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Business Sudden Closure
The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN A BUSINESS SUDDENLY CLOSES
Consumers need to act quickly to protect their rights and to help the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division investigate, and hopefully resolve, disputes that arise when a business suddenly closes.
THE FIRST STEP: Limit YOUR financial loss
THE SECOND STEP: FILE A COMPLAINT IF A BUSINESS CLOSES AND THEY FAIL TO DELIVER GOODS OR SERVICES
If a business unexpectedly closes, and they fail to deliver goods or services, you should file a complaint as soon as possible to help minimize any potential loss and maximize the Consumer Protection Division's ability to intervene. The Consumer Protection Division will try to recover as much as possible for consumers before a business files for bankruptcy.
PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY: A BUSINESS CLOSURE AND YOUR PERSONAL FINANCIAL OR MEDICAL RECORDS
Even if a business suddenly closes, that business is still required to protect your personal financial information or medical records. If you are the owner of a small business that closes, be sure to speak with a private attorney who can advise you on the steps you must take to safeguard personal records, because failing to do so may result in state or federal law enforcement actions.
The same is true for operators of medical or dental offices that close suddenly, as they are subject to various state and federal laws, rules, and regulations that require health care providers and their associates to safeguard medical records. If you are a patient and your medical or dental office suddenly closes, contact the office if a number is available to inquire as to the status of your records, and see if you can pick them up or if the records can be sent to another provider. If you are unable to contact anyone at the office that has closed, contact the Attorney General's office. We will work with the company and the appropriate state licensing entity to facilitate the return of your medical records so you can obtain care from another provider.
CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF A BUSINESS CLOSURE BEFORE PURCHASE
Consumers should consider the possibility of a business closing before they make a substantial purchase and take steps to limit any potential loss should something happen to the business before any goods or services are delivered. Although it is possible for businesses to suddenly close without any past history of trouble, some research before a purchase can help you avoid many problems.
LIMIT DOWN PAYMENTS AND BE WATCHFUL OF PROBLEMS
Consumers should always limit the amount of money paid up-front:
Problems can appear in multiple forms, but some of the most common include missed delivery dates, requests for extra money before delivery, and changing stories about delivery delays. Swift action can be the difference between holding a refund and holding the bag.
Consumers may file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division:
Consumer Protection Division
Toll free: 877-765-8388
www.michigan.gov/ag (online complaint form)
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