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When the collector calls…

Know Your Rights

Federal and State laws regulate debt Collection in Michigan. These laws give you certain rights in dealing with bill collectors.

The most important thing to do to protect your rights is to do all your business with bill collectors and creditors in writing. Keep copies of notes and letters and keep track of all phone calls.

Keep everything the collector sends you. Keep them in a safe place with your loan papers.

There are many things that collectors cannot do when collecting a bill.
For example, a collector cannot:

  • Threaten you or use physical force to collect a bill.
  • Use forms that look like court papers or legal papers.
  • Threaten to have you arrested if you don't pay.
  • Call you collect, or charge telegrams to your phone bill
  • Swear at you or use abusive language.
  • Tell anyone else about your bill, including members of your own family, neighbors or people at work.
  • Bother you at work, unless you have given written permission.
  • Send postcards about your debt, or letters in envelopes that say anything about your debt.
  • Operate with a false or assumed name.
  • Mislead you about the real situation with your loan, or give you false information about your legal rights.
  • Bother you at unreasonable times, too early in the morning or too late at night.

If a bill collector does any of these things, you should see a lawyer. You may be able to sue the collector for damages. If you sue, and the court finds that the collector knew he was breaking the law, you may be able to get three times the damages the collector caused.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice, see a lawyer.

If you fee you are being harassed, call a lawyer or your legal aid office.

Legal services of Northern Michigan can provide legal assistance to low-income persons in civil matters.

Click for free Michigan legal help and legal aid, or go to lsnmirp.org

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