Has your Debt been sold to a Debt Buyer?
Encore Capital Group, Inc. (ECG) is headquartered In San Diego, Calif. Its subsidiaries are Midland Funding LLC, Midland Credit Management (MCM), and Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. (AAC). Together, they form the nation’s largest debt buyer and collector.
1 in 5 consumers who have a debt that was sold to a third party debt collector will have ENCORE or one of its subsidiaries as that third party debt collector.
Here is some important information and things to know when dealing with ENCORE or its subsidiaries:
- They buy your debt for pennies on the dollar. In fact, when they buy old debt, they want to pay as little as possible to maximize profits.
- Make sure it is your debt. The original creditor also wants to get paid as much as possible so that they take less of a loss so they compromise and will sell either just an electronic file of names, addresses and amounts due, or for more money, they will include agreements covering the transactions which allow the debt collector to obtain more information including verifying the debt. Most of the time debt buyers will only buy the bare minimum to help their bottom line but this most often leads to information lost in translation where the amount due is incorrect or they try to collect the debt from the wrong person. After all, it is possible to have the same name as someone else…
- If you get sued by them, ANSWER THE COMPLAINT!: I cannot stress this enough! If you get served with a Summons and Complaint, even if you know you owe the money, answer the Complaint within the time allotted by your state. If you do not, you WILL get defaulted. Over 90% of the time consumers fail to defend the case or show up in court and this results in the collector obtaining a Judgment against you, even if the debt is not yours. Once a Judgment is obtained, they can collect on it in numerous ways like through a wage garnishment or bank account levy.
- In September of 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took action against ENCORE: Because of ENCORE’s shoddy collection practices, the CFPB has ordered ENCORE to pay up to $42 million in consumer refunds and a $10 million penalty and pursuant to the terms of the CFPB Consent Order, ECG is now required to stop reselling the debts they purchase to other debt collectors, refund consumers or cease collections where they collected payments by misrepresenting that they could be sued on a time-barred debt or where they misrepresented in court that the debt was valid because the consumer did not previously dispute it, refund consumers or cease collections where they collected payments by misrepresenting that an attorney had reviewed the debt and where they had collected on a judgment that was obtained but was barred by the statute of limitations, Stop collecting debts they cannot verify, have specific documents and information showing the debt is accurate and enforceable when filing lawsuits, use accurate affidavits as well as pay civil money penalties to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund.
Do not let aggressive Debt Collectors use unpleasant, abusive—and illegal—collection techniques against you. In addition to the actions taken by the CFPB outlined here, numerous other state and federal laws may be available for you—and the unscrupulous debt collectors may end up owing you compensation.