Ontario Debt Statute of Limitations

In Ontario, there is a statute of limitations on unsecured debt.

That basically just means that they can only sue you for your debt for two years after your last payment.

There are some misunderstanding on this, though, so let’s look at it in more detail…

Basically, if the default (remember that all “default” means is when you stopped paying on time) occurred after January 1, 2004, you have two years in which the debtor has the option to sue you. So basically, after two years, they can try to guilt you into paying, but they cannot force you using the courts. However (and this is important) if you make a payment, the clock resets, and they regain that right all over again for another two years starting from that day. So for the love of all that is good and holy, do NOT start repaying a debt once you’ve gone to a collection agency without carefully considering this implication. Basically, you want to decide when you start missing payments if it’s worth trying to start them up again or not.

Once the two years have passed and the debt is no longer something they can sue for, it opens up the chance to negotiate payments for far less than the “book value” of the debt. So, for example, if I default on a $3000 credit card balance, and wait for over two years before negotiating, I can settle sometimes for $1500 or less. In fact, given enough time, you can probably settle for 10% or less of the original debt. However, you’re taking two risks:

  1. You could be sued in the first two years if the debt is substantial enough
  2. You will have substantial impact on your credit rating. Of course, it could be that you have missed enough payments that your credit rating is already substantially impacted by that debt.

Note that this does NOT have any implications on the behavior of the agency. What I mean is that after two years they can still continue to call twice a week, etc. The one thing you can know after those two years that does change is that if you feel they are hinting about threats of lawsuits, you now know with 100% certainty that they are bluffing (if it’s an unsecured, non tax/student loan debt.)

They can still phone you, they can still pass your account off to another agency, they can send you lots of letters…

They just cannot sue, which is, honestly, really nice to know.



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106 comments on “Ontario Debt Statute of Limitations
  1. Diane says:

    I had a credit card balance that unfortunately went to Global credit colection Inc. Shortly after that the account went to NCO Financial Services Inc. where I started making pymts. I was on a repayment plan of $350/mo which I paid for a year for a total of $4,000. My intention was always to pay off my debt and my balance was going down and I was starting to the the end of my obligation in sight. All of a sudden my automatic repayment plan stopped the end of Feb 2013. I call NCO to ask why they did not take my payment and they said my account was taken over by TCR Total Credit Recovery Limited. This is where my nightmare has started. All they do is send settlement letters it is next to impossible to get a hold of someone. When someone actually called me back she told me she had no account of the money I paid to NCO and was really not interested. I told her I have proof that I paid it and she told me to print off my account stmt’s and scan and email them to her which I did. I never heard back and started calling them back again when they did call me back they totally could care less about the money I paid and said it was all interest. NCO told me this was going to go against my principal and I told her I want an account of where they came up with an outrageous amount of money they say I now owe. They have now sent me stmt’s from the credit card company up to before NCO was involved and before I paid the $4,000. It is like it never happened.
    I have tried to call them and they put me on hold and then that automatically goes to voice mail. I have been leaving voice mail messages for over 3 weeks and no response.
    I have even called the credit company for help and to let them know that i do want to pay my obligation but I cannot seem to be able to get the collection company to call me back.
    This is all so stressful to me I don’t know how to resolve this and are worried that they will sue me I am just wondering if someone has some advice they can give me.
    I have kept a recoard of all the payments I have made and kept all the statements from the credit card company. I have a full account of what should be owing which is not even close to what they say.
    If they do take legal action how will they notify me and I assume I can appear in front of someone to argue my position if someone can give me some advise on what happens next.

    • Jay says:

      once a debt has gone to collections they can not charge you intrest on anything if they say they are it is illegal and i would file a complaint with comsumer affairs canada.Send TCR a letter tellimg them to stop contacting you via phone as well and that they may only contact you via mail make sure you keep a copy of the letter time and date it was sent. these steps are to ensure that comsumer affairs can deal with them in a timely manner and you have all your ducks in a row . Good luck

    • heahter says:

      in 2006, I obtained a loan through b.of .ns. .. I lost my job.. shortly after.. about a year.. I went in to the bank to advise.. and .. after a long haul… noticed the bank has taken 500.00 out of my account. no letter or .. message received.. therei s about 2,000.00 outstanding showing on my bank account after all these years.. I .. am .. upset to think the bank took 500.00 .. out of my account for a debt.. which I think .. due to statute of limations.. I no longer can be.. .. held responsible….

      we are now in to 2015…

  2. Bridget says:

    This idiot that keeps calling me (that never leaves his name, or the company he is calling from) now left me a long winded msg. saying that they’ve submitted my SIN number to the CRA to get my employment info and that once the info comes back the lawyer will contact my work to start garnishing my wages and they will tell them the reason is because i dont pay my bills. When he first started calling he said that they could find out my work info through a SIN data base….now its the CRA. I highly doubt the CRA are going to give out personal info to just any jerk …heck i cant even call the CRA on behalf of a parent unless my parent gives them permssion to talk to me.

    Is this just a scare tactic? With the Statute of Limitations – doesnt this get looked at before any garnishing of wages was to happen?? Any info appreciated.

    • shirley reeds says:

      CRA will not give out any info. just dont talk to these jerks. hang up every time.

      • Phil Martin says:

        It is illegal for the agent to threaten you or lie to you he/she can be charged under the act (I am assuming Ontario)both company and the agent. If you are not in the province of Ontario check the act in your province most are very similar.

      • patricia says:

        While it’s true the CRA cannot give out personal info…At some point, if you did record your SIN # on any application, it could be reported by the lender and will further appear on your credit report as the credit bureau’s record every pce of relevant info on your record. Very detailed info is available to any lender you give permission to run a credit report, way more detailed than what you get when you run your own report through them.

  3. Ursula says:

    Hi, just wondering what can be done when a company such as (hydro) can just automatically transfer a debt from 7 years ago onto an account that was opened with them 3 years ago..they sent a letter stating they were going to transfer the old bill onto the new one if they didn’t hear from us…we didn’t contact them because of the statute of limitations being 2 years we thought they are just fishing..so of course we received our hydro bill with the amount of the old bill plus our current so now we have the threat of disconnection for non payment but if we make any payment it will open up the door to reset the statute…I would think this is an underhanded tactic to strong arm people for their lack of people doing their job…we moved back to Ontario in 2010 and set up the hydro then and now 3 years later they come across it?? I’m just wondering if there is anything I can do about this under handed tactic?

    • Mike says:

      Ursula!? Where and who did you hear that the statute of limitations on bills, such as hydro, loans and credit cards,etc., is only 2 (two) years? To be blunt, you’ve been misinformed.

  4. Elana says:

    I don’t know if anyone still replies to this.
    I have had a debt collector calling me for the past two years, I went through credit counseling for 4 years so I know I don’t owe these people anything, but they are getting more and more threatening. Even if I did owe them something t would be long over 6 years ago since I made my last payment to them. So my question is should I do anything about the calls or just keep ignoring them?

