What Is Considered Harassment by a Creditor in Michigan?
Under Michigan law, creditors and debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in any behaviour that would have the effect of harassing, oppressing or abusing an individual who owes or has owed money to the creditor. The term “harassment” includes but is not limited to repeated phone calls, threats of violence, profane language, and other verbal abuse.
However, the sad truth is that collectors often ignore these laws and abuse struggling families who have fallen behind on their payments due to financial difficulties. In many situations, the only way to stop the constant phone calls, harassment, and oppression for good is to file for bankruptcy.
Actions Considered Harassment
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal consumer protection law that restricts the types of collection tactics that collection agencies can use when attempting to settle debts.
Under the FDCPA, collectors cannot:
Use or threaten to use force
Use obscene or vulgar language
Make empty threats of legal action
Call you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
Call you incessantly in an attempt to annoy or harass you
Call you without disclosing their identity
In addition to the prohibitions of the FDCPA, which apply country-wide, Michigan has enacted state laws to defend its citizens from creditor harassment. For example, the Michigan Collection Practices Act (MCPA) provides residents with additional protections against harassment. While the FDCPA’s requirements only apply to third-party debt collectors, the MCPA is also applicable to creditors themselves.
According to the MCPA, a creditor cannot:
Make deceptive or false statements
Shame the debtor
Use harassing or abusive collection tactics
Can You Sue Creditors for Harassment in Michigan?
If a creditor or collector has committed harassment against you, procedures exist for pursuing a lawsuit against them. In some situations, the court may even grant you compensation. If you are experiencing creditor harassment, it’s essential to thoroughly document each and every violation. You should also contact a Michigan attorney to discuss your options when dealing with creditor harassment.
What Should You Not Say to Debt Collectors?
There are certain things you should never say when speaking with Michigan debt collectors. For example, you should never provide personal financial information such as bank accounts, your Social Security number, or details on your assets. A creditor can use this information to pursue wage garnishments, bank levies, or property liens.
You should also avoid making a “good faith” payment, promising to make a payment in the future, or otherwise admitting that the debt is valid. Even if you know that you owe the debt, making payments or promises can extend the statute of limitations, which is the deadline for the creditor to file a lawsuit against you.
How Do You Stop Creditors From Harassing You?
Many people who are drowning in debt think that creditor harassment is unavoidable. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. By filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, you can receive an automatic stay forbidding your creditors from taking any collection actions against you. In fact, they won’t even be able to contact you, which means those annoying phone calls will stop.
If you’re overwhelmed by constant creditor harassment, call or text DebtStoppers today at 313-880-3970 to request a free bankruptcy consultation with an experienced Michigan lawyer. We can develop a plan to stop the relentless bullying and get your finances back on track by wiping out your debts.