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Merchants Credit Association, Inc. (MCA) is a third-party collection agency based in Washington state. MCA has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including misrepresentation and improper sharing of information. If you have been contacted by MCA, understand your rights before taking action.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Merchants Credit Association was founded in 1937 and incorporated in 1954. The BBB established MCA’s profile page in 1990. MCA is listed as a collection agency that uses the alternate business name, Merchants Credit Corporation. Buzzfile estimates MCA’s annual revenue at $6.6 million, and the size of its staff at 64 people.
Anti-virus applications such as Norton Anti-virus block users from visiting MCA’s website with a with a prominent “Malicious Web Site Blocked” warning page that displays the message, “This is a known malicious web site. It is recommended that you do NOT visit this site. The detailed report explains the security risks on this site.”
The detailed report states that, “Norton Safe Web has analyzed merchantscredit.com for safety and security problems. Below is a sample of the threats that were found. Summary: Computer Threats: 0; Identity Threats: 1; Annoyance factors: 0.” The detailed report also indicates that the site is a source of “phishing” attacks in which site visitors’ personal data is later used for unintended purposes.
The BBB has closed 36 complaints against MCA in the past three years, with nine complaints closed in the past 12 months. Most of the complaints allege problems with billing and collections. Since May 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 5 complaints about MCA. Justia lists at least 4 cases of civil litigation involving MCA.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Merchants Credit Association, Inc.
Cases involving Merchants Credit Association stretch back to the era of its founding date of 1937 and involve allegations implicating its founder, Charles Sunderlin, and his associates in various charges of misconduct with varying results, including hearings before the State Bar in consideration of disbarment. More recently, in July 2017, a judge issued an Order in a case alleging MCA had violated state and federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provisions, as well as provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In this case, the plaintiff charged that MCA made several calls to his mother’s cell phone in an effort to locate him to discuss an alleged past due financial obligation. The plaintiff charged that these phone calls were made to the wrong number and therefore constituted a violation of the FDCPA and the TCPA. In addition, he charged that MCA also called two of his own cell phone numbers using a pre-recorded message, constituting further violations of the TCPA. Finally, he alleged that MCA had reported inaccurate information to the credit reporting agencies. Despite having disputed the information in writing, MCA failed to answer him back “‘with appropriate proof of investigation and verification of the information in dispute and totally failed to take corrective action.’”
MCA argued that the plaintiff did not have the standing to file a legal complaint against them on the basis of calls made to another person, regardless of the reason for the call or the nature of the relationship. The court agreed, indicating that because the plaintiff could not have suffered an injury himself as the result of phone calls made to another person, he did not have the standing to charge MCA with a violation. Furthermore, his mother had filed a complaint about the calls in a separate suit. However, the court did not dismiss his claim about MCA’s calls to his cell phones that used a pre-recorded message. MCA argued that those charges were spurious, but the court indicated that the plaintiff had demonstrated a substantial enough charge to warrant an investigation of whether a violation had occurred. Charges that MCA had violated the FDCPA were dismissed because the plaintiff had filed his complaint after the statute of limitations had expired. As for charges that MCA had violated the FCRA by reporting inaccurate information to the credit reporting agencies (CRAs), the plaintiff’s charges were too general and lacked specific evidence that MCA did not notify the “CRAs that [the plaintiff] was disputing the information being reported.” Thus, some of the plaintiff’s charges were dismissed on procedural grounds, but his complaint that MCA’s cell phone calls had violated the TCPA was upheld. The court indicated the plaintiff would be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint to address the deficiencies noted by the court.
Merchants Credit Association, Inc.
2245 152nd Ave., NE
Redmond, WA 98052-5519
Telephone: (425) 643-2613
Understanding your Debt Collection Rights
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforce consumer protection laws. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are two federal laws that help regulate the collections industry. The FDCPA prohibits actions such as threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken or using false or misleading language to collect a debt.
The FCRA regulates how collection agencies report information to credit reporting agencies.Additional consumer protection laws include the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
These laws also provide individuals with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs, in cases proving violations of the FDCPA.
The case above illustrates how understanding your rights and responsibilities under these laws is an important part of holding collection agencies accountable for their actions. Seeking legal assistance can help you resolve a dispute with a collection agency.
Your debt harassment checklist:
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are recieving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, a lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors and even one of these has happened to you, we can help. We will fight for your rights.
The Lemberg Law legal team is committed to holding debt collectors accountable, so complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200.
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