    • TheMan says:

      Good day!

      Well, ignoring them is an option, but here is another tact: They are required by law to tell you who they are by mail, so find that letter and get the mailing address. Send them a letter saying that you contest their assertion that you owe money (which you apparently do) and you will only discuss this with them from here on in via correspondence, and you tell them in no uncertain terms to not call you. Make it clear: You are fine talking to them, but use the mail only. What generally happens is that they toss your account into a pile of dead items, and maybe eventually sell it to another company — at that time the new company will notify you via mail that they have your account, and you can take the same letter (save it off on your computer for later) change the company name and send it again. I’ve done this personally, and it works.

      What’s interesting is that if they refuse to abide by your request to not call, you can threaten to call the CRTC on them (I believe) which will cost them a LOT of money.

      Anyway, good luck!

    • Phil says:

      Ignore!! them Read the book “The Wolfe at the Door”. Contact a small accounting firm and have them send a cease and desist letter there is a template in the Book. They can not bug you after you have appointed the accounting firm to act (do nothing ) on your behalf.

  5. John Henry hancock says:

    I just got a call from a collection agency.. its been almost 9 years I havent made a payment since 2004. I dont know how they found me..lol I said it wasnt mine, but for some reason I wasnt thinking and I confirmed my name and date of birht. they had no sin number and I said it wasnt me. so its good to know they cant sue me. If I was rich i’d pay it, but i’m not.. Im broke butt.

    • Phil says:

      They cant sue if the debt is unsecured. Check the statue of limitation in your province. Even if they did sue which they will probably will not. So if they did and they achieved a judgment against you they would be no further ahead in collecting the debt. The law suit would be civil litigation and the remedy for civil litigation is money and you don’t have any of that so. Hang up you need to be rude and hang up!

  6. Peter1979 says:

    Hi.. I have been contacted by some collection agency representing Cogeco about a debt with DOLA April 2007..

    I know that the SOL for taking me to courts has passed, however, can anything stick to my credit report?

    I have no accounts in collections as listed by either Transunion or Equifax, nor are there any instances of credit bureau pulls on either one of them from the agency in question or cogeco. In fact, both agencies have my report coming back as good and very good (respectively).

    I’m completely confused.. and this is my first (and what I hope to be only) time being in this situation.. so I don’t want to do something that, while being morally correct, will hurt me in the end.

    Any advice will be cheerfully received.

    • TheMan says:

      I have personally had this situation, also with a cable company … they just don’t always tell the credit rating agencies, but they DO hand the debt off to collection agencies.

      If you think about how they make money it makes sense: There’s no real revenue upside in telling the rating agencies that you’re defaulting, but that pile of overdue accounts can be bulk-sold to a collection agency for real cash that helps out the bottom line of the cable company. They’re all about profits, and that only helps, as much as it sucks for you and I.

      What it means is that you can basically say that the debt does not exist. It is totally unlikely that the collection company would take you to court unless it’s over $5000 (unlikely) so just send a letter to the collection agency telling them that that is not your debt and please only use correspondence from now on. That will shut them up until another company takes the debt over, then do it all again. I should put some sample form letters up here.

  7. Donato says:

    I have a fourteen year invoice despute with the 407ert highway a 800’00 they admitted to over billing by about 300’00 dollars but still want to collect all penalty and interest they also still have me on plate Renaul denied resgesturing vehicle licence what are my rights

    • TheMan says:

      I am not a lawyer, but if the debt is now in the hands of a collection agency (I assume it’s not 407etr that’s still after you – if it is that’s sort of weird) and if so I also am pretty sure they’d never bother to sue for that measly sum of money, and thus you can ignore them. I would check your credit rating – after 14 years there should be NOTHING on there any longer about this debt, thus you can tell the collection agencies to go to hell, basically. :) I’d send a letter saying it’s not your debt and you will only communicate with them via mail correspondence. That will shut them up.

  8. Stacey says:

    Are there any loop holes or conditions in the statute of limitations on debt recovery. Any reason other than starting repayment which restarts the clock? Any other reason at all that collection agencies can pursue a debt that is more then 10 years old?

    • TheMan says:

      As far as I know unless it’s taxes or student loans no, but there are weird little angles with respect to dates – I would suggest asking a lawyer. Lawyers can be fairly cheap, if you shop around, and bring your Q’s carefully written out, etc.

  9. new girl says:

    I have a outstanding line for credit for 5000 dollars I have not made a payment on it in several years and its in collections I am guessing. i was contacted by said collection company about 2 years ago and gave them my new billing address and everything and asked them to send me a bill so i could figure out payments for them. They didn’t end up sending me anything and the bill still pops up on my credit score when im applying for loans and such what do i do??

  10. Mr. Denial says:

    When the collection agency goes to court to collect a debt, the actual amount outstanding is no longer the amount of the original debt, since they bought the debt for a lesser amount from the creditor. Could it be argued in court and negotiated that the amount that is in truth outstanding is the amount the agency paid for the debt not the original full amount?

    Say the debt was $20,000.00, would the actual debt to the courts be perceived at the full amount. Presumably the agency bought the debt for say 20 cents on the dollar, which means they are looking to collect some amount above $4,000.00.

    I expect that the credit card company has already written off the debt, so they will not benefit and have no further interest in the debt. Any amounts collected would strictly be paid to the collection agency and the credit card company would receive zero benefit.

    Am I correct in this understanding?

    • Phil says:

      I doubt that you could make that argument fly in front of a Judge. I am not a lawyer but from my perspective you would be better to rely on the statue of limitations assuming the debt was not secured by an asset ie a line of credit against real property.

  11. Cat says:

    Maybe a silly question but what if the debt occurred prior to 2004? I know someone in this situation right now.

  12. Leeanne says:

    More than 10 years ago my fiancé lost his job and had to move home and at the time he leased a car. He ended up having to return the car because he could no longer make payments because he had to pay the mother.
    He offered to bring the car to the dealer but the dealer said they would come and get it from the residence. They came and got the car and then sent him a bill for $2000.00 towing fee that he could not pay because he was not working and that was why he couldn’t make the car payments.
    We thought there was a statute of limitations on this payment was of 2 years. But recently we received a letter from a collection company saying that he owes now $11,000.
    The details of how they got this amount were not in the letter it was just a general threatening letter ~ saying pay up or else.
    We didn’t know what to do because we thought this was over and now today he has had two calls at his work. They even left messages on the general mail box.
    What do we do about this?

    • TheMan says:

      UPDATE – I edited this to be clear: DO NOT PAY THEM as your debt should not affect your credit score anyway, so there is absolutely no reason to pay. The money is legally forgotten, except by these hopeful scammers. They won’t get a penny. They don’t deserve it.

