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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 84100
Experience:  Lawyer
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My daughter owned a business which she lost three years ago.

Customer Question

My daughter owned a business which she lost three years ago. She lost everything. She now works for the Bank of Nova Scotia. The business, a corporation had a bank account with an overdraft protection. the debt is $5000.00. A department at the Bank of Nova Scotia advised that back in September 2011, they mailed a demand letter. All it apparently was was a letter demanding payment. Since then, it went to a collection agency which I have beendealing with. No payments made yet. Two weeks ago, they took my daughters pay (100%) and they advised that they are allowed to do that. No legal papers were ever mailed.
The gentlemen advised that he doesn't have to send any legal papers. I always thought an originating notice had to be be sent and she would have 10 days to answer back and file the paperwork with the Sheriff's office or something. I didnot think that just because she worked at the bank that holds the debt athat they could take her money without legal paperwork. There wasn't any garnish and the Human Resource department did not do it.
Within the last two weeks, I had her claim bankruptcy on the business and they do have the order but I am still confused that someone can do that without any notice or legal paperwork and I thought the paperwork had to be mailed registered mail or hand delivered.
Would you please advise if rules have changed. She lives in Halifax.
Thank you.
Debbie Macdonald
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question.

Before I begin I want to explain a bit about how the site works.

It may be that I will find that I need to gather further information from you. As well, it's quite possible that you may feel the need to ask me additional questions for further clarification.Please do not worry that you will be charged additionally if I ask you questions or if you need to ask me questions. That is not at all how the site works.

As well, please understand that as a careful lawyer I will always give you an honest answer even if the answer is sometimes not what you were hoping for.

Finally, as we go through the process please do not feel rushed if I ask you a question. You are always free to take your time to gather more information before you post back. As well, please understand that even after you rate me the post will not lock and you could always come back for further clarification if you think of something a bit later on down the road.

I just want to confirm a couple of things.

Are you saying that she ended up working for the bank she owes the money to?

And is she an employee or independent contractor?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Yes, she works for the bank that she owes money. When the business closed, they contacted her and asked her to come for an interview because of her customer skills. She works in the Call Centre for the bank and has since she lost her business which was in 2010. The first and only letter sent from the bank was apparently in September 2011 which I now have a copy. It is only a letter demanding payment. so yes she is an employee. I was one of the owners and I am still waiting for my copy which apparently was sent to my home address but never received.


Debbie

Expert:  Legal Ease replied 9 months ago.
Did she give them permission to deduct money from her paycheque?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

No, she did not know about it. They just did it - no notice or anything. When it happened she contacted her HR department and they advised that no garnish or anything was received by them.


They have an internal messaging system called "sametime". She even asked the guy why he did not contact her on that. He did not answer. I personally think that he is a clerk that thought he could do what he wanted and that is why I am looking for information on the procedures of debt collection. I think he did it because he found out that she worked for the Bank. He works in Ontario and probably did not know that she was with the Call Centre in Halifax. It has been 3 years and quite a while since September 2011.


 


Also My daughter is a single parent with an eight year old child to support. It just wasn't properly done.

Expert:  Legal Ease replied 9 months ago.
If there was money in her bank account with that bank and she owes them money then they can take it without an order. And that happens all the time.

So if a customer of a bank owes a credit card company with that bank money then the bank will take the money owed to the credit card company from the account and they do not need an order to do so.

But it's not lawful to deduct money from a paycheque.

And that's what they did.

But I believe the way they worked around that law is that they likely do a direct deposit to the account. Then they took the money from the account.

I suggest that your daughter try and fight this by contacting the Employment Standards Branch and asking for help.

If the money came to her by cheque they could not have done this. I suggest that she take the position that they cannot do indirectly what they cannot do directly and file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch who may be able to get her pay back.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


Before we finish, I have a couple of questions. I need to go out also so I may be a couple of hours before I reply.


 


One of the questions would be the original debt was a numbered company and I realize that she could be held responsible but it was a different bank account. Why would they not have to take some procedure before going into a personal bank account that they made her open when she was hired there. She is not allowed to have her pay go into a different bank other than the Bankof Nova Scotia.


 


Who is this Employment Standard Branch. Is it part of the government of nova scotia?


 


Would you suggest that we personally write a letter to the VP of the Bank or that department or her Human Resource department and if we do, would she be in danger of losing her job. They could of called her. I could see if theymade an arrangement of some sort. Going forward, they cannot do anything as they have the bankruptcy order.


 


Debbie


 

Expert:  Legal Ease replied 9 months ago.
I assumed that she guaranteed the overdraft personally.

If that is not the case then this is not her debt at all.

It is starting to sound to me that they essentially tricked her into working for them to pay off the debt that may not even be her debt.

Yes it's a branch of the government.

She may be in danger of losing her job regardless of how you approach this but if she is essentially working for free now then what is the difference?

Unless the debt is now done and she can go forward and work and get paid. That would be a different story.

So I think you need to find out if she is personally liable, if the Employment Standards Branch can help and then what her options are.

It may make sense, given all these complex facts for your daughter to sit down face to face with a lawyer for a brief consultation.

She can contact the Law Society and use their Lawyer Referral Service. She will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be free.

The numbers to call are:

455.3135 (HRM) or 1.800.665.9779
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 84100
Experience: Lawyer
Legal Ease and 2 other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 9 months ago.
Thanks very much for the rating.

Please take the time to participate in the customer satisfaction survey as that will go into my record with the site.You will be sent an email with the survey in a couple of days.

And feel free to keep my name in case you need me again down the road. You can always put my name into the subject line the next time you post so that your question will stand out for me and I will answer it just as soon as I can.

Thanks and take good care!

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