In virtually every province in Canada, with the possible exception of British Columbia, a firm offering debt settlement services must be licensed as a collection agency. The only exceptions might be for those entities which are exempt from licensing–the most important exemption being for lawyers. Subject to these exceptions, any firm offering debt settlement services to Canadians must be licensed as a collection agency in a province where it operates.
Recently, someone sent me a link, www.completedebtsolutions.ca, for an outfit which calls itself Complete Debt Solutions. According to its website the firm offers debt settlement services in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. You will find the entire homepage for www.completedebtsolutions.ca reproduced below:
Homepage for Complete Debt Solutions
Contact page for Complete Debt Solutions
I have reproduced the bottom portion of the webpage titled “Contact” on www.completedebtsolutions.ca beneath this sentence.
Nowhere on this website does it state that Complete Debt Solution’s debt settlement services are limited to the residents of a specific province. On the Contact page for this website local phone numbers are listed for the residents of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba.
The Contact page for this website lists a Toronto address for Complete Debt Solutions at 1075 Bay Street, Unit 149. I would invite anyone reading this blog post who lives or works in the vicinity of this location to visit this address, and using their cellphone take a photograph of the nameplate on the wall in the hallway at Unit 149. Furthermore, I would invite anyone reading this blog post to attend at this address, enter the premises, ask to speak to a representative from Complete Debt Solutions, obtain the name of the representative and request a copy of their business card. I would then invite you to forward this photograph and any additional information you discover to me at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is Complete Debt Solutions lawfully permitted to offer debt settlement services to Canadian residents?
As noted earlier, with the possible exception of British Columbia, it is illegal for a firm to offer debt settlement services to members of the public unless it is licensed as a collection agency in that province. The Ontario Government maintains a website where a member of the public can confirm whether or not a firm is licensed as a collection agency in Ontario:
According to this website there is no firm by the name of Complete Debt Solutions licensed as a collection agency in Ontario. Nor is there any firm licensed as a collection agency with a registered office address at 1075 Bay Street, Unit 149, Toronto, Ontario.
I am currently in the process of contacting each province in Canada to determine whether or not Complete Debt Solutions holds a valid collection agency license in that province. I have found that debt settlement firms that are licensed as a collection agency typically make a statement on their website touting the fact that they are licensed to provide debt settlement services in a particular province. The website, www.completedebtsolutions.ca, contains no statements that the firm is licensed to provide debt settlement services in any province. Accordingly, I would be surprised if Complete Debt Solutions is licensed as a collection agency in any Canadia province.
Call on Ontario Government to take appropriate enforcement action against Complete Debt Solutions
I have taken the liberty of writing a letter, dated today’s date, June 22, 2015, to Doug Kariam, the Acting Ontario Registrar of Collection Agencies, requesting that the Ontario Government begin an investigation into the activities of Complete Debt Solutions and take whatever action is appropriate under the circumstances. You can read a copy of my letter to Doug Kariam which was sent to his office via e-mail and X-Press Post on Monday, June 22, 2015, which is reproduced below:
In the above-noted letter sent to the Acting Registrar of Collection Agencies in Ontario I indicate that I will be sending a copy of this letter to his counterparts in other provinces.
Anyone signing a contract with Complete Debt Solutions invited to contact Mark Silverthorn
I would invite anyone who has signed an agreement for debt settlement services after visiting www.completedebtsolutions.ca to contact me. I would like to learn who is responsible for putting up this website and which firm is actually providing the debt settlement services. With the consumer’s permisssion, I will forward a copy of the consumer’s debt settlement agreement to the provincial regulator responsible for regulating the conduct of debt settlement firms in that province.
If you have signed a contract for debt settlement services after visiting www.completedebtsolutions.ca then I would invite you to contact me at (866) 996-9941 or (519) 827-5513.