      Depending on your province, I’m pretty sure that statute of limitations is totally over, but I’d go to your provincial website to check on the specifics. That said, remember this: These guys can buy a debt off of the towing company, and then they can add “interest” which is totally nothing to do with the original debt. It’s mostly wishful thinking. So here’s a short version of what I would do: Send them a letter and tell them to stop contacting by voice, that you will negotiate with correspondence only. They will stop, and they will sell the debt to someone else and you can do it again. DO NOT PAY THEM A CENT. There is NO REASON TO as your credit has already removed the entry (after 7 years, I believe.)

      If it was a more recent debt, it would actually be reflected on your credit score (check to ensure it isn’t) and then I would tell them:
      1) We only owed 2000. The interest isn’t your issue, so they can forget about it.
      2) We will agree – and ONLY DO THIS IN WRITING, AND BE VERY SPECIFIC – to pay maybe 5% of the original ($100) if they promise to reconcile this debt with the credit rating agencies

      They will of course say no, and you can tell them, fine, wait another ten years.

      • Leeanne says:

        We sent them a cease and decist letter telling them not to call anymore only contact via mail, we sent this by courier and they signed for it and I have proof via courier. It did not work and they have now ramped up their calls, they called twice last night and they called a family member today (by cold call – they got the number) and they called his office twice and yelled at his secretary. I was furious about this and as such I will be filing a complaint with Consumer protection Ontario and calling into question this person’s license to practice collections.
        for anyone else who is dealing with them the name of the Company is called Integrety First Telesolutions – believe me they have NO integrety what so ever!
        I spoke with a great person at the Ministry and he gave me all the wording to use.
        this company is going down!

      • Ronald West says:

        There is no interest on a lease. It’s rent.

        Ronald West

  13. leeanne says:

    thank you for the info. We are in Ontario. this is an update to the story.
    back in 2004 there was a note on a credit score that he owed the balance of the car loan $4600 for the car that they repossed. we are assuming that the car was auctioned off. we do not know the total they received for it.
    Regardless I dont know how this company found us 9 years later and now want $11,000 ~
    We sent them a registered letter stating that this was the first we heard of this debt and that we are disputing the claim. we denied any knowledge of it. We also instructed not to call anymore.
    Are we correct to assume that the statute would have run out on this loan and this guy is just blowing smoke?
    We did a credit check in 2010 and there was no sign of it,
    and he has a leased 2 different cars in teh past 8 years from that same bank with no issue.
    Are we clear of this debt by now?

    • Ronald says:

      If you had called me to deal with this for you, there would be closure. These slugs really annoy me. They are governed by the Debt Collection Act and as such must be licensed and act ethically. Many of them sadly, cannot spell the word. The Act says, among other things, that once you object to them calling, they must stop, or they are liable for damages. Tell them to communicate only in writing, which they are not excited about, since they can’t intimidate you on the phone.

      With a lease, they can seize AND sue but they did not sue within the 2 year limitation period, so you’re good.

      On a loan with a lien registered as a chattel mortgage, they can seize but not sue for a deficiency balance. Seize OR sue but not both.

      Certainly, the towing is excessive and unfortunate but leases usually have these onerous terms in them to cover themselves for all costs, and on the face of it, they are legally allowed to claim them but in reality, Judges take a dim view of pirates gouging people with egregiously excessive costs, and are often disallowed in whole or in part.

      However, in practice, the leasing company contracted out the towing, not you, so the towing bill gets paid by them but legally, had they sued you in time, you would get stuck with the costs, which will undoubtedly also include bailiff’s fees, administration fees, bla, bla, bla.

      However, there are other considerations, such as your credit rating, and derogatories such as a repo, will affect your credit with Equifax for 6 years and I’m pretty sure it’s the same with Trans Union but it could be 7 years with them.

      So you have to walk a thin line. Do I talk to the Collection agent or not? Generally, I take the position that since I did not enter into any contractual obligation with the arm and leg men, I don’t recognize them as having any authority to deal with a debt that I owe to another party, so I refuse to talk to them and further, program their numbers into my contacts so it teĺls me who’s calling, and now with my Galaxy S5, I can just block them.

      This is a huge advantage because you can play them both ways. They do actually have the legal authority to deal with your debt, notwithstanding that they are not privy to the original contract which gave rise to the debt you now owe.

      So, rise above their ridiculous show of power and take the high road. They are just small men and women acting. They are nothing to be feared. They are simply playing a role to intimidate and coerce you to roll over and do what they tell you i.e. pay your bill.

      You have more legal rights than they do and if they persist in harassing you, call the police and lay a criminal harassment charge. Give them one chance to quit bugging you first though to be fair.

      Sometimes though, if you can establish a rapport with them, you may be able to work out a win-win deal, which is to make the creditor happy, the bill collector makes a few
      bucks, and most importantly, you feel good that you honored your obligation and preserved your credit rating.

      In answer to your question… are we clear? Seems that way but keep montoring your credit and be proactive… Micromanage your credit. Pay your bills every day, $10 here, $17 there. Everything is online and it’s so easy to keep up to date. If your minimum payment is $60 a month, pay $2 a day.

      I’m Ronald West and I fix credit your problems and have all kinds of tricks to springboard your credit score to the next dimension, and show you how to profit from a great credit score, and create wealth.

      if you have a problem, email me at crazypilot1974@gmail.com . Problems are normal, crises are opportunities

  14. nvk says:

    5 years ago a loan was arranged between myself and another individual for over 20,000.00. The other individual failed to repay the loan.
    Is it too late to seek legal action to get the money back?

    • TheMan says:

      Again, I’m not a lawyer. And in this case, you may want to speak to one as that’s a lot of $.

      However, even if it turns out that the statute of limitations has passed, what’s really interesting is that you’re coming at it from the other side, and for that, I’d strongly suggest you look at what the collection agencies do to us. First off, don’t get to the point where he will get fully informed. Convince him that you still have a right to this cash, maybe with gentle hints at really wanting to avoid legal proceedings, etc. and eventually, if you ratchet up some of the pressure, you can ask a lawyer to write a letter that sounds like you’re considering legal action (even if YOU know you cannot complete the action once you’ve considered it, HE doesn’t know that!)

      See what I mean? It’s an interesting situation.

      Sorry, but I’m not going to speculate on the action statute of limitations in this case, as it may apply differently between individuals (and it’s possibly provincially variable) thus I’d seriously suggest an hour meeting with a lawyer to discuss this.

    • Ronald West says:

      Depends on whether it is secured or not. If it is secured, you can realize on your security, 2 year limitation period notwithstanding.

      When was the date of last activity?

      Email me at crazypilot1974@gmail.com and give me all the particulars and I’ll see what I can do for you

  15. Tammy says:

    I NEED HELP!!!!!

    I had a Canadian Tire Card in 2001. I just got served with a wage garnishment at my current job.
    1) How did CRS get a court order if the SOL has passed?
    2) What can I do? The original card was for $500…the garnishment is for $19433.84…I don’t want to have to quit my job but I don’t know what else to do :-(

    Please help!!!!

    • Tj says:

      You can go to court and file a motion to have the judgement set aside because you were not served a statement of claim and given an opportunity to defend the action.

