A Collector For The Bank Told Me…
- they were going to sue me
- I would be responsible for court costs
- the sherriff would show up at my door and seize all my furniture
- my pension would be garnished
- the police would arrest me
What Should I Do ?
Have you had anyone threaten you with any of these comments ? We hear stories like these from frightened people who contact us.
Most of these comments are made to scare you into paying. Some of these threats are just not true and depending on what option you choose to solve your debt problem, the rest cannot be done.
Nothing Will Happen Without A Court Order
Before someone you owe, who is not a secured creditor, has the legal right to try to seize any of your property or your income they have to go to Court to obtain a Court Order, referred to as a judgement, verifying that you owe them money. That is what “suing you” is. The Court’s job is to decide if you owe the creditor and how much. The Court is not after you for money. The Court does not get involved in trying to collect the money you owe.
The Court Will Decide What Amount Can Be Enforced
The creditor is allowed to ask the Court to include certain costs for applying to the Court for a judgement, and if the Court thinks the costs are reasonable, will include the costs in the judgement. But you don’t owe the Court anything. The judgement states what the creditor is allowed to try to collect from you including the costs, using what processes are legally available.
Once the creditor has a judgement, then the creditor can attempt to seize what assets and income you have that are seizable as allowed by Provincial and Federal laws.
Only A Licensed Civil Enforcement Agent Can Seize Assets
In Alberta, a Civil Enforcement Agent who is licensed and regulated by the Province (the threatened “Sherriff”), conducts seizures on behalf of creditors with Judgements. Since the Civil Enforcement Agent is licensed by the Provincial government, they are obligated to know and follow the law regarding what can be seized for a creditor.
What Assets Can Be Seized?
Normal household furniture and appliances cannot be seized.
Nor can normal clothing and personal effects.
You do not have to let the Civil Enforcement Agent enter your residence unless they have a Court order allowing them to do so.
Your vehicle, with equity less than $5,000 cannot be seized.
Your tools of trade up to a resale value of $10,000 cannot be seized.
Only income above certain deductible amounts can be garnisheed, and then only a per centage of it. That means CPP and OAS recipients don’t get their pensions seized at source.
Lastly, owing a creditor is not a crime. Police only get involved if there is a crime. Police do not get involved in debt collection matters unless a crime was committed. So the police do not arrest you when you haven’t paid your credit card or other debt.