Who is Midland Credit Management and Why are They Suing Me?
They go by a few different names… Midland Funding…Midland Funding LLC…. Midland Credit Management… but they are all subsidiaries of one company. Midland Credit Management is a large junk debt buyer. They are one of the biggest that we deal with for sure. A junk debt buyer, as mentioned multiple times elsewhere on this site, is a company that buys delinquent credit card accounts and delinquent loans and then tries to collect on those accounts. They are not working for the original credit card company, whether its Capital One, Synchrony, Chase, or whomever. They bought the accounts and now they are the owner. They are collecting for themselves, not for the original creditor. These purchases are always at a small fraction of the amount of the debt, usually to the tune of 2-3 cents per dollar. They never buy 1 account at a time or 100 at a time. They always buy thousands at a time. The great thing about these purchases is that they always make them on an AS IS basis. AS IS is a legal term, have you ever heard of that before? Maybe you heard that term associated with a used car? AS IS means that you take the asset with all known and unknown defects. There is no representation of quality or accuracy or authenticity. Think about that, we have a debt buyer who buys thousands of accounts at a time, for 2 cents per dollar, on an AS IS basis. You should definitely call them and make payment arrangements right away, right? WRONG WRONG WRONG. (Please don’t do that).
Usually, its Midland Credit Management (MCM) who will call you about an old debt, or, send letters to you about that debt. MCM appears to be the name of the internal collection agency for Midland Funding. Think about that, a collection company so large that it needs its own special inside collection agency to collect its debts. I will strongly suggest right now that if you receive a collection letter from Midland or MCM, SAVE IT and let a consumer attorney review it. These letters often have illegal or deceptive language in them. If your letter does have deceiving or illegal language then you may end up with a claim of your own to file against them. Why would a large company put out letters that have illegal language in them? Because it works…. of course. Illegal threats, failure to give the right notices, illegal computation of interest, this occurs every day by all of the debt buyers that we face. They take these risks because they know that most people don’t know that they are being lied to, or that the letter is misrepresenting something. Most people will do nothing and Midland knows this.
If the phone calls or letters don’t work, then the account goes back to Midland Funding who then hires a collection attorney to file a lawsuit (Sometimes they do use their in house attorney but often times the claims are shipped out to collection law firms such as Pressler, Hayt, Hayt and Landau or others). The collection lawsuit is most often filed at your local District Justice. They do this for a very specific reason. At the District Justice level, the Plaintiff (in this case, Midland) does not have to show up unless the Defendant tells the court that he/she intends to defend the case. Again, Midland knows that most people are going to ignore the lawsuit so they file these claims at the District Justice level as a cost saving measure. If the claim is larger than $12,000, then it will be filed in the Court of Common Pleas of whatever county you reside in. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, several times, the lawsuit WILL be defective. It WILL lack the requisite evidence and/or documentation. This is a certainty and this is the basis for my continuing stance that you should DEFEND, DEFEND, DEFEND these cases (obviously by hiring my firm or another reputable consumer attorney).
How Do I Defend?
You hire a consumer attorney. That is the only real choice. Please don’t make the mistake of trying to handle this yourself. If you show up, the Midland Attorney will be able to cross examine you and use your testimony to beat you. That’s right, you will help Midland prove their case! If the lawsuit is filed at your local District Justice, then your attorney should not allow you to go. He/She should attend in your place. Midland cannot question an attorney about the case because we cannot testify as to the facts of what transpired. This leaves them on their own to prove the case. They need documents, and lots of them. Contracts, Terms and Conditions, Monthly Statements, Assignments, Forward Flow Agreements…. It’s unlikely that they are going to have all of the documents that they need, and they want you to be there, check that, they need you to be there to fill in the blanks. If the lawsuit is filed at the Court of Common Pleas, again, these documents are necessary. If they cannot produce them then the claim should not move forward (provided that you file the proper response to the lawsuit which again needs to be prepared by a consumer attorney).
So What If I Lose?
Good question. All this talk about DEFENDING gives a certain level of confidence to you as you read it, I’m sure. Well, nobody wins every case. If you lose, you have two choices. (1) Appeal; or (2) Settle. An appeal is usually the right choice. If the case was strong enough to defend at the lower level, then its very likely strong enough to defend at the higher level. You really need to take a look at why you lost the case. Did you lose because the judge made a mistake? If so, appeal. Did you lose because you were supposed to lose? (Who is supposed to lose???). What I mean is, did they produce every document that they needed to, and did they have a good witness? If so, maybe you settle at this point. Remember, these debts are always negotiable, but they shouldn’t be negotiated unless it’s necessary.
At Artim Law we offer a free telephone consultation on all Midland matters… whether they have sued you or not. Please call us today at 412-348-8600 to set up a consultation.