Midland Credit Management is a very large company that is the source of frustration and stress of many of our clients. Our clients typically engage us for matters involving lawsuits by Midland Credit Management or because they have become a victim of an FDCPA violation by Midland Credit Management. Because Midland Credit Management does not do business directly with consumers, individuals are often left confused and bewildered to have them continuously calling or even filing a lawsuit against them. So, who is Midland Credit Management?
Midland Credit Management is a Common Debt Buyer
Midland Credit Management is a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group. This company is a world-wide company that invests in debt. In North America, Encore Capital Group does this through their two subsidiaries, Midland Credit Management and Midland Funding. Midland Credit Management is typically the servicer of the debt for both themselves and Midland Funding however, both companies purchase debt. Midland Funding is the nation’s largest owner of unpaid debt.
Midland Credit Management is a Debt Collector as Defined by the FDCPA
Midland Credit Management is considered a Debt Collector under the FDCPA’s definition. This is because Midland Credit Management’s principal purpose is the collection of debt.
Recent rulings, specifically Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, state that a debt buyer is not a debt collector because they do not collect on a debt ‘due another’. However, the FDCPA also applies to a company whose “principal purpose” is “the collection of …debts”. Because Midland Credit Management does nothing but collect on debt for profit, they are subject to the FDCPA as debt collectors.
The Original Creditor Does Not Get Any Money You Give Midland Credit Management
Logically, one would assume that money you give to a debt collector would, at least in part, be given to the person the debt collector claimed you owed. Companies like Midland Credit Management, however, do not give any of the money they collect back to the original creditor. It stays with Midland Credit Management as profit for themselves and their parent company Encore Capital Group. This is how companies like Midland turn massive profits. They buy the debts for just a small fraction, often pennies on the dollar, and keep the entire difference as profit.
Midland Credit Management Must Adhere to the FDCPA
Midland Credit Management is considered a debt collector for the purposes of the FDCPA because their primary purpose is the collection of debt. They must adhere to the requirements set forth in the FDCPA or they risk liability for statutory damages in the amount of $1,000 per claim in addition to any actual damages that may have been caused.
There is a broad assortment of actions that Midland Credit Management can take that would run afoul of the FDCPA. Some of the most common are
- Calling at inconvenient times
- Calling numbers they were not given such as a neighbor’s phone or a family member’s phone
- Saying or implying that you will be criminally liable if you continue to forego paying them
- Adding additional fees or interest to the account after they have purchased it
- Saying that a lawsuit is pending when there is no intention to bring a lawsuit
- Implying that they are an attorney or stating that you are speaking to an attorney when they aren’t one
- Misrepresenting who they are such as telling you they are the original creditor
- Telling you that the debt is within the statute of limitations or telling you that actions, such as lawsuits, will take place knowing that the debt is beyond the statute of limitations
- Collecting or attempting to collect on a debt that isn’t yours
- Collecting or attempting to collect on a debt that has been previously litigated in your favor
- Collecting or attempting to collect on a debt that you have already paid them
There are, of course, many others but the above list is what we see the most often. If you believe you have been a victim of an FDCPA violation by Midland Credit Management for something not listed above, feel free to reach out to us and we can go over the details with you during a free, no obligation telephone consultation.
They Routinely File Lawsuits
Encore Capital Group, through it’s subsidiaries, files more lawsuits every year in PA than any other debt collector. This is also by no small amount. This validates Encore’s own claim that they are “one of the nation’s largest owners of unpaid debts” as stated on their website.
It is not uncommon for our clients to tell us that they have “never heard of them before” after being served with a lawsuit from them. We believe that a lawsuit is simply an intimidation tactic used by them. Bringing a lawsuit in the Magistrates of PA is relatively cheap, usually less than $200. That means that they can use the court system to bully or scare you into paying them.
If you have been served with a lawsuit by Midland Credit Management, you should contact an attorney. When a company like Midland Credit Management files a lawsuit, they become vulnerable because they must now prove that they own the debt. However, you must be proactive and raise the appropriate defenses. Getting an attorney to do this for you will significantly increase your chances of success.
Midland Credit Management Can Be Beaten in Court
Although it seems like you might not have options when sued by Midland Credit Management, you have plenty. The best option is to fight them in court. Midland Credit Management is not immune to the Rules of Evidence or Rules of Civil Procedure. Like any other plaintiff, the court holds Midland Credit Management to the standards of the court. They must demonstrate that they truly own your account and have been assigned all rights to that account. They also must do so while adhering to the evidentiary requirements outlined by prior case law concerning this type of legal matter.
If Midland Credit Management is unable to prove they own your debt, then their lawsuit will fail and you will receive a judgment in your favor. This judgement is a court judgement saying that you are not liable for the debt Midland Credit Management has claimed against you. This effectively puts a permanent end to the debt and allows you to move on with your life without having to keep looking over your shoulder.
Hiring an Attorney Is Likely to Lead to a Higher Chance of Success
If you are facing a lawsuit from Midland Credit Management or you have or suspect you have been a victim of violation of the FDCPA, reach out to us immediately. Time is crucial. Depending on the court the lawsuit has been brought, you may have only 20 days to respond. Additionally, FDCPA claims are valid for only 1 year from the time the violation occurred.
Having an attorney that understands how to handle debt collector lawsuits and how to bring FDCPA claims against harassing debt collectors could turn things in your favor. FDCPA claims have a ‘fee shifting provision’, meaning they can be brought with no out of pocket expenses on your part, so there is little reason to be handling these types of cases pro se. Additionally, litigating a case at the Magistrate level is typically only a fraction of what the debt collector is alleging against you in the first place.