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Anyone care to interpet this law for me?

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M.C.L. § 445.257. Actions by persons suffering injury, loss, or damage; damages, fines,

fees, and costs

Sec. 7. (1) A person who suffers injury, loss, or damage, or from whom money was collected by

the use of a method, act, or practice in violation of this act may bring an action for damages or

other equitable relief.

(2) In an action brought pursuant to subsection (1), if the court finds for the petitioner, recovery

shall be in the amount of actual damages or $50.00, whichever is greater. If the court finds that

the method, act, or practice was a wilful violation, the court may assess a civil fine of not less

than 3 times the actual damages, or $150.00, whichever is greater, and shall award reasonable

attorney's fees and court costs incurred in connection with the action.

This is Michigan consumer law... now.. it says court may assess a civil fine of NOT LESS than 3 times the actuall damages.

Does a civil fine go to the state or to the plaintiff?



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Most definately. Not only for that reason, but also because Federal judges are versed in Federal Statute (ie: FCRA, FDCPA).

If you file in small claims, for example, you'll probably end up in front of a magistrate and they often don't understand that the FDCPA is a strict liability statute - meaning the violation is created when they violated the Act, and the "the disgruntled consumer" argument that so many magistrates and district judges allow is moot.

If I remember way back, a member went into small claims and the magistrate asked if they owed money. They said the underlying debt was irrelevent (which is true). The magistrate said to the effect, "if you owe them, I don't see what the problem is", and the case was dismissed.

District Judges are better, but not by much. Members have reported some behaving similarly to the magistrate scenario, other said they asked for the copy of the FDCPA to review it.

As with anything else, get the system to serve you best. Don't simply assume that just because you walk into a courtroom that justice will be served. :wink:

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As always, this is not legal advice, but when dealing with judges who just don't get it (or don't want to), a motion on your part to have the court take judicial notice of the strict statutory nature of the act (i.e., that your alleged status as a debtor isn't relative to their violation of the act) will at least help keep things on track and if they fail to grant the motion, it's a cause for an appeal.

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