It has baffled me for years. Time and again I see courts give junk debt buyer Midland Funding the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the trustworthiness of their “evidence” and the testimony of their witnesses at trial – despite the fact that Midland often comes into court with partial documents and witnesses who truly don’t have a clue as to the accuracy of what they are attesting to.
Why I don’t know. Actually…I think I do know, or at least have an opinion. My clients are debtors. The owe money that they haven’t been able to pay back. Regardless of the reason why, they are the “contract breachers” to some and “dishonest” or “liars” to others. And I believe that this view of debtors often spills over into the legal system. Even though in a perfect system it wouldn’t, the legal system, after all, is made up of imperfect people.
But the time has come for Arizona courts to stop putting so much trust in the information that Midland Funding is flooding its courts with. Midland Funding files thousands of cases per year in Arizona and thousands more across the country.
Some states have seen Midland Funding for what it is and are fighting back.
Midland Funding, a junk debt buyer, has been exposed time and time again by attorney generals all over the United States as having shoddy and often illegal collection tactics. The most recent strike against Midland Funding (and its sister company Midland Credit Management) is a Consent Order that was signed just a few weeks ago with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Part of this settlement with the with New York City Department of Consumer Affairs requires Midland Funding to pay $670,000 in penalties and costs as a condition of renewal of its license to collect debts in New York City. You can review the Consent Order by clicking HERE.
This comes right on the heals of an action pursued by the Attorney General of New York who pursued Encore Capital Group – the parent company of Midland Funding – for suing on debts that were beyond the statute of limitations and signing hundreds of affidavits a day without even reviewing the documents they were attesting were correct. In January 2015 Encore Capital (Midland Funding) agreed to a settlement with the State of New York where in it agreed to pay a penalty of $675,000 and vacate 4,500 judgments that were obtained after the expiration of the statute of limitations. You can review a copy of the settlement and the finding of the State of New York by clicking HERE.
Midland Funding has been signing off on Consent Orders since 2011 where it promises to stop certain behavior and institute stricter oversight on its debt collection efforts only to have another action brought against it a year later in a different state with the same types of prohibited collection tactics.
Looking at the recent history of Midland Funding provides nothing that should give courts confidence in the information and documentation submitted in the cases that fill their dockets.
Luckily there are safeguards for consumers. The Rules of Evidence, the Rules of Civil Procedure, along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices (FDCPA) are more than adequate to ensure that the consumers are not railroaded by a junk debt buyer with a history of taking advantage of consumers through the court system.
But too often Midland Funding is given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a strict enforcement of these safeