Should Law Society be concerned about marketing on behalf of Ontario Debt Law?

 

Sometime in July of 2015 a new player entered the debt settlement marketplace in Ontario, Ontario Debt Law.  The first two sentences of a marketing letter on Ontario Debt Law letterhead, dated August 12, 2015, reads as follows:

 

Ontario Debt Law (ODL) is a Canadian law firm that is owned and operated by Angelo Serafini, J.D.  Angelo has been practising law for over 30 years and is currently a Deputy Judge.

 

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This document–together with several other pages–were sent to a prospective client of Ontario Debt Law in August of 2015.  In August of 2015 Ontario Debt Law held itself out to the public as operating from 188 Wilkinson Road, Brampton, Ontario, the same building where OCCA is located. 

 

The only services performed by Ontario Debt Law appear to be “debt settlement services” as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act.  In late 2015 a mystery shopper contacted Ontario Debt Law and made arrangements to meet in person with representatives from the firm.

 

Statements made to a mystery shopper in late 2015

Sometime in late November or early December a mystery shopper attended in person at 188 Wilkinson Road in Brampton, Ontario, home to Ontario Consumer Credit Assistance (OCCA), one of the largest debt settlement service providers in Canada over the past decade.  During this meeting two individuals–one female and one male–encouraged the mystery shopper to become a client of Ontario Debt Law.

In this 1:00 video clip the person meeting with a mystery shopper describes herself as “just the greeter”.

 

In this 2:37 clip the female representative identifies herself as an employee of OCCA.  She explains the various tasks performed by OCCA, Angelo Serafini, and Ontario Debt Law.

 

 

In this 1:22 video clip a male representative explains how OCCA and Debt Helpers–a marketing firm– work under the umbrella of Ontario Debt Law.

 

 

The mystery shopper advises the female representative that she is three months in arrears making payments on her Rogers bill.  The representative advises her that if she becomes a client of Ontario Debt Law then the law firm can stop collection calls on her Rogers bill.  In fact this statement is not entirely accurate.  With respect to non-bank debt, a lawyer can take certain actions to stop collection calls from a creditor’s collection agents, collection agencies or law firms.  A lawyer who is representing a debtor, however, cannot stop collection calls from the original creditor.

In this 1:12 video clip a female representative working at OCCA’s premises in Brampton, Ontario–who describes herself as an OCCA employee–misrepresents Ontario Debt Law’s ability to stop collection calls on the mystery shopper’s outstanding Rogers bill.

 

The mystery shopper spoke to a second representative from Ontario Debt Law who made a number of troubling statements on a variety of subjects including the merits of making a consumer proposal, the impact of an informal proposal on a consumer’s credit report, and the legal consequences of the expiry of Ontario’s 2-year statute of limitations.

The Law Society may have some concerns about some of the statements made by the male representative–captured on this 2:03 video clip–to a mystery shopper seeking information about Ontario Debt Law in late 2015.

 

This representative misrepresents the legal consequences of the expiry of Ontario’s 2-year statute of limitations.  He also made the bizarre statement that “a consumer proposal is an expensive bankruptcy”.

 

Angelo Serafini is responsible for statements made by those marketing the services offered by Ontario Debt Law

A lawyer is responsible for the actions of anyone marketing his firm’s services to the public.  Therefore, lawyer Angelo Serafini is responsible for statements made by those marketing the services offered by Ontario Debt Law regardless of who employs the individuals responsible for these representations.

 

Contact me if you are a client of Ontario Debt Law

I would invite anyone who has become a client of Ontario Debt Law since July 1st of 2015 to contact me.  You are welcome to call me at 1 (866) 996-9941 or at (519) 827-5513.  Alternatively, you can send me an e-mail at markasilverthorn@gmail.com.

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You are welcome to contact me if you are a client of Ontario Debt Law.

 

 

 

 

 

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