      Assuming it is granted then you use an Absolute defense that the Statute of limitations in Ontario at that time was 6 years and it has long passed. The judge will then dismiss the case.

    • Tj says:

      The SOL only works if you attend court on date of trial and raise it as your defense. Problem is many agencies sneak lawsuits through without serving any papers in hopes of winning a default judgment because you were not there.
      Illegal but happens frequently. This is how the Vultures work.

  16. Vito says:

    Please Help !!!

    I Haven’t paid my credit card bills because of some personal issues revolving around family problems and financial hardship. The last payment I made was back in 2011. I have received several letters from different collection agencys regarding the debt( The debt keeps moving on to a different agency). I spoke to them today on the phone, and they said that the interest keeps piling up everyday. I told them that I wont be able to pay a penny of interest, and I am willing to pay only 30 % of the “original amount” which is around $ 300. They did not accept that offer, and I asked them to give me a call back in the near future, and maybe I will be in a different situation.

    My current situation: Part time job (10-15 hours a week), attending university on osap, living with retired parents( paying rent)..

    Does SOL apply to my case ? is there a way where i can get out of paying the interest, and just pay the 30 % on the original amount ? The original amount was 1150, plus interest is 1800..

    Thank you

    • Ronald West says:

      Don’t acknowledge the debt or pay ANYTHING or the limitation period clock resets. Tell them you will not talk to them or make any deals until they agree to restore your credit rating.

      If they won’t co operate, don’t answer their calls and don’t negotiate with terrorists. Tell them, in writing, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, what you can do but DO NOT acknowledge the debt.

      You must take the position that it is a MISTAKE on the credit bureau and demand a letter of deletion before you will settle.

      If they still will not negotiate in good faith, screw em.
      You may have to wait until it falls off after 6 years.

      When a credit account is sent to a collection agency, your creditor has written it off and in all likelihood, the Collection agency bought the debt for pennies on the dollar, so there is a lot of wiggle room to negotiate, starting at say, 5% of the balance.

      If they resist, tell them you’re looking into bankruptcy and moving to Brazil. And hang up.

      Ronald West

  17. pat refat says:

    I’m in Ontario
    My last credit xard payment was March 21,2012
    I just got served eith court paper file on May 29.
    Does the state if limitation applys to me?
    Please help.

  18. Joan says:

    When does the 2 year limit end?? After one year and 3 months a solicitor for the Credit Card company filed a Statement of Claim to sue with the courts. I replied with my defense as I was advised to do. It is now more than a year after the Statement of Claim was filed and they have not filed the actual Lawsuit. Does the 2 year period end when they filed the Statement of Claim, or when they actually file the Lawsuit?

    • TheMan says:

      Again, I am TOTALLY not a lawyer, so take what I say as total speculation… Maybe they budgeted just enough money to file the statement of claim, but they don’t REALLY want to go thru with a suit, as that’s a bit more expensive for them (esp. if they’re not the original debt holder, and thus they purchased the debt at pennies on the dollar – what that means is that if you owed $10000, they bank may sell that debt to a collection agency for $3000 or so, so the lawsuit would have to be far cheaper than $3000 for them to make any profit.)

      If that’s the case, the Statement of Claim was maybe a hopeful “if we do this thing that costs us $250 of legal costs to do, our research says that 75% of customers pay” so your filing an appeal may have made them think twice about the next step. HOWEVER, I have NO IDEA what this means to a statute of limitations. Maybe someone wiser can chime in here, but remember, the longer your debt ages, the cheaper it is on the resale market. That $10000 (or whatever) will soon be sold for $500 to some agency – this statute of limitations question aside.

      Good luck!

      • Ronald West says:

        Absolutely! Good thinking on that. Often these pirates will send out a Draft copy of an unfiled Writ and scare the crap out of the normally honest grunt that just wants to work and pay his/her bills but can’t at the moment, owing to life happening.

        That’s the problem with this system. No leeway and the credit reporting system is a joke. The 2 year limitation period should also apply to credit reporting.

        Don’t forget folks. The 2 year limitation period only applies to being sued. Your credit will still stink for 6 long years.

        Best to settle with them if you can but do it quickly because settlements reset the 6 years limitation period for credit reporting.

        If more than 2 years has passed don’t bother unless you can negotiate a letter of deletion.

        Ronald West

    • Ronald West says:

      The Statement of Claim is the lawsuit. It would have specified a date to appear. If you did not appear, Default Judgement would have been entered.

      You really should talk to a lawyer but you can apply to have the judgement set aside but before doing that, go to the court registry that is given on the Statement of Claim and ask if there’s a Default Judgement against you.

      Ronald West

      • CarlB says:

        A statement of claim would not contain the trial date, as the court would need to wait to see if the victim files a defence to even know if this is to go to trial (the rules depend on the court, in Ontario Small Claims the defendant has twenty days to demand their due process of law by filing a defence). Furthermore, there are steps between serving a defence and actually going to trial – usually some form of pre-trial conference at the court in an attempt at mediation is scheduled once a defence is filed. If the conference doesn’t yield an out-of-court settlement, the plaintiff request a trial date (in Ontario Small Claims, plaintiffs are advised to do this within 30 days after the pre-trial conference before the judge – which will be a different judge than the one at the actual trial. Until these steps are completed, printing a trial date on the original plaintiff’s statement of claim would be *way* premature and the court would not do this.

        I’m not a lawyer, but just went through a Small Claims case. It took the better part of a year, start to end. It’s not “I want to sue so-and-so” and the court immediately responds with “how fun! here’s your trial date” before the defendant even responds.

  19. Bran says:

    Hey ya,
    quick question for my roomie, his ex wife had a car loan and he cosigned, she didn’t pay and it has been over 7 years now all of a sudden the collectors have found him and are threatening him and saying he has to pay 12000 or they will wreck his credit. Can they? He says he talked to a credit councellor and they said he had to pay too but I’m not so sure? As far as I know the loan doesn’t show on his report. We are in ontario

    • TheMan says:

      After 7 years??? I sincerely doubt it – also, credit councillors get a slice of any settlement so I see them as very biased. Spend $50-100 and check with a lawyer, maybe?

  20. CW says:

    I have a personal debt that’s owed to me from December of 2012. It is over $12K, and is from a personal construction job where I had finished a “friends” basement. He refuses to pay the outstanding and what I charged was only my costs on the job. So I really don’t want to take this through a lawyer because I will be automatically out money. Is there anything I can do personally to get this person to pay? Have been told that I cannot put a construction lien on his house, because this has to be done within 30 days of the end of the job. Which is absurd because no one defaults on a pmt in the first 30 days!!! Please help in any way you can. Thanks.

