

Digital signatures for starters.

Here's a link to CanLaw, oddly enough it sums up my reply to your post nicely, with this...

Quote:

"Before you start complaining, it would be smart to review the law so you do not make a complete fool of yourself"

http://www.canlaw.com/credit/collect.htm

Here's a list of respective provincial statutes regarding collections.

Collection Agencies - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)

Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

It is always amazing what people will actually do for a paycheck. If more people were to learn and understand that these leeches have NO legal authority to collect anything they would probably disappear over a short period.

The Freeman nuttery has no place in reality.

I've been a repo man, I don't like jail or giving away my hard earned money, I familiarized myself with the law.
 
taxslave
+1
#7
If you do legitimately owe money you can drive the collection agents nuts by making just a small payment to the company you owe instead of the collection agency. Apparently they only get paid on money they collect, not on money that bypasses them.
 
PoliticalNick
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

Apparently not...

Digital signatures for starters.

Here's a link to CanLaw, oddly enough it sums up my reply to your post nicely, with this...

What to do when the Collection Agency calls.

Here's a list of respective provincial statutes regarding collections.

Collection Agencies - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)



The Freeman nuttery has no place in reality.

It is not freeman nuttery. I am not saying you don't have to pay money you owe. If you owe money then deal with it but deal with those you owe not some outside party. The agency can try to collect through various means of intimidation and deception but they will never go to court because they have no legal standing in the contract.
 
Ron in Regina
+1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

Apparently not...

Digital signatures for starters.

Here's a link to CanLaw, oddly enough it sums up my reply to your post nicely, with this...

What to do when the Collection Agency calls.

Here's a list of respective provincial statutes regarding collections.

Collection Agencies - Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)



The Freeman nuttery has no place in reality.

I've been a repo man, I don't like jail or giving away my hard earned money, I familiarized myself with the law.


Thank You!!! I also had a long & well thought out response to the misguided nuttery
above...& my computer hiccuped and it was gone.
 
L Gilbert
+1
#10
You'd think the more that this company harasses people and gets taken to court, the heavier the fines would get. At least that's the way courts work against individuals for the most part.
 
Ron in Regina
+1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

...The next thing is to ask them to provide you with a copy of a contract signed with them (which they of course do not have) with your signature in ink, not a photocopy. If they actually send you an original contract from whomever they represent shred it quickly. Without an original 'wet-ink' contract any case will get tossed from any court....

Really? You really think that would happen anywhere in the real world?
 
PoliticalNick
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Ron in ReginaView Post

Really? You really think that would happen anywhere in the real world?

Of course they wouldn't send you the original....they wouldn't have it. That doesn't mean you can't request it.
 
SLM
+3
#13
The article is not about legitimate debt. Legitimate debt is a whole other issue. The piece is about the practices of a company where they will, apparently willfully, seek to collect debt from people even if they owe no money.

While the information available from the government is helpful for those who owe debt and are dealing with a collection agency, it's really difficult for those who do not owe debt and still find themselves in the grip of an agency to get any help.
 
CDNBear
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

It is not freeman nuttery.

Your post wreaks of it.
Quote:

I am not saying you don't have to pay money you owe.

Sure sounds like it, with your 'wet ink' Freeman nuttery.

Quote:

If you owe money then deal with it but deal with those you owe not some outside party.

Nothing is stopping anyone from doing just that.

The fact that a collection agency is involved, usually indicates that you aren't.

Quote:

The agency can try to collect through various means of intimidation and deception but they will never go to court because they have no legal standing in the contract.

Except as the creditors legal representative.

In Ontario, Alberta and BC, they can and will take legal action if the amount owed is significant enough.

Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

Of course they wouldn't send you the original....they wouldn't have it. That doesn't mean you can't request it.

They usually have a copy of the original in the file.

It can and will be produced in a legal proceeding.

Please take CanLaw's advice...

Quote:

"Before you start complaining, it would be smart to review the law so you do not make a complete fool of yourself"

Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

The article is not about legitimate debt. Legitimate debt is a whole other issue. The piece is about the practices of a company where they will, apparently willfully, seek to collect debt from people even if they owe no money.

While the information available from the government is helpful for those who owe debt and are dealing with a collection agency, it's really difficult for those who do not owe debt and still find themselves in the grip of an agency to get any help.

Point taken.
 
SLM
+2
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post



Point taken.

What it points to, I think, is not enough people being aware of the rules, laws, and regulations surrounding debt collection. That's why these companies, IQor in particular if you believe the charges in the article (and I do, I've come across them as I stated in the OP) taking advantage of that lack of knowledge and awareness.

I've poked around a little bit on the OCA website, checked the link for the Canadian Consumer Handbook and it's chock full of great advice for dealing with debt but not anything I could find, at least not easily, if you are erroneously accused of owing money that you don't. There should be, especially if these companies are engaging in these practices and I do believe that they are.

