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I've been contacted by a collection agency about repaying a debt that I didn't even know I had. What can I do?
First, get more information to confirm whether you actually owe the debt. Ask the debt collector for the following details, and write them down:
Once you’ve gathered this information, tell the collector that you will call them back once you’ve confirmed that the amount owing is correct. Looking at your bills and bank statements can help you confirm whether or not this debt is yours and if the amount is correct.
If the debt is yours and the amount is correct, it is best to pay the money you owe right away. Paying the full amount at once will resolve the issue.
If you are not able to pay the full amount at once you can suggest an alternate method of payment such as monthly payments.
If there has been an error or you are concerned about the identity of the debt collector or its authority to collect the debt, contact the original creditor (if that person or company is different from the debt collector) to confirm the information and find out how to proceed.
You should also order a free copy of your credit report from Canada's credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. An error might appear on your credit report and reduce your chances of receiving credit in the future.
When dealing with a debt collector, you have rights. For more information on debt collection and your rights when dealing with a debt collector see Tips for Dealing with a Debt Collector.
[Date Updated: Jan 18, 2012]