    • TheMan says:

      I know you don’t want to pay a lawyer to represent you, but I’ve had some good experiences with lawyers who understand when people are tight on cash, and how can “make noise” sufficient to get some action taken. What I’m getting at is that you can represent yourself in small claims court, but that tops out at $1000 I think. Thus you’re probably wanting the big guns… But… You can hire a lawyer to create a letter (typically just costs $100 or so) that implies you are willing to go ahead with further, expensive legal action to get those $’s back. This is the same thing the collection agencies often do. However, it’s up to you at any time to say, screw it. So, why not get a lawyer to make some nice sounding “we’re considering suing you for 12k plus interest” letters? HOWEVER … to ensure you get something back, my personal advice is give the guy an out: Yes, we’re suing for $16k and court costs, but if you pay me $11k we’ll just call it even. Etc. Give the guy a way to want to avoid calling HIS lawyer.

      Just some total “out of my a@@” advice, but I hope it helps. :)

      • CarlB says:

        The current limit for Ontario Small Claims is $25000, not $1000. It was $10000 back around the turn of the millennium, but was raised since then. The only catch is that one can claim for money or return of property only – so it’s not possible to take out an injunction or restraining order against someone without going to a higher court. The upside of Small Claims is that it is designed for non-lawyers and the most your opponent can demand to be repaid for legal fees if you lose is 15% of the original disputed amount – which is important as in some cases a well-heeled adversary will simply try to bankrupt you in legal fees before any justice is done.

  21. Carrie says:

    so I have had a collection agency calling me telling me I owe a Zellers credit card bill of about $300. from 22 years ago. He tells me now with interest the bill is up over $3000. It was an honest mistake that I did not make payments on the bill then moved and it just got forgotten about so I did feel bad that I owed this money, so when the collection agency offered to take it down to 3 payments of $328. to a total of $984. I accepted and made two payments over two months….. I was just told last night by a friend that I should not make the last payment this month and tell them to shove the bill because it has been so long and I have already payed them way over my original bill. So im wondering if I have screwed myself over by making the two payments? Its not like I have the extra $328. to give them anyway! Please help, as I have no clue on this topic…..Thanks in advance.

    • TheMan says:

      I think you probably made a mistake by paying them, but that’s my opinion, and whatever, we all make mistakes (the fact that I have a blog about this stuff sort of hints that I made many mistakes :) )… now, you may have sort have entered into a contract of sorts, where “if I pay X dollars you give me something.”

      In this case, what they give you is they stop calling you. And what you give is that ~$1k. So if you’re thinking of stopping that final payment, that means they can continue calling you, plus, possibly, you’d be in breach of that contract. Now, this is legal territory, and I’m not a lawyer, but think about how this all worked from their end:

      1) Your debt was 22 years old. The company bought that for probably $5. Maybe more, maybe less – at that age they had very little chance to find you, never mind collect.
      2) You gave them pure profit in those first two payments. The guy calling made commission, the company paid bills. They’ll really lucky.
      3) If you start to make “screw you guys, I’ve called a lawyer and he said stop paying” noises, or “my son just died and now I can’t eat, so I’m done with you,” or whatever story you want to make up, I suspect – but don’t bet on this because I said so – they’ll just happily walk away with what they have.

      Now, the wording in the legislation is tricky, so a lawyer could actually clarify, but it seems to me that they did really, really well on this “account” so they may just walk away happy, BUT … there’s that wording about “once you make a payment, the debt can be considered active again.” … So if they’re total dicks, maybe they can sue you for the original debt? (the interest is a silly calc, as zellers is obviously not counting it anymore. That’s just wishful thinking…)

      Anyway, hopefully someone smarter here can clarify, but I’d personally put up a fight from here on it:

      “Your company has made 98% profit on this account, I’m not paying that last installment, please only contact me via mail from now on so I can send it to my lawyer.”

      See what they say: If they come back with a TRUE legal letter, then pay that last installment. I doubt they’ll bother.

      Good luck!

      • CarlB says:

        A threatening letter from a lawyer can be purchased very trivially just by paying a fee. It’s usually so packed with weasel words like “my client may take further action” as to be worthless, and (even if the original claim were fraudulent) the lawyer will keep enough wiggle room to walk away instead of having to account for any legal threats made.

        A plaintiff’s statement of claim, filed with an actual court, requires an immediate response (the victim must file a defence within a very narrow time frame) but empty legal threats are, for the most part, not worth the paper they’re written on.

  22. AJ says:

    I just rcvd a call from a collection agency saying I owe money ($888) on a Bell mobility bill from 2002. 12 Years ago!
    Does the statue of limitations work for before 2004?
    They have a lot of personal info. SIN, Address etc. How can I ensure that it is destroyed and not sold to another agency? I called Bell and they have no record of outstanding $ or anything connected to my name since it was so long ago.

  23. Victor says:

    Hi, yesterday a Collection Agency sent me a letter indicating I owe $67 to eBay for seller fees. I don’t dispute the amount I just felt eBay was totally gouging me so I didn’t pay but never suspected they would go after me for such a little amount.

    A co-worker told me anything under $100 can not affect my credit rating but I couldn’t find this anywhere when I searched for the answer.

    Do you know if this is correct and is it referenced somewhere or just some unwritten rule?

    • TheMan says:

      I am personally unfamiliar with this “minimum amount rule” – although it does make some sense if it exists (otherwise credit agencies could go after you for a $2 unpaid charge, and ruin your ability to buy a house, etc. Hopefully someone else reading this can add details/experiences?

  24. Blair Davis says:

    I dropped out of college in January of 2010 without formally dropping out. Now 4 years later they are coming for me to pay for a course in which I did not attend. Does this statute of limitations apply to this as well? Or am I screwed? In the most recent letter they are threatening being taken to court. Not sure what to do, any help would be appreciated.

    • TheMan says:

      In reading of the statutes, I seem to recall that student loans have their own “special” (typically harsher) rules … My advice is to contact a student body at a university (even if you didn’t attend – ask really nicely for any referral/advice) that does consultations for students and see if they can give you any advice of where to go/who to talk to. Most universities have activist-minded law-student folks doing pro-bono work for students, but if bored they may be encouraged to at least read you their take on the statutes. This is a long-shot, but who knows, eh?

      • Phil says:

        If you are in Ontario contact Canadian Federation of Students
        338C Somerset Street West
        Ottawa, Ontario
        K2P 0J9

        Telephone: (613) 232-7394
        Fax: (613) 232-0276
        Or the Toronto office they have a staff member that can help you for free.

  25. Isabel says:

    How long does an old debt owing take to come off your credit report?

  26. Jennifer says:

    I just called a Lawyer for advice about a Collection Agency that is calling me for a debt that is 17 years old. I am to tell them that the Statue Bar has passed and to stop calling me. I was advised that the calls should stop, but if they do not stop in about a month or so I will seek advice again. When the agency calls me it is only an Automated Voice Message from FDR Canada (Fiancial Debt Recovery) containing the Reference number and to call them about an “urgent” matter. I did already speak to a representative at this company and I told them not to call me, but it continues…….They cannot do anything. I also learned that the Statue of Limitation here in Canada is now 2 years and not 7 years :)

    • TheMan says:

      Yes, the Statute is two years, but bad debt does appear on your credit rating beyond the two years. What that statute means is that after those two years of NO payments whatsoever, they can no longer take any legal recourse against you. They can still call you and hassle you, until you tell them to screw off or negotiate a final solution with them. :)

    • Phil says:

      The Statue of limitations in the province of Ontario is 2 yrs to collect the unsecured debt. The debt can stay on the credit rating for 7 years. One of the two credit rating agencies says that there policy is to remove notations after 6 years. I don’t believe it I think they say this so when it is not removed and you call them they can start the statue clock again for another 7 years.

