Michigan Collections Law: The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, “FDCPA”

Michigan consumers are protected through a variety of both federal and state laws. Compliance with these laws is a big issue in civil litigation over debts, i.e., collections litigation.

Notably, Michigan consumers, in addition to Michigan State laws, are also protected by The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 USC 1601 et. seq.

Congress noted this act was designed to, among other reasons, “eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors, to insure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to promote consistent State action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.” Section 802 (e) 15 USC § 1692.

These series of laws are important in Collections cases for a lot of reasons. These laws are complicated and have been litigated frequently through both state and federal courts. However, there are a few notable things this act requires:

First, pursuant to Section 809, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1692g (a), creditors are required to send what are commonly known as debt validation letters. These letters provide written notice to a consumer that, among other things, they have thirty days to dispute the validity of the debt in writing, request documentation regarding the validity of the debt, and request the original name of the creditor. Creditors are still allowed to engage in some collections activities; as long as they do not “overshadow” or are “inconsistent with the disclosure of the consumer’s right to dispute the debt or request the name and address of the original creditor.” See Id., at (b).

This act also regulates when debt-collectors may contact consumers, prohibits “harassment and abuse,” and prohibits “false and misleading representations.” See Section 805, 15 USC § 1692c, Section 806, 15 USC § 1692d, Section 807 & 15 USC § 1692e.

It is true that everyone is entitled to represent themselves in court. However, it is highly encouraged that you seek out professional legal advice from an experience collections attorney. If you need professional legal assistance in this or one of our other areas of practice please Crowley, Cornish, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC. for a free initial consultation at 517.507.5077.