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Is the debt collection agency Midland Credit Management, Inc. Calling or Harassing You?

Midland Credit Management Inc. Profile:

Headquarters: 350 Camino De La Reina #100, San Diego, CA 92108, United States

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 939069, San Diego, California 92193

Telephone numbers: (800) 296-2657; (800) 825-8131s

Debt collection number: 888-405-9988 (one of the numbers their debt collectors use when calling you; others may be used as well). 

President and CEO: Ashish Masih 

Website: https://www.midlandcredit.com/

Introduction:

Founded in 1953, Midland Credit Management, Inc. (“MCM”) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, Inc. It employs an international workforce of over 4,000 employees, and iIt operates in all 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia. Overseas, it operates in Costa Rica and India.

Encore Capital Group,, Midland Credit Management, Midland Funding and Asset Acceptance Capital Corp are all part of the same family of companies -- Encore Capital Group is the parent company, while the other three companies are siblings. This group of companies “enjoys” perhaps the most dismal record of consumer complaints of any debt collection agency in the US. 

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Complaints:

Although MCM maintains an A- BBB Rating, such ratings are notoriously unreliable. More revealingly, MCM received only one of five possible stars based on BBB customer reviews and complaints. MCM has been the subject of over 1,000 complaints to the BBB over the last several years. 282 complaints were closed in the last 3 years, and 94 complaints were closed in the last 12 months.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Complaints

Encore Capital Group, MCM's parent company, has over 1,500 consumer complaints registered with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a government agency. At least as recently as 2015 Encore, together with the three subsidiaries mentioned above (including Midland Credit Management, Inc.) was the nation's largest debt buyer and collector. 

CFPB allegations against Encore include:

  • buying debts that were either inaccurate; unenforceable or lacking proper documentation to prove their validity;
  • collecting payments on unverified debts;
  • pressuring alleged debtors using misrepresentations; and
  • filing mass lawsuits using robo-signed court documents.

Consumer Reports Accusations:

Consumer Reports has accused MCM of employing collection practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as other statutes. based on behavior such as:

  • Contacting third parties about debts, including employers and relatives;
  • Employing deceptive means to ensure payment of the debt;
  • Refusal to compromise with distressed debtors;
  • Threatening legal action that the company was not entitled to take, such as garnishing wages before a judgment had been rendered, or unilaterally liquidating the debtor's assets;
  • Attempting to collect non-existent debts; and
  • Failing to issue the alleged debtor with a debt verification as required by law,

Consumer Affairs Complaints:

Consumer Affairs is a private watchdog organization, and its reviews of MCM were perhaps the most dismall of all. Overall, MCM, which is not accredited by Consumer Reviews, received one out of five possible stars, based on 200 consumer reviews -- hardly a small sample. These reviewers accused MCM of the following offenses, among others:

  • Calling them repeatedly at work;
  • Harassing third parties (people who use the debtor's old telephone number) and refusing to stop even after being informed that the number no longer belonged to the debtor;
  • Refusing to compromise with physically disabled debtors;
  • Using insulting and derogatory remarks to shame debtors;
  • Notifying a debtor of a lawsuit by taping a notice to the door of his old address; (notification normally must take place through in-person face-to-face service);
  • Charging outrageous late payment fees;
  • Calling several times a day to collect an illegitimate debt;
  • Providing a false return address to prevent alleged debtors from disputing a debt before the applicable deadline expires;
  • Arbitrarily adding hundreds of dollars to a debt; and
  • Refusing to provide validation of the debt being pursued.

 The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

Almost all of the foregoing allegations, if true, would violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the FDCPA, you have the right to:

  • control your communication with third-party debt collectors such as collection agencies;
  • prevent harassment or abuse;
  • demand that the debt collector be strictly honest with you;
  • prevent unfair tactics, such as soliciting post-dated checks from you; 
  • receive validation of your debt containing enough information for you to be able to tell whether the debt is legitimate; and
  • many other rights too numerous to list here.

You have rights under other statutes too, such as the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Consult a lawyer to learn the full extent of your rights,

Lawsuits, Administrative Penalties and Other Sanctions:

Encore Sanctions:

In response to the CFPB allegations leveled in 2015, MCM's parent company Encore was ordered to:

  • Reform its debt collection practices;
  • Refrain from reselling its debts to third parties;
  • Pay a fine if $10 million;
  • Refund customers over $40 million; and
  • Cease collection efforts on $125 million in debts.

All told, Encore's total losses exceeded a staggering $175 million, not including the opportunity costs associated with reforming its debt collection practices. .   

MCM Sanctions:

MCM has been bleeding too, although not as heavily as Encore, due to its smaller size. All told, however, it has been ordered to pay back millions of dollars to consumers. In a 2015 case, for example, MCM was ordered by a Colorado court to pay a $23,000 fine in response to a consumer complaint. 

Far more serious sanctions were assessed against MCM in State of Alaska, District of Columbia, et al., v Midland Credit Management Inc. in 2018. MCM was accused of using illegal means to collect debts by failing to verify debts or properly document these debts. As a consequence, MCM entered into a settlement agreement that obligated it to:

  • pay $577,783 to consumers in the District of Columbia;
  • pay $25,000 to each US state;
  • provide accurate information about valid debts;
  • pay a $6 million penalty to the states;
  • Refrain from debt-reselling activity for at least two years; and
  • Retrain its agents.

Although the settlement did not include an admission of guilt of illegal conduct by MCM, such clauses are typical in settlement agreements where the paying party has the bargaining power to demand them.

If you are being harassed by any of the companies in the Midland Credit Management, Inc. family, contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation at 1-800-219-3577.

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