  27. David says:

    So I recently got a call from a debt collector, for a zellers credit card. I did pay it all off in 2000-2001 not exactly sure when. They told me i still owed them 2400$ and I know i paid this, however being as its so long ago I dont have any of those records I mean taxes we’re supposed to keep for 7 years this is double that. They told me i would have to contact zellers (which by the way went belly up) and have them search the archives, Do i truly have to do anything about this? I dont want to be bothered by them and 2 years ago I had my credit report and it was clean. what’s your suggestion with all this? Also how in the world did they get a private number?

  28. Jill says:

    Hi there,

    I borrowed a sum of money from my significant other 4 years ago. I paid back most of the debt until I found he was cheating. We agreed verbally that the debt was taken care of and we would end the relationship civilly. I have not heard from him since. I have just been served with small claims court papers for the difference owed. However the date of my last payment compared to the date on the court papers is 2’years plus 7 days. Would the SOL apply in my favor even though it was a verbal agreement?


  29. CharlesPron says:

    I couldn’t figure anything out really. There’s just too many different opinions. I just called a debt relief program and they answered questions for like 30 minutes without charging me anything. They tried to sell eventually on some of their programs eventually, but the advice was great! Heres national debt reliefs number if anyone wants to try it 855-531-0255.

  30. JACKY says:

    so I just got a call about a phone bill I owe two different companies telus was 8 years ago bell 5 years ago.. telus collection agency just called me they want 6000 there Is a 24 percent interest rate so it keeps going up I tried to deal with them years ago but they wouldn’t budge they wanted it all… I just went at the beginning of the week and got my credit check and both are not on there and its passed the sol so my question is can they at any time put in on ur credit report??

    thanks for any info

    • Braden says:

      If your in Ontario the sol is 2 years from the last payment you made. They can call if they really wanted too but after 6 years it can no longer be reported on your credit report, however sometimes when it changes collection agencies it can be put on although you can have it removed.

      • Mark says:

        So I have a credit card with Capitol one…. My last payment was November of 2012…. I have a lawyer calling saying they will take me to court and garnish my wages…. Is it true the sol will not let that happen???? Need answer asap

        • TheMan says:

          My caveat is that I’m not a lawyer – I just read up a bunch on the stuff.

          So, what I believe to be the truth is that:
          1) If you are in Ontario and your last payment was indeed in 2012, which is > 2 years ago, you have gone outside the SOL, and yes, they cannot actually take you to court.
          2) They will hint that they “may take action” or that “in other cases they have taken people to court” etc. but they are really good with wording. I do not believe they would actually say that they will sue you unless the guy on the phone is willing to let his office get fined for misrepresentation (which he may. :) )

          So here’s what I would do: Ask them outright. Record the call, and tell them you are doing it, then ask them specifically: “You know that this is beyond the statue of limitations. Are you still saying you are able to sue me?” – I suspect they will be tongue-tied, or they’ll use “mealy mouthed” phrasings like I did above (“may”, “have with other cases”, etc.) but they will not say yes.

          If they do say yes, apparently the law is not as I know it (this is provincially based, remember – I’m not sure what the SOL is in other provinces, but it’s available online) I would contact a lawyer if the value of the card is high enough (if it’s under $2000 I have never seen them do anything – I have had $4000 cards from a divorce mess that they didn’t bother to pursue, for whatever that’s worth.)

          Good luck!

  31. Devon says:


    I had a Future Shop credit card 14 years ago, I haven’t made a payment in 12 years and lost all contact with them for a very long time. I have since bought a house, got married, etc. This agency calls me once a week about the debt in the amount of $4300 or something. I told them to take a hike, they call all the time and I am fine with that, it’s become almost a game at this point.

    I have NO intentions to ever admit or make a payment to them because I am aware that in doing so, will reset the clock and I am back to square one. My question is, can this ever go back on my credit report even if I tell them to screw off? Is there anything I can say to them on the phone to let them know I am aware of my SOL rights?

  32. Tj says:

    Just to make things clear.
    The SOL does not prevent creditor from launching a lawsuit.
    It only prevents them from winning, but the onus is on you to raise it in court as an affirmative defense.
    Second in Ontario once the 2 yr SOL has expired nothing you do can rest the clock. The acknowledgment must be made before the expiry of the SOL.

  33. mary says:

    I received a letter from NCO financial stating that I owe $16000.00 from 2001 and that if I’m willing to take care of the debt they would reduce it to $2800.00. Can they collect this debt if I refuse to acknowledge it? Just cleaned up my credit in august and it isn’t on there.

    • TJ says:

      No they can not win in court, the debt is too old.
      Just ignore their offers but do check your credit report couple times a year.

  34. simple says:

    I recently found out that I owed cibc for student loan that was taken out in 1998. I believed I started paying for the loan in 2009, but stop paying back also in 2009. Now I was checking my credit report and notice that this student loan is on my file and inquiry about it, only to find out that I owed cibc 6000 for a loan that I received for student loan. My question is. Should I pay them. And can they garnished any money from me, for such a old debt. And will this be taken off my credit file 7 years from 2009.

  35. Chris says:

    I have an Ontario student loan of over $12000 that’s about 17 years old which had gone to collections about 15 years ago. Eos NCN Canada has now contacted me and said I need to apply for a personal loan before they will enter payment discussions, even though they had brought up the option in our original conversation. I’m willing to live on rice & beans for a couple of years if need be, but do I really have to apply for loans and let them know my employer info etc? Would rather just pay the $500+ a month and be done with it.

    • CarlB says:

      If you don’t have the money, let them take the matter to court and then explain your financial circumstances to the judge. You have every right to ask the court to give you more time to pay if you can show a legitimate need – in some cases, courts can even issue debt consolidation orders if multiple claims are outstanding.

      Do not borrow more money… that’s only getting you in deeper, which would be a very stupid move. Pay your rent and essentials first.

  36. kelly says:

    I live in Alberta and just got a call from a collection agency Action Collections (ACRM), they are trying to get me to pay a payday loan from 8 years ago. They had all of my information too. What do I do?

  37. Scott says:

    I have been contacted just recently from a collection agency representing CIBC. They tell me I’m in arrears for a auto lease that occurred 14 years ago. To my knowledge I’ve never personally leased a vehicle. They claim to have my signature on an application and they claim to have being trying to contact me. So for 14 years I hear nothing, receive nothing by mail and now they say I owe them $3,000.00. Do they have any claim at all after this much time has past?

