Get Out of Debt Guy - Steve Rhode

Can I Be Chased for Debt From the UAE and India if I’m Living in Canada?

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Question:

Dear Steve,

I absconded from DXB shortly after graduating from my master’s degree program in 2014. I was working full time for an airline and pursuing my studies during my time off and leave.

I was fed up with the bullying from the company and (some co-workers) and had enough. The working conditions were deteriorating rapidly and I was burned out.

Left behind a credit card, loan, work visa. I am being contacted and harassed by a collection agency that can’t verify the debt. They are using the internet to find organizations and people I associate with to shame me into settling the debt.

I asked them to verify the debt by providing legal documents and not just photo copies. I filled a Consumer Proposal and have a trustee working on my behalf here in Canada.

What are the legal documents needed to verify a debt?

Do you have any knowledge of debt collection fraud and/or money laundering schemes involving agencies from the UAE and India that purchase unverified debts and then try to extort money from people?

The name on the loan in not my legal name, there is a typo. Does that matter in any way?

Marty

Answer:

Dear Marty,

I contacted Scott Hannah for some help with since he is a Canada expert. Scott is the CEO of Credit Counseling Society in Canada.

Here is what Scott had to say:

“We had a somewhat similar experience from a consumer with a large credit card debt that originated with a bank in the UAE. What the collection agency failed to understand initially was that when they are collecting a debt on a consumer who has relocated to a different country, the collection agency has to respect and follow the legislation and regulations of that country and not the legislation where the debt originated. In this consumer’s case, the legislation that applies is provincial not federal. This means this collection agency will have to abide by the provincial legislation where this consumer resides.

They cannot enforce the debt legally unless they were to obtain a judgement against this person in Canada. This is a costly endeavor. In answer to the consumer’s question if the collection agency went back to the original creditor and had them provide a certified copy of the original loan or credit card agreement with the consumer’s signature, together with a statement from the original creditor with an accounting of all payments and charges along with a letter from an appropriate representative of the creditor confirming that they have assigned or sold the debt to the collection agency this should be sufficient for the consumer to validate the debt. If they want to take legal action against the consumer they would have to get a judgment against the consumer in the UAE and then have legal counsel in Canada go through the appropriate court in Canada and apply for a judgment in Canada against the consumer. Unless the consumer has a lot in the way of assets like a house a judgment is not always easy to enforce and most creditors are not willing to do this unless the debt is substantial and the consumer has assets to realize.

With respect to the second question what does happen is that debt purchasing companies buy debts from creditors and typically for a fraction of the outstanding balance on each account (1 – 2 cents on the dollar). Mistakes can and do happen and we have seen many examples of debts that are statute–barred be sold to a debt purchasing company when the debt is for all intent and purpose uncollectable. The statute of limitations in Canada is typically 6 years on most debts and many provinces have adopted legislation to the effect that if a payment has not been received on a delinquent for more than two years, legal action cannot be taken on the debt. It still exists and could be reported on the person’s credit report and it will drop off once it reaches the limitation period. When a collection agency pays a fraction of the outstanding balance of the debt they don’t have to be successful on a lot of the accounts to generate a profit.

With respect to the name on the document I am not sure if this would hold up in court or not. If the consumer signed the agreement in good faith and the signature can be validated that they extended credit to the consumer I don’t believe this would excuse the consumer from being held liable for the debt but I am not a lawyer. I would encourage this consumer to have a detailed conversation with their trustee about this. I would also tell the agency to stop harassing him and if they fail to do so file a formal complaint with the provincial consumer agency responsible for administering the debt legislation in the province in which the consumer resides.”

That is great advice from Scott and it makes perfect logical sense. As always, whenever you have a legal threat from any entity, a good option is to seek out legal advice from an attorney who is licensed in the province you live in but as Scott suggested, talk to your Trustee first.


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