Draft Statement of Claim – Collection Agency Dirty Trick Number One
November 1st, 2010 by A Licensed Insolvency Trustee
You may be considering filing bankruptcy in Canada because you are getting telephone calls from collection agencies. Back in 2008 the Ontario Registrar of Collection Agencies wrote a letter of direction to all collection agencies operating in Ontario warning them against two specific collection practices when hiring lawyers to send out collection letters.
In this letter he warned all collection agencies to stop using the “trick” of sending “draft” legal documents with their cover letters and claims to people they were contacting. These draft legal documents made it appear that the collection agency was just about to initiate legal action against the person receiving the letter – the truth was it was a simple computer template designed to scare people into making payments.
Over the years I have met with hundreds of people who have received these “Statement of Claims” from lawyers. They look real; they appear to have an official red seal on them, and they have the person’s name and address on them. They assume it’s an official court document, and that they will be required to go to court.
Here’s the truth: it is against the law for a collection agency to send out a “Draft” Statement of Claim. If you owe money to a bank or credit card company, and you don’t pay them, they are well within their rights to take you to court and sue you in an attempt to garnishee your wages.
The letter from the Ontario Registrar also warns collection agencies hiring lawyers to send collection letters to consumers that it is necessary for the lawyer to disclose the name of the entity that is paying the lawyer for the collection letter. The Registrar has taken the position that it is in the public interest to know if the creditor or the creditor’s collection agency is paying for the lawyer’s collection letter.
Collection agency laws vary from province to province, and enforcement of these laws is not consistent across the country. In January of 2011 a high-profile collection lawyer is facing a Law Society disciplinary hearing in connection with her firm’s collection practices and her firm’s use of draft statement of claims. We shall see if this disciplinary hearing results in the death of draft statement of claims in Ontario as we know it today.
If you are receiving calls or letters from collection agents then you probably have a debt problem. There are many strategies for dealing with collection agencies, including filing a consumer proposal or filing personal bankruptcy. Which strategy is correct for you? Contact a professional today to arrange a no charge initial consultation to review your options.
You do not need to spend weeks or months dealing with the stress of collection agency phone calls. There are options, so research your options today.