    • TheMan says:

      If it were me, I’d contest this at the bank and see if they can get the account back and shred it. It smells like some sort of identity theft fraud anyway, it predates and sort of impact on your credit rating so they can’t use that as leverage against you, it is so far back it’s just ridiculous.

  38. sam smith says:

    Hi Folks,

    What happens when you have an unpaid medical bill from UK (London, England), can an international collection agency go after your money here in Canada ? Can they bring a law suit against you ?

    • TheMan says:

      I believe (caveat, as always: I’m not a lawyer!) you are protected by the incredible mess that a cross-jurisdiction legal proceeding causes. What are they going to do, have you extradited? For a debt? Nope. It’s terribly difficult to get a local judge to recognize stuff from some other country. I suspect impossible, actually. Oh, they will pretend that they’re coming for you, and please send money ASAP, but I would be very, very surprised if they did.

  39. Mick says:

    When you stop paying your credit card balance does the credit card company sue for non payment or do they sell the debt to a collection agency. Will the collection agency take legal action? In Ontario can they attach a claim to your personal property, i.e house, car?

    • TheMan says:

      Hi, Mick,

      I wrote about that in detail elsewhere in the blog, but the short answer is this (from personal experience, not legal advice!):
      1) After 90 or so days, they start to get into the really angry sounding letters/phone calls from the bank
      2) They will decide if the amount is worth pursuing. This amount varies by bank. I suspect less than $2000-3000 is not worth the hassle, so they pass it on to a collection agency
      3) For the two years (in Ontario) after that last payment was made, you can be sued for that amount owing
      4) If you are sued, and cannot pay, they do have the option to apply for a lien, etc.

      All this said, I have had cards up to $5000 handed to collection agencies and I was never sued. Quite possibly I was lucky, but remember that the collection agencies buy the $5000 debt for $1000 or whatever at most, so if they want to go to court they’ll have to pay a lawyer to stand around for a couple hours (at $200/hr or whatever) and you start to see that it becomes not worth it. They still legally can, though, and if you piss them off enough, they may do so just to spite you, so I just didn’t answer the phone for two years (and sent letters causing them to worry that I’ll be hard to sue, as mentioned elsewhere in here.)

      Hope that helps!
      Good luck!

      • Mick says:

        Thanks for the information. I currently have an unsecured debt of $20,000., the result of personal issues and some recklessness of my own. I have tryed to negotiate a lower interest rate from the credit card company, but they refuse. currently 24.9% I anticipate if I stop making payments I will probably be sued because of the amount of the debt. I have considered bankruptcy but don’t want to take that route. I continue to make payments but only paying what I can currently afford. $200 less than the monthly required minimum.

        • CarlB says:

          Let them sue. The interest on a court judgement is 5%, not 24%. You also have the opportunity to explain your financial situation to a judge, just be sure to file a defence to any lawsuits within the narrow time limit as ignoring a lawsuit can get a default judgement which will rarely or never be fair.

  40. Jay says:

    I have a question. if a judgement has been sitting on my credit report for 5 years, and I still don’t have the money to pay it, and it is going to fall off next year, can they reissue it again? I’m getting mixed answers from the collection agency and from the bureau. What happens to debts when you cannot afford them and they are 5 years old? do they fall off or do they get re-opened if no payment has been paid? I’m poor, and couldn’t afford the bill in the first place.

    Also, I have a secondary question. Rogers Wireless allowed my brother who was a minor at the time to go into my account and change all my information to his information without first notifying me (the owner of the plan). Then they allowed him to make 3 phone upgrades and racked the bill up to $1161. I only found out about this when I was applying for a mortgage and this popped up on my credit. I was furious. I never once received a call or letter of any changes made to my account or of any bills owing. Now they want $700 to settle out and I refuse to pay when they allowed a minor to access and change the account without notifying me in the first place! What should I do? I offered to pay them $200 as the debt has been passed through 3 different agencies before they bought it back in 2012. What are my legal rights here with these 2 situations? My brother says that after a certain amount of time you only have to pay 20% of the debt?

    Please help me out.

    • TheMan says:

      After seven years it HAS to disappear from your report. As it is, assuming the rest of your credit has been good since then, banks will ignore stuff that is that old, if you have some viable excuse you can give them verbally, etc. (divorce, loss of job, etc.) There is no way they can re-issue it. It’s gone, they lost out a chance to recover it in the first two years, they lost, you won.

      As for Rogers, assuming “they bought it back in 2012″ – that’s an issue that’s almost less about debt and more about regulations, and I cannot answer that as well – I would note that they are in a fairly heavily regulated industry (with both fed and provincial regulations.)

      That implies that if you start to say that you’ll phone up the CBC or the CRTC or whatever, they may start to worry about bad press or fines. But for that to work you’ll need to start to move towards paper correspondence (with CC’s to Rogers people in the Public Relations branches) and do some homework on regulations and on escalating up to people in Rogers with enough power to:

      1) Reduce the debt to whatever you (and that annoying kid 😉 ) can pay off
      2) Promise to not ding (or to expunge) your credit report of this stuff if you promise to not escalate to press/regulatory bodies

      That’s how I’d attack it, anyway.

      • CarlB says:

        The CRTC is a joke, it used to be a good place to file consumer complaints but deregulation under Stephen Harper’s government has badly undermined that by sending complaints to CCTS, a body controlled by the major carriers themselves and therefore prone to dismiss complaints for even the slightest flaw.

  41. Rony says:

    Hi..I just got a phone call from Debt Control Agency today saying that I have outstanding payment of my credit card which I didn’t pay since 2002. Yes, I had some outstanding left (around 1000 or 1500) but I believe it was not that big of 6,600 and all of a sudden they said that their client is offering me to settle the amount with 3,650 by this week. I shared my address and phone number but later found the website that this amount should be wiped off after 7 years and it should not affect any credit score. They said they can pull my SIN number and will contact Corruption agency and my employer to get this money. My question will this really put in me in trouble? Will there be any kind of trouble from my employer?
    Appreciate any good response.

    • TheMan says:

      I believe (as a non-expert, remember – consult a lawyer to be sure) that this is very much a bluff. The inflated amount is including “interest” that they pretend has accrued – that is also a bluff as far as I know. You used to owe the original amount only. Get a copy of your credit report to put your mind at ease an then tell these bums you are not an idiot so stop calling. There is no reason to pay them a penny as you get no benefit. The statute of limitations has passed and they can not legally access your employer without successfully suing you before 2004.

  42. Lauren says:

    I wanted to ask about my situation, if anyone can assist. I read through all of the comments but it looks like most of the debt is older than mine.

    I just received an e-mail from a collection agency saying I owe $178 to my old property management company for the apartment I last rented 3 years ago. They say they’ve registered the debt on my consumer report with Equifax and TransUnion.

    I had lived in my unit long enough that I was on a month-to-month lease and my rent was automatically taken from my account monthly. I bought my little condo, put in the required two months notice, moved out before the end of the month and cleaned the unit. No damages, no issues. My phone number did not change for a couple of years and my mail was forwarded for 6 months. I never heard from the rental company (though an known scummy landlord) about this supposed debt. In maybe 2012 they were broken up and sold to several other rental companies.

