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Manitobans are reminded to brush up on their rights when dealing with pushy creditors.

Collection agents in the province are licensed by the Manitoba Justice's Consumer Protection Office (CPO). Legally, collectors cannot phone or visit before 7:00 a.m or after 9:00 p.m Monday through Saturday, or any time on Sundays and holidays.

Agents cannot threaten you with any action for which they don't have authority, or deliberately mislead you with documents that look like court or legal documents. They likewise cannot seize property you own unless it's specifically pledged as collateral for your loan. They cannot harass you, your family, neighbours or friends.

The CPO suggest writing down the collector's name and the agency they represent and confirming they are registered. A collector cannot make a demand for payment unless you've been told the name of the creditor and the balance of the debt owing.

When you make a payment, you have the right to request a dated receipt, which should list the amount paid and the name of the creditor or company owed.

The CPO investigates complaints about collection practices. Individuals and businesses that fail to comply with the rules related to collection practices may be subject to penalties that range from $1,000 to $20,000.

For more information about debt collection, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/justice/cp/cpo/info/collection_practices.html

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