Michigan Debt Collection Laws

Mimi D. Kalish, Esq.

Submitted by Mimi D. Kalish, Esq., Senior Associate, Stillman Law Office


Published by The National List of Attorneys



About the author:  Mimi D. Kalish has been associated with Stillman Law Office in West Bloomfield, MI, for the last decade.  During that period, she has witnessed the exponential growth of this full-service collections firm, which now employs over 125 individuals in its Southeastern Michigan office.  Michael Stillman, the firm’s owner and founder, has expanded the reach of the firm beyond Michigan’s boundaries, with the formation of its sister firm, Schlee & Stillman, LLC, in 2006, serving several East Coast states.


Michigan Limitation of Actions

For most collection actions, there is a specific period of time during which a creditor may pursue the collection of a debt.  In Michigan, the filing of a breach of contract and/or open account action, for default of a credit card agreement, for example, must be done within the 6-year Statute of Limitations.  MCL §600.5807(8). The relevant date for determining when the six-year Statute of Limitations begins to run is the date of the last activity on the account, whether it be a purchase or a payment made.  For a debt arising out of the sale of goods which is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), a collection action must be commenced within 4 years after the cause of action has accrued. MCL §440.2725(1). In the sales scenario, a cause of action occurs when the breach occurs, regardless of the aggrieved party’s lack of knowledge of the breach. MCL§440.2725(2).  Civil judgments in Michigan expire 10 years after the date of entry, but may be renewed for another 10-year term if a motion to renew judgment is filed and an order entered prior to its expiration date.  MCL §600.5809(3). In order to collect upon a judgment entered in another state, where the judgment-debtor is now living in Michigan, it is necessary to first domesticate the judgment in the appropriate Michigan court.  A foreign judgment domesticated in Michigan is subject to the same 10-year date of expiration from the date of domestication, unless renewed by motion prior to its expiration date.  MCL §691.1173.


Civil Penalties for Bad Checks in Michigan

In addition to potential criminal consequences for passing a bad check, Michigan provides a civil remedy allowing for the recovery of treble damages, provided the injured party follows a two-step process.  MCL §600.2952 provides that upon receiving a bad check, the individual or business must send a letter to the debtor including the specific language from the applicable statute.  If the debtor fails to make payment on the check within 30 days, then the creditor is entitled to a judgment for the full amount of the check, plus damages in an amount equal to 2 times the amount of the check, or $100.00, whichever is greater, in addition to costs of $250.00.


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