    I moved out Nov 30, 2011. I have not had rent or other payments deducted since then. My monthly rent was much more than $178, so I have no idea what that amount represents. The collection agency says the rental company “has retained them” to collect outstanding arrears. Again, that original rental company *no longer exists*.

    Can I contact the collection agency and tell them sorry, I’m not paying? Can I ask what the debt is supposed to be for and then tell them no? I don’t want to damage my credit but I’m not paying a debt I’m quite certain I don’t owe. It’s been more than 2 years, so they can’t sue me but can they impact my credit? Thank you!

    • TheMan says:

      First off, I have NEVER had an email from a collection agency. Did you mean regular mail? If they are using email, that’s new to me, and a surprisingly poor tactic (it’s hard to pressure people via email – it almost sounds like a scam more than anything else.)

      Elsewhere in this blog, I tell you how to ask for confirmation on the debt. Basically, before you get to the “I will pay stuff” part of the negotiations, you want to be sure about the amount, etc. Usually I have done it while actually knowing that the debt is legit, as a stalling tactic. In this case, it sounds like you really have a legitimate issue with this debt. Use real “snail mail” and if they don’t respond, send followup emails (always keeping copies for your records!) saying “on Feb 26th I sent you a request for information that you did not respond to. If you do not respond to either of these requests I will assume you are not a legitimate holder of this debt, and will contest this debt with the ratings agencies…” or something similar.

      What I would do if I were you is a combination of:
      1) Contacting the ratings agencies and tell them that you have issues with this debt. It’s a little bit of bureaucracy to get a letter too them with all the required information, but once they are aware that this is a potentially bogus claim being used as extortion for you to pay an amount you do not owe, they will be forced to add a note to the file(s)
      2) Write the above letter(s) to the credit companies saying you totally do not believe that this debt is legit and that you are contesting it, and asking for clarification on how that debt was accrued (they tend to ignore email, so you’ll need these for #3, below)
      3) Re-contact the ratings agencies and send copies of the letters and point out either how the collection agency did not respond or how they responded with incorrect information, and thus you want this expunged from your record.
      4) If you are really sure it wasn’t legit, contact the place you lived and see if they have any record of the debt. Keep track of any calls/emails/letters and times, etc. as you can use this to further bolster your case(s)

      Remember that (as you pointed out) while they could have sued you in the first two years (which have now passed) for that ~$200 but the chances are really, really slim as they would have bought the debt for $20 and a lawyer will cost $200/hr.

      Finally, a single totally explainable, well documented dispute with a single creditor is something you can work with if you’re applying for a mortgage or whatever. So do get those above docs (between you and credit rating agencies, etc.) and be prepared to bring them to a loan application at a bank.

  43. Mick says:

    Do creditors of unsecured debt place liens on personal property in Ontario?

    • TheMan says:

      Yes, but… It’s not that easy.
      1) They can only do so if they get a judge to make a judgement against you. This is fairly rare.
      2) Getting in front of a judge can be expensive for them, so they tend to do it only for larger debts. I have personally had debts larger than $4000 get ignored by the collection agency that by all rights could have sued me. They decided it wasn’t worth it, for whatever reason. Not a guarantee, and that was a few years ago now.
      3) They can only get that judgement during that statute of limitations. So do your best to get that to expire. DO NOT start to pay that down unless you know what you are doing. I expand on this in the blog here, but basically remember that the clock on the Statute of Limitation resets when you make a payment. So if it’s been 20 months since your last payment you would only have 4 more until the whole thing expires and you are free from the courts, but if you pay them even just one dollar, it resets to another 24 months where they would have the right to sue you. Also, it’s fine to come to an agreement with the collection agency, but do so only in writing and for a single payment. Don’t do any “here’s $100 to make them happy.” Trust me, it would NEVER make YOU happy. 😛

  44. Lisa says:

    Does the statue of limitations apply to old cable bills that have gone to collections? Just wanting to know cause I had one that went there almost 3 years ago.

  45. AnnaLisa says:

    1. In TransUnion Report, I have a debt record to RBC, for the line of credit, which is 8,5 years old; last payment was made in November 2006. Can I have this record removed without triggering the entire matter again? Or how should I deal with it? (I don’t have such record in Equifax though).
    2. I have another debt since end of 2006 – MTCU Student Loan (about $1200), which has gone to the collection agency. In TransUnion it’s indicated that the last payment was made in March 2011, which is a lie, as I was out of Canada for 8,5 years until recently, for personal reason(since end of 2006), and therefore could not make any payments. What I can do about it? Can I have this record removed from the Credit Report too?
    Also, in TransUnion it shows that ARO collection is dealing with this debt, while in Equifax it’s ACCTS Recovery Corp. What does it mean?

  46. BP says:

    Can anyone tell me how bad my situation really is? I separated from my spouse in 2007. I had to get another vehicle that year. I made monthly payments on it until Feb 2010 when I was severely injured in a car accident. I could not continue my payments. Bank wrote it off, sent it to collections, they said they don’t want the car back and I don’t want it. I spoke with them in 2012 when they contacted me by phone and I told them the most I could give them was 2000.00 of the 13000.00 they said I owed and that there is a lien on the car. They refused my offer so I told them there was nothing else I could do. I know have this car that just sits in storage that I don’t want. What are my options? Can they sue me? If they don’t want the car back what am I to do with it? Can I have the lien removed?

  47. Aman Saxena says:


    I got scammed off paypal. Well i didnt the purchasers account did. I sold goods on paypal and shipped to a VERIFIED address. it seems that the someone misused someones account and now the purchases account but in a chargeback that paypal is now holding me responsible for AFTER i have shipped the goods.

    Since paypal does not have my SIN but still has my bank account / CC info and address, once they send me account to debt collection can it still go on my credit score with just this info and no SIN ?

    please and thanks

    • CarlB says:

      The danger with Paypal is that, because they have your banking information, they can just go to your bank and help themselves (claiming that you authorised this). You might want to talk to your banker before they try anything like this as there are multiple websites (paypalwarning, paypalsucks, aboutpaypal) overflowing with complaints against this company, which is not a bank, not subject to the regulations which apply to a real bank and not to be trusted.

      At worst, you might end up having to change your bank account number to stop abuse of direct debits.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Ontario Debt Statute of Limitations"
  1. […] You know, there’s a bit more to discuss about this, so I’ll add a new post on the statute of limitations. google_ad_client = "pub-pub-108863738792"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; […]

  2. […] They apparently use what is effectively an on-staff lawyer named Bernie Gassey to help give the impression that things are progressing towards legal action, whether or not that actually occurs (and even with on-staff legal, getting in front of the courts with a prepared person can be a non-trivial amount of cost, so many smaller debts are probably not worth the hassle of actually suing… And remember the importance of the Statute of Limitations) […]

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