There are just a lot of balls being dropped here, some of it's 'our' responsibility but some of it is the governments as well. OCA should be doing more I think. The government sure as hell isn't afraid of advertising, how many commercials are there "brought to you by the Government of Canada"?
 
Just the Facts
+3
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

The article is not about legitimate debt. Legitimate debt is a whole other issue. The piece is about the practices of a company where they will, apparently willfully, seek to collect debt from people even if they owe no money.

While the information available from the government is helpful for those who owe debt and are dealing with a collection agency, it's really difficult for those who do not owe debt and still find themselves in the grip of an agency to get any help.

First thing is always set up a recording device on your phone. Even a microphone near the receiver of an extension, or speaker phone with a recording device nearby will do.

When they call, inform them that you do not owe the debt, that they are calling you in error. Advise them that you would be happy to chat with them at your prescribed rate of $150.00 per hour, with a two hour minimum charge per call, and that any subsequent phone call will constitute their acceptance of your terms.

Then just start billing them when they call.

If they don't pay, send the account to collections.
 
PoliticalNick
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

Your post wreaks of it.

You mean 'reeks'...you're welcome
Quote:

Nothing is stopping anyone from doing just that.

I always encourage it. A token payment every moth to the actual company you owe keeps collection agencies away
Quote:

The fact that a collection agency is involved, usually indicates that you aren't.

Not always but most of the time yes.
Quote:

Except as the creditors legal representative.

That is called a law firm not a collection agency.
Quote:

In Ontario, Alberta and BC, they can and will take legal action if the amount owed is significant enough.

And they will lose, not a party to the original contract. An offer to pay the other party on the contract will end the suit.
Quote:

They usually have a copy of the original in the file.

It can and will be produced in a legal proceeding.

Anyone can doctor a copy with the cheapest 10 year old pc. They need the original to enter it as evidence.

Now once again let me be clear, I do not advocate not paying your bills, I do advocate not paying a 3rd party. Collection agencies are scum, they use intimidation, harassment and deception to collect money when they have no legal standing in the contract and we really should outlaw them.
 
CDNBear
+2
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

What it points to, I think, is not enough people being aware of the rules, laws, and regulations surrounding debt collection. That's why these companies, IQor in particular if you believe the charges in the article (and I do, I've come across them as I stated in the OP) taking advantage of that lack of knowledge and awareness.

I've poked around a little bit on the OCA website, checked the link for the Canadian Consumer Handbook and it's chock full of great advice for dealing with debt but not anything I could find, at least not easily, if you are erroneously accused of owing money that you don't. There should be, especially if these companies are engaging in these practices and I do believe that they are.

There are just a lot of balls being dropped here, some of it's 'our' responsibility but some of it is the governments as well. OCA should be doing more I think. The government sure as hell isn't afraid of advertising, how many commercials are there "brought to you by the Government of Canada"?

The best and easiest course of action, is to tell them to sue you.

In your statement of defense, which you can fill out yourself, state that your defense is that you aren't who they think you are. Attach pertinent documentation.

Chances are the convening authority will assess the documentation from either party and determine whether or not the suit is valid.

Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

You mean 'reeks'...you're welcome

I'm glad you admit your post reeks of Freeman nuttery.

Quote:

Not always but most of the time yes.

That would be why I used the word 'usually'.

Quote:

That is called a law firm not a collection agency.

A collection agency is considered a legal representative of the creditor.

Kind of like power of attorney. And as you should know, you don't have to be an attorney to be one, lol.

Quote:

And they will lose, not a party to the original contract.

LOL, I already know you have no idea what you're talking about, but keep going, it's funny.

If the collection agency has purchased your debt or been assigned the debt for collection, they can and will file suit against the debtor, on behalf of the creditor. Using an inhouse lawyer, or firm.

All they need to provide to the court is the documentation.

Quote:

Collection agencies are scum, they use intimidation, harassment and deception to collect money when they have no legal standing in the contract and we really should outlaw them.

Keep adhering to your erroneous misinformation.

I just hope no one actually takes what you say seriously.
 
L Gilbert
+1
#19
Yeah. If any of them were to harass me, I'd probably tell them to convince a judge that I am who they say they say I am.
 
Kreskin
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

If you do legitimately owe money you can drive the collection agents nuts by making just a small payment to the company you owe instead of the collection agency. Apparently they only get paid on money they collect, not on money that bypasses them.

If you owe it to a bank they will generally send you back to the collection company. The debt has already been removed from the books. It's written off and no more interest is accruing. The account owed is with the collection agency, and they will forward about half of what they collect back to the bank.
 
gerryh
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

It is not freeman nuttery. I am not saying you don't have to pay money you owe. If you owe money then deal with it but deal with those you owe not some outside party. The agency can try to collect through various means of intimidation and deception but they will never go to court because they have no legal standing in the contract.


wrong...again....
 
petros
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by PoliticalNickView Post

I can help here.

