You have the right to fight back against the aggressive tactics used by a debt collection agency.
That wasn’t always the case. Before September 20, 1977, consumers were at the mercy of third party debt collectors, many of which implemented debt collection tactics that would have made loan sharks proud.
From calling at all hours of the night to threatening to seize private property to pay off outstanding credit card and personal loan balances, bill collectors had their way with consumers.
On that memorable September day in 1977, the United States Congress passed the landmark Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA forbids a large number of debt collection practices, as well as offers consumers the opportunity to recover financial losses caused by unethical debt collection agency behavior.
Michigan FDCPA Laws
Congress enacted the FDCPA with the intent of protecting every American consumer against the harassment leveled by third party debt collectors. The scope of the FDCPA covers consumers living in each of the 50 states.
Shortly after the FDCPA became law, a few states passed their own versions of the FDCPA to bolster the provisions written into the original federal law. Eventually, every state enacted FDCPA laws that give consumers more legal tools to fight back against bill collectors.
One of the key components of state FDCPA laws is called the statute of limitations for collecting outstanding consumer debts. In Michigan, the statute of limitations is six years for all forms of debt.
If a debt is more than six years overdue or a consumer hasn’t made a payment on a debt during the previous six years, then the debt is no longer valid.
Consumer Protections under Federal and Michigan Collection Laws
The FDCPA prohibits third party debt collectors from calling consumers between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am. If a bill collector calls you after nine at night and before eight in the morning, the first phone call you should make is to a Michigan licensed consumer protection lawyer.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collection agency isn’t allowed to threaten you in any manner. This includes threatening to contact law enforcement and/or threatening to speak with a relative about your delinquent credit card or personal loan account.
Moreover, debt collection agencies are prohibited from using deception to coerce consumers into paying off delinquent debts.
Michigan legislators have created a few additional FDCPA laws that protect consumers against aggressive bill collector practices. One law covers debt collectors and repossession companies, but it doesn’t cover banks and attorneys.
Michigan FDCPA laws contain a licensing provision, which requires debt collection agencies to obtain a license before starting a debt collection business. State law also gives consumers a remedy to recover financial losses.
Willful violations of Michigan FDCPA laws can cost a third party debt collector $150 plus the cost of attorney fees.
Speak with an experienced consumer protection lawyer today to learn how federal and Michigan FDCPA laws help protect you against third party debt collectors.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Michigan’s FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of an FDCPA attorney. You may be able to seek up to $1,000 in damages for each violation of the FDCPA. An attorney will be able to help navigate you through the entire process.