MCM debt collection: 5 things to do if Midland Credit Management contacts you
An ominous call from Midland Credit Management (MCM) can make your stomach drop.
After all, MCM is one of America’s largest debt buyers known for ruthlessly pursuing people to recoup defaulted debts that they buy for pennies on the dollar
But just because a Midland debt collector contacts you doesn’t necessarily mean you have to comply with all their demands.
Read on to find out:
- Key facts about MCM debt collection
- What to do if MCM debt collectors approach
- Debt relief solutions that can come in handy
Understanding MCM's debt collection
Midland debt collectors buy massive portfolios of delinquent credit card, auto, and other consumer debts for an average of just 3 cents per dollar owed.
The company generates over $1 billion annually from collecting on this purchased debt through its subsidiary Midland Funding.
Armed with limited documentation to validate account details, MCM employs high-pressure tactics to collect. If initial contacts fail, Midland Funding frequently sues consumers.
In just one month in Los Angeles, Midland filed nearly 13,000 lawsuits.
Many cases end in default judgments when consumers don't respond. This allows Midland debt collection to garnish wages and levy bank accounts.
Defending yourself against MCM debt collections
It can be tempting to avoid or ignore calls from collectors. But engaging with them strategically can help protect your rights under the law. So, don’t let them intimidate you.
If a Midland debt collector contacts you to collect on a purchased debt, take these steps:
1. Request debt validation
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires Midland to validate any debt they attempt to collect within 30 days of your written request.
They must prove they have a legal right to collect on the account and that the amount they claim you owe is accurate.
Because Midland purchases debts in basic electronic files that lack detailed records, they often have a hard time validating accounts.
If they cannot validate the debt, you have no legal obligation to pay it, and Midland must cease collection activity immediately.
2. Review the statute of limitations
The statute of limitations sets legal time limits on how long after an account becomes delinquent that a collector can sue you to collect payment. This window varies by state and debt type.
If the clock has expired when Midland contacts you, they have no grounds to sue you, though you still technically owe the debt.
An experienced consumer attorney can help you determine if the statute bars legal action in your specific case.
3. Dispute invalid debts
Even if they validate the debt, if you believe the amount they claim is inaccurate, send a certified letter disputing the validity of the debt.
Note specific reasons for your dispute. The law then requires them to stop collections until proving the dispute is invalid.
If they cannot substantiate the dispute, the account must be removed from your credit reports and Midland must stop pursuing collection.
4. Record collection calls
If Midland calls you, inform them you are recording the call and gain their consent to documentation.
Take detailed notes if they cannot provide validation or if they use illegal harassment, for example, excessive calling or false threats.
This evidence strengthens your defense if forced to go to court over an invalid debt.
5. Seek professional help
Talk to a nonprofit credit counselor to understand your rights when Midland debt collection contacts you. If MCM sues you, immediately consult a consumer defense attorney.
With legal help, you can assert defenses like expired statutes of limitations. Attorneys can ensure you meet all deadlines to avoid automatically losing the case.
Defending yourself against potential lawsuits
Midland Funding LLC, another Encore Capital subsidiary, is notorious for aggressive debt collection lawsuits against consumers already struggling financially.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Watch for a summons. Midland typically serves lawsuits through certified mail or process servers. Never ignore a summons—doing so almost guarantees a default judgment against you.
- Meet deadlines. After receiving a summons, you have limited time to submit an answer admitting, denying, or explaining your defenses against allegations. Miss this deadline and you lose.
- Assert your rights. In your formal response, note violations of laws like the FDCPA or your state's statute of limitations that prohibit the lawsuit. Highlight Midland's lack of account documentation and request the case be dismissed.
- Get legal assistance. Having a consumer defense lawyer greatly boosts your chances of defeating the lawsuit. They know compliance laws, will help craft an air-tight response, and will represent you directly in court.
Pursuing alternatives to repay unaffordable debt
Settling old debts can seem like a hopeless task. Thankfully, several smart options exist that can provide realistic debt relief without wrecking your finances for decades.
The key is finding the solution that aligns with your personal financial circumstances.
If you owe valid debts purchased by Midland but cannot afford the full balance, consider these alternatives:
1. Debt settlement
By negotiating debt settlements, especially with the help of professionals, you can settle accounts for substantially less than you owe. This can be the light at the end of your debt tunnel.
Debt settlement involves negotiating lump sum settlements that are often 40-60% of your total owed balance. Because Midland purchases debts for pennies on the dollar, they have room to accept discounted offers and still make a profit.
An experienced debt settlement company can facilitate negotiations and ensure accounts get closed once settled.
Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings legally discharge eligible unsecured debts but will severely damage your credit in the short term.
So bankruptcy should be a last resort used only if you cannot afford monthly payments and do not have income or assets creditors can pursue.
Meet with bankruptcy attorneys to assess if you qualify and what debts would be wiped out.
*If you have overdue debts that haven’t gone to collections yet, consider the following alternatives.
3. Debt management plan*
Reputable nonprofit credit counseling agencies can set up debt management plans with your creditors.
These plans involve consolidated monthly payments made to the agency, which then distributes funds to creditors. Counselors negotiate waived fees, reduced interest rates, and other concessions to help you repay debts in full over time.
4. Balance transfer card*
Transferring high-interest credit card balances to a 0% introductory APR balance transfer card can provide temporary relief from accruing interest charges.
This allows more of your payment to go toward reducing principal during the 0% promotional period, which typically ranges from 12-21 months.
To qualify for a balance transfer card, you need fair credit or better, sufficient income to make monthly payments, and available credit limit room on the new card to accommodate transfers.
Be sure to compare offers from major issuers to find the longest 0% terms and lowest balance transfer fees. And do your best to pay off the balance before the introductory rate expires.
5. Debt Consolidation*
Debt consolidation combines multiple high-interest debts into one new loan with a lower interest rate, resulting in reduced monthly payments.
Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer debt consolidation loans if you have sufficient income and credit scores. This helps simplify payments without settling debt at steep discounts.