Midland Funding LLC is one of a few subsidiaries under the Encore Capital umbrella and is one of the nation’s largest and most active debt buyers. It has been active for nearly a decade, and is largely focused on buying up and pursuing credit card debt, though it isn’t limited to that area. Midland Funding is known for its aggressive debt collection policies, though it claims to be on the consumer’s side. In truth, it will do whatever it can to collect as much as it can, knowing that showing aggression can often be enough to scare someone into settling the debt. However, in 2015, Midland Funding was required to refund $42 million in debts improperly pursued and also required to pay out a $10 million penalty to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its poor oversight and debt collection policies.
Who is Midland Funding?
Most people are introduced to Midland Funding in the worst way possible – either by noticing it on a credit report or after being sued. Midland Funding is a debt buyer. That means they approach primary creditors and offer to purchase debt from delinquent accounts, usually for only a few cents on the dollar. Once the debt is bought, Midland Funding will attempt aggressive collection practices to make money on their purchase. This includes filing lawsuits quickly following debt purchase.
What should I do if I have been sued by Midland Funding LLC?
First, don’t panic. As a particularly aggressive debt buyer, Midland Funding will make all kinds of assertions as to the penalties the defendant will face if they don’t pay up. Often, the company will try to get the defendant to settle right away for an amount that seems favorable. However, it is always worth it to fight back against a Midland Funding lawsuit, as the 2015 case against the company shows. This is what must be done when faced with a lawsuit:
- Do not make any rash decisions – Midland Funding relies heavily on intimidating people into paying them. The company knows that the vast majority of people will respond to these intimidation attempts in their favor, and also knows that very few people respond to a lawsuit in any official capacity once sued. These practices have made Midland Funding LLC enormously profitable and successful. Fortunately, once most people push back against Midland Funding, they find that the company is like most bullies, in that it folds quickly.
- Hire a debt defense attorney – Midland Funding is one of those debt buyers that should be met with force, and a defense attorney knows how to exert that force. Experienced debt defense attorneys have inevitably dealt with Midland Funding, so they know what to be prepared for.
- Challenge everything Midland Funding LLC claims – This is the big one. Part of the 2015 case against Midland Funding turned up a lot of Encore’s and Midland Funding’s internal practices, and they are as negligent and problematic as debt defense attorneys have suspected. According to the consent order tied to the case, Encore’s subsidiaries file mass lawsuits knowing that most people will not respond.And it gets worse from there. For example, Midland Funding regularly does not respond to requests demanding that they validate the debt. Consumers have a right to this validation, as part of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. By ignoring these requests, Midland Funding is not only violating the FDCPA, it is revealing that it doesn’t have the requisite information it needs to win a suit against the defendant.
That’s an important point, as the consent order lays out thoroughly. Encore and Midland Funding LLC were caught buying debts without getting anything more than an incomplete data file on the account, which is far from sufficient in proving a debt. They also knowingly purchased debts that did not have enough proof to pursue, they purchased a lot of debt that was knowingly past the statute of limitations, continued to buy debt from creditors that had previously provided bad information, and withheld information from their own collection attorneys, knowing that those cases would never hold up in court.
Last, and perhaps most telling, Encore and Midland Funding LLC instructed their attorneys to make a final attempt to convince the defendant to settle on a lawsuit once the defendant communicated their desire to go to trial. Invariably, those suits were dismissed, but only after Encore made one last desperate attempt to intimidate the defendant.
What should be clear is that a debt defense attorney has a lot to work with when fighting a Midland Funding suit. And an experienced attorney will take the fight back to the infamous debt buyer.
- Settle when indicated – In the event that Midland Funding has the documentation they need to win a claim, it is still worth pursuing a settlement. Midland Funding, after all, purchases its debt for pennies, so it will often enter into settlement willingly, as it doesn’t want to waste resources pursuing a judgment should the case go to trial. A debt defense attorney knows how to leverage this in their client’s favor and can often secure a more favorable settlement.
- Buckle down for trial – Debt collection lawsuits are almost always handled through a bench trial, which means the judge renders a verdict without the aid of a jury. Bench trials proceed faster, and a defendant will not have to wait an excruciatingly long time to get a judgment on their case.A trial is often necessary when dealing with Midland Funding, and even if the debt is correct, there are other things that can get the case tossed out. For instance, some judges frown on so-called “robo-signing.” When a collector robo-signs, that means it signs thousands of affidavits and legal documents in a matter of minutes, often using a forged signature. As these documents are required to be studied closely before being signed, robo-signing is a clear violation of that requirement. Cases have already been dismissed by arguing this point in court, and it’s likely that judges will crack down on it further as debt buyers gain more and more prominence.
Encore and Midland Funding LLC are experts at what they do, which is extract as much money as possible from people, even from people who don’t owe the company a cent. They have a history of threatening legal action against people without a shred of evidence, so they should always be challenged in court. A reputable debt defense attorney is up to that challenge.
Contact An Experienced Debt Defense Attorney
Contact Mastriani Law Firm for a free consultation. We will deliver the proper response to the court within the restricted time frame. If you fail to respond appropriately and on time, the judge will rule a default judgment and you will be required to pay the amount in its entirety to Midland Funding.
Call 888-392-8121 or 713-665-1777 before negotiating or making ANY payments. We are offering you a FREE consultation with a debt defense attorney from Mastriani Law Firm, PC.
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