Attorney General provides protection tips, sudden business closures

Consumers should know their rights and how to protect themselves if a business closes before paid goods or services are received.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is sharing tips to help consumers protect themselves in the event a business closes before delivering on their promised goods or services.

“Businesses sometimes close suddenly before customers have received the goods or services they paid for. This can cause undue hardships during the holiday season,” Nessel said. “Consumers should know their rights and how to protect themselves in the event that happens.”

In an online alert, Nessel recommends consumers follow these steps to protect themselves:

Limit your financial losses

  • If a purchase was made with a credit card, contact the credit card company to dispute the charge. Request that any related charges be removed from the bill. Information on how to dispute a charge can be found in your monthly statement.
  • If payment was made by check, contact the bank and ask for a stop payment on the check in question.
  • If long-term financing was arranged, contact the finance company. Dispute any payment for the goods or services that were not delivered.
  • If arrangements for automatic payments were made, contact that financial institution, and ask them to stop all future withdrawals from your bank account.
  • If an insurance plan was used for a personalized medical device, notify the insurance company.

Protect your privacy

  • Medical offices that close suddenly are subject to various state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Those laws require healthcare providers and their associates to safeguard medical records. If you are a patient and your medical office suddenly closes, contact the office. Ask about the status of your records. You have the right to receive your own medical records or ask that they be sent to another provider.
  • If you are unable to reach a live person, contact the Attorney General’s office. We will work with the company and the appropriate state licensing entity. We will facilitate the return of your medical records so you can obtain care from another provider.
  • If you are the owner of a small business that closes, be sure to speak with a private attorney. Your attorney can advise you on the steps you must take to safeguard customer records. Failing to do so may result in state or federal law enforcement actions.

File a complaint

  • Gather receipts, invoices, or bills that show what good or services were ordered. These items show what you paid and when delivery was promised.
  • Document all transactions. Keep any phone records and notes. These records show which company employees you spoke with and when.
  • Try to contact the company’s headquarters or customer service line.
  • Use the company’s website to lodge a formal complaint with the company.
  • If a business is located out of state, also file a complaint with that state’s Attorney General.
  • Finally, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team at 877-765-8388 or file an online Consumer Complaint.

Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll free: 877-765-8388

A library of consumer alerts created by the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team is available online and organized by a number of categories.