If you don’t pay back a debt on time, a debt collection agency will pursue you for the money. When this happens, you want to ensure debt collectors respect your rights.

In this guide, you’ll learn how Manitoba debt collection laws work and what debt collection agencies can and cannot do in Manitoba.

Manitoba debt collection laws

There are debt collection laws that collection agencies must follow in Manitoba. If they don’t, they could lose their license or face further action.

Collection agencies in Manitoba must provide you with the company name, the agent’s name, and the name of the creditor they represent.

They cannot request more than what is owed and cannot add service fees to the amount.

When making a payment to a collection agency, always ask for a signed receipt. The receipt should include the date, the creditor’s name, and the amount paid.

What times can a Manitoba collection agency contact me?

A collection agency in Manitoba can phone or visit between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays.

On Sundays, they are not allowed to contact you.

Monday to Saturday Sunday
Manitoba 7am – 9pm Not allowed

You can request that a collection agency only contact you in writing, but you must do so in writing and by registered mail. Include your address and phone number in your letter.

You can request that a collection agency only contact you in writing, but you must do so in writing and by registered mail. Include your address and phone number in your letter.

Can a Manitoba collection agency contact my friends or family?

A collection agency can contact your spouse, partner, friends, family or neighbour to request your residential address and phone number.

When doing so, they cannot disclose information about your debts or give out personal information unless that person has guaranteed or co-signed for the debt.

Can a Manitoba collection agency contact me while at work?

A collection agency can contact you at work to discuss your debt unless you ask them not to.

If you don’t want to be contacted at work, you must make other plans to deal with the debt.

Can a Manitoba collection agency contact my employer?

A collection agency can contact your employer to confirm your employment, business title and business address.

If you have given them written permission, they can contact your employer for other purposes.

What collection agencies cannot do in Manitoba

In Manitoba, a collection agency cannot:

  • Phone or visit before 7:00 am or after 9:00 pm.
  • Phone or visit on a Sunday or a statutory holiday.
  • Deliberately mislead you with a paper that looks like a legal document or a court form.
  • Harass you or your family.
  • Threaten to repossess goods without having the proper authority to do so.
  • Remove any goods unless you or an adult having possession and use of the merchandise is present at the time and is aware of the removal, except with court authority.
  • Harass neighbours or friends to locate the whereabouts of you and your family.
  • Seize or attempt to seize any item other than what is authorized.
  • Phone or telegram collect.

Source: Source: Manitoba government services and information

How long can debt collectors try to collect in Manitoba?

In Manitoba, a debt collection agency can only take legal action for six years, starting from when you acknowledged the debt or last made a payment.

This is known as a statute of limitations, and once this expires, the collection agency cannot take any further legal action.

However, during this period, you could be summoned to appear in court, where a judgment will be made on how you should pay the debt.

If you fail to respond to the court request, a court judgment may result in wage garnishment, removal of personal property (assets) or a lien on your house or another property.

Throughout the collection process, your credit can be adversely affected.

On September 30, 2022, Manitoba’s new limitation of actions framework titled The Limitations Act (the “New Act”) comes into force. As a result, the limitations period is reduced to two years.

Can a Manitoba collection agency repossess goods?

A collection agency can repossess goods purchased on credit under The Consumer Protection Act.

They must give you written notice within 48 hours (not including Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays).

This written notice must state the goods that have been repossessed, the date and the amount you must pay. It should also show how this amount was calculated and where the goods are stored.

You will have 20 days to pay and reclaim the goods.

Only a licensed collection agent or a creditor can repossess goods, so always check with Manitoba’s consumer protection office to check that a collection agent is authorized to do so.

How do I get repossessed goods back?

If you make the missed payments and pay any default charges and possession expenses, the repossessed goods will be returned to you. If you do not do this, your goods will be resold.

Debt settlement with a Manitoba collection agency

There are several ways to resolve debts in collections:

  • Pay the entire amount.
  • Arrange an affordable payment plan.
  • Negotiate a settlement by offering a lump sum for less than the total amount owed.
  • Dispute the debt.
  • Get help from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee.

How to complain about a collection agency in Manitoba

If you feel that a collection agency has acted unlawfully, complain to Manitoba’s consumer protection office.

If it’s a complaint about a debt collection department for a federally regulated financial institution, contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Conclusion

Manitoba debt collection laws exist to protect your rights if a collection agency comes calling.

Speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee if you have debts in collections and are unsure of what to do next. They can answer all of your concerns and assist you in resolving your financial problems.

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