A few weeks back I reported how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) had sanctioned both Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery Associates for their illegal debt collection tactics when it came to junk debt buyer lawsuits. The fines were hefty and the requirements placed on them going forward were strict.
Finally, I thought, consumers will get a fair shake when it comes to junk debt buyers and these companies will finally clean up their act.
Since the CFPB orders were entered I have had trials against both Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery Associates. In both trials I questioned both the custodian of records and the attorney for the respective companies and was shocked to hear that they weren’t even aware of the orders and their attorneys hadn’t even read them!
It is crazy to me that representatives from Midland and Portfolio would be allowed appear in trial right on the heals of the Consent Order being signed without being fully briefed on the contents of the Consent Order and how it impacts junk debt buyer lawsuits. I mean, after all, this was a Consent Order…both Midland and Portfolio Recovery signed off on this order and agreed to adhere to its terms.
And now, literally only three weeks after the signing of the order I am in court listening to their representatives and their attorneys state that they weren’t even aware that such an Order existed.
One pleasant surprise since the Consent Order was handed down is that it has become clear to me that the Arizona Justice Courts and the Justices of the Peace who preside over them are completely aware of the Consent Orders and I even had one judge tell the attorney for the junk debt buyer that they would be required to submit an affidavit to the court attesting that all requirements of the Consent Order have been complied with.
This step alone is true progress in these cases. Debt buyers like Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery have been abusing consumers for years in Arizona and throughout the country by filing debt collection lawsuits that they couldn’t substantiate. It is a huge step forward that the Justice Courts are taking the lead and proactively educating themselves on the requirements of the Consent Order and holding Midland and Portfolio to their agreement.
Hopefully the representatives of Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery take some time out from filing lawsuits to actually read these orders soon.
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John Skiba, Esq.
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