If you have had a debt turned over to a collections agency, you probably have been subjected to unfair collections practices. But if you don’t know what to watch for, how will you know?

Almost every collection company in Michigan has been caught using unfair collections practices. That’s why as a consumer, you need to protect yourself. Be on the lookout for these five unfair collections practices:

1. Accepting Postdated Checks

A collections company is not supposed to accept checks postdated more than 5 days in most cases. But many companies will pressure you to write a postdated check anyway and may threaten to deposit it early unless you pay them even more.

2. Hiding Their Collections Purposes

The first time a collections company contacts you, it must state “that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” After that, on every contact, the company must identify itself as a “debt collector.” You have a right to know if the person you are talking to is trying to get you to pay your debts. If the creditor doesn’t identify itself, that is an unfair collection practice.

3. Hiding The Amount Due

A debt collector must always disclose how much is due to an outstanding account. That includes fees, late charges, and interest. It is not enough for the creditor to allow you to dispute the debt. It must explicitly tell you how much is owed. Many times collections companies will gloss over additional costs and fees without giving you a breakdown of what you are actually paying. If you have any questions at all, ask for full accounting before you agree to any payment.

4. Threatening Criminal Arrest or Jail Time

It is an unfair collection practice for a collections company to say, or even imply, that you could be arrested or go to jail for failing to pay a debt. This is false. To be clear, you cannot be arrested or sent to jail for not paying your debts. But many companies will claim otherwise to get you to volunteer payment. Don’t fall for it.

5. Threatening Dispossession

Sometimes a creditor will have a right to claim the property a debt is connected to – like repossessing a car for failure to pay a lease. But creditors don’t stop there. Many will threaten to take other property and sell it to make up what you owe. This is an unfair collection practice that should be reported immediately.

A smart consumer needs to know his or her rights when creditors come calling. By being on the look out for these unfair collections practices, you can protect yourself and your family. Consumer Protection Attorney Dani K. Liblang can help you fight back against the collections agencies and protect you against their unfair dealings. If you are being harassed by creditors, contact The Liblang Law Office, PC, today for a free consultation.

Dani Liblang

Author Dani Liblang

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