- Who is Merchants’ Credit Guide?
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- How Can I Delete Merchants’ Credit Guide from My Credit Report?
- How Can I Deal with Merchants’ Credit Guide?
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Merchants’ Credit Guide Co. (MCG) is a third-party collection agency based in Chicago, IL. MCG has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), including failure to verify debts and misrepresentation. If you have been contacted by MCG,make sure you understand your rights before responding.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Merchants’ Credit Guide Co.was founded in 1896 and incorporated in 1899. The BBB opened its file in 2004. MCG is listed as a collection agency.Buzzfile estimates MCG’s annual revenue at $6.6 million and the size of its staff at 65 people.
According to its website, MCG’s philosophy is that“the vast majority of consumers want to do the right thing and pay their debts.” Their website is designed to appeal to debtors whose delinquencies are the result of an oversight, a misunderstanding, an unresolved dispute, or unforeseen financial difficulties.
MCG offers the following pitch:“The important thing to do now is to act…Depending on the creditor, we may be able to offer you a payment plan, or even a reduction in your overdue amount. If there is a dispute, question or concern…we may be able to resolve the dispute with the creditor. If your debt is the result of a simple oversight, make an online payment. If you feel you may have been the victim of identity theft, click the above link for instructions.”
MCG’s Consumer Credit Information page states that “consumer debt has risen dramatically over the past few years, so if you are in debt, you are not alone”; and that, “many people have trouble paying bills and consumer debt drives millions of consumers into bankruptcy every year.” The rest of the page offers fairly extensive advice about how debtors can obtain credit reports and improve their credit scores. There are also links to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website. There is also a page about how to report incidents of identity theft.
However, there are no links or references to consumer protection resources, and no information about MCG’s regulatory compliance policies or practices
The BBB has closed 44 complaints against MCG in the past three years, with 22 complaints closed in the past 12 months. Most of those complaints allege problems with billing and collection. In addition, since August 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 4 complaints against MCG. Justia lists 11 cases of civil litigation naming MCG as a defendant.
Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases against Merchants’ Credit Guide Co. – MCG.
Consumer complaints against MCG indicate a tendency toward inaccurate documentation of account information and defensive responses. For example, in August 2017, a complainant indicated she had requested validation of a debt and its removal from her Equifax credit report. Her complaint was filed 45 days after sending in her written request, and she stated that she had not received a response. In response, MCG indicated that they had received her request, “promptly requested the account documentation…received the information from the client…and mailed it… to the address… provided.” They cited as confirmation that they “never received any returned mail as undelivered.” Immediately thereafter, MCG posted a follow-up response indicating that “upon further inquiry with our client, they have agreed to recall the account and adjust the balance to zero,” and that MCG will take “steps to remove this collection item from the complainant’s credit report and…send her a letter of confirmation of the removal.”
In May 2017, a complainant indicated that she had applied for a home loan, but there was a collection item on her credit report for $93.00 that “dropped her score 45 points… so that she no longer qualified as a first-time home buyer.” She indicated she had never “received any communication or correspondence… regarding this account” and did not believe it was hers. She indicated it may be the result of identity theft and indicated she would be filling a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In response, MCG indicated that “upon receipt of the complaint we immediately contacted our client. Due to the age of the account, they have agreed to write off any balance. We have closed the account and sent notice to the credit bureaus to… remove this item from the complainant’s credit report. The complainant will receive a letter from us confirming this deletion.”
Finally, also in May 2017, a complainant indicated that MCG had placed several items on his credit report although he claimed not to have received any notification of the delinquencies prior to their taking action. He also alleged they had shared his personal information on violation of HIPAA legislation and that because his “credit file had been updated several times by this company…his credit score had dropped dramatically.” In response, MCG denied most of the complainant’s allegations and insisted that they were “gathering the account information from their clients to provide the complainant the information requested.” The complainant replied that he had “never received any documents” from MCG, and that he “only received a response after filing a complaint through the BBB.”
Merchants’ Credit Guide Co.
223 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60606
Understanding your Debt Collection Rights
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are federal laws that regulate how collection agencies may conduct themselves.
The FDCPA prohibits actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; or the use of false or misleading information 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).
The complaints above illustrate why it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under these laws when attempting to communicate with collection agencies.
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. Seek legal assistance if you are having difficulty resolving a dispute with a collection agency.
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors, 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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