The law protects the rights of every party in bankruptcy: the creditors, the trustee, and the debtor. As a debtor, the law protects you from undue stress caused by collection agencies which harass debtors. If you are being illegally harassed by a collection agency, you can make an official complaint.
Make sure you know the relevant laws in your province. Your bankruptcy trustee will be able to advise you if you have grounds for a complaint about a collection agency.
What is harassment?
You can make complaints if the collection agency harasses you by contacting you or your family so frequently, or at such hours, that the communication amounts to harassment. In Ontario, an agency is only permitted to contact you 3 times in any 7 day period (not including by mail). They can only contact you between 7am and 9pm on Monday to Saturday, and from 1pm and 5pm on Sundays. They are not permitted to contact you on a statutory holiday.
You can make a complaint if the agents use intimidating, threatening, coercive, or profane language when speaking to you, leaving a voice mail message, or in an email. The collection agency is not permitted to put unreasonable or excessive pressure on you. They are also not permitted to publish your debts.
You can make a complaint if the agency gives false or misleading information to you, or to others about you.
How to make a complaint
If you have a genuine complaint about a collection agency, your trustee will be able to advise you. Laws vary from province to province, but your trustee will know your rights.
Your first step should be writing a complaint letter to the collection agency. If you mail the letter, send it by registered mail so you have a record. Be very specific in your letter. Keep it short, to the point, and polite. Make sure the collection agency knows how you want to resolve the problem, and how you are resolving your financial situation. Include copies, but not originals, of any supporting evidence.
If the harassment does not stop, take it to the next level. In Ontario, for example, you would make a complaint through the Ministry of Consumer Services.
Document your harassment
If you intend to make a complaint, make sure you document your evidence of harassment. Take notes of all phone calls you receive, noting the date and time, the name of the agent, and the language used. Keep copies of all voice mails and emails as additional supporting evidence.