If you owe a debt, there is a chance that you may be contacted by phone or mail by whoever holds that debt. While creditors in Michigan and elsewhere do have the right to make efforts to recoup what they are owed, there are limits to what they can do. Those limits are codified by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Don’t hesitate to ask for evidence of the debt

Upon request, a debt collector must give you specific information about a debt, such as the amount owed and the name of the original creditor. Furthermore, you must be told about your right to contest the debt and that you have 30 days to do so. Debt collectors cannot contact you about the debt during the verification process. If a debt cannot be verified, the party attempting to collect it will likely be in violation of the FDCPA.

You can tell a debt collector to cease contacting you

It is your right to tell a debt collector to put an end to phone calls or letters regarding an outstanding balance. However, there is a chance that whoever holds the debt will simply file a lawsuit against you, and you may not receive any advance notice that this is happening.

There is also a chance that the current owner of the debt will sell it to another person or company. If that happens, you will have to once, again, go through the process of verifying the debt and putting a stop to potentially harassing letters and phone calls. It is important to note that the FDCPA requires you to make these requests in writing.

Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make it possible to eliminate or reorganize medical, credit card and other debt balances. It may also allow you to put a temporary stop to creditor phone calls or letters. An attorney may discuss the benefits of filing for bankruptcy or explain the process of doing so.