First you have to remember that you have power in this situation and act like you do.

To start on the first call inform them you are logging all their calls and that you will only deal with the matter in writing. This doesn't mean you have to provide them with you mailing address, do not help them do their job. This puts them on notice and if they do call again you can immediately file a complaint and get them fined.

The next thing is to ask them to provide you with a copy of a contract signed with them (which they of course do not have) with your signature in ink, not a photocopy. If they actually send you an original contract from whomever they represent shred it quickly. Without an original 'wet-ink' contract any case will get tossed from any court.

Now they will make threats of passing it to their legal dept and taking you to court. Invite them to do just that. They have no legal right to collect on anything so they will not head down to the courthouse.

The fun really starts if they try to put something on your credit record. Since they have no contract with you and they have no right to collect they cannot lawfully affect your credit. This is your opportunity to file a suit against them. You have to give them notice they have 30 days to remove the credit hit and after that you can ask for actual & punitive damages.

This is a very basic description but you get the idea. Most agencies will send the file back to wherever it came from after 1 or 2 calls if you let them know that you know they cannot legally collect.

Send them an invoice for your time, if they don't pay, hire a collection agency.

Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

If you owe it to a bank they will generally send you back to the collection company. The debt has already been removed from the books. It's written off and no more interest is accruing. The account owed is with the collection agency, and they will forward about half of what they collect back to the bank.

if you're sharp, you can negotiate a lower settlement than that the original debt.
 
damngrumpy
#23
Never had the problem personally but a relative had issues with them and the agency
was calling my residence. Why this cousin of mine gave them my number and did that
complicate my life, until I threatened court action against them, Never heard from them
again.
 
CDNBear
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

If you owe it to a bank they will generally send you back to the collection company. The debt has already been removed from the books. It's written off and no more interest is accruing. The account owed is with the collection agency, and they will forward about half of what they collect back to the bank.

I've been hooked up to someones boat and ready to leave when they called the bank and made the back payments right in the driveway.

I've yet to see a bank turn away money.

Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpyView Post

Never had the problem personally but a relative had issues with them and the agency
was calling my residence. Why this cousin of mine gave them my number and did that
complicate my life, until I threatened court action against them, Never heard from them
again.

If you share a last name, they could have just pulled your phone number hoping to find him or someone related that would tell them how to reach him/her. Skip tracers do it all the time.
 
Kreskin
#25
The bank probably mailed it to the collection agency.
 
JamesBondo
#26
Here's my story.

20 years ago, I had no credit record, and had to place a $100 security deposit down on a phone account. 6 years later when I closed the account, they lost all record of the security deposit, and would not negotiate with me, so I told them that I was going to let the final bill go to collections.

After about a year of not hearing anything, I recieved a call from a lady claiming to be from a collections agency. She seemed legit enough as she knew the full details of the debt.

Here's the strange part......I told her to mail me a statement or invoice and I would pay it. She tried to get me to pay it over the phone. I said no( several times). She got mad, and very aggressive, and actually told me that I was going to jail, then she hung up.

I never received an invoice, I never heard from her again. And, about a year later, I was approved for a mortgage ( ie clean credit bureau report)

Strange, eh?
 
Kreskin
#27
It sure is. She likely wouldn't get paid for the mail-in billed payment so didn't bother picking up the file again.
 
karrie
#28
Hubby has a very common french name. We actually stopped listing our phone under his name because of the harassment of debtors. There must be at least 6 men with big debt, and his exact same name, here in Alberta. It's been a long time since we've been harassed (would you believe that collections agencies don't believe you when you say you carry zero debt let alone outstanding debt?), but we get regular phone calls looking for assorted people with our name. I've gotten used to telling them that if they don't believe me that I'm not who they think, they can take it up through legal channels.
 
JLM
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

Hubby has a very common french name. We actually stopped listing our phone under his name because of the harassment of debtors. There must be at least 6 men with big debt, and his exact same name, here in Alberta. It's been a long time since we've been harassed (would you believe that collections agencies don't believe you when you say you carry zero debt let alone outstanding debt?), but we get regular phone calls looking for assorted people with our name. I've gotten used to telling them that if they don't believe me that I'm not who they think, they can take it up through legal channels.

Another way you can be vulnerable is when you give a person permission to give your name as a contact. The bastards do not lay off, they phone 2 or 3 times a day leaving a recorded message. Of course when I see their number on call display, I just let it ring.
 
Johnnny
+1
#30
Meet the new bill collector? He doesnt care if he has the wrong house or prson.....

Terminator kills fake Sarah Connormp4 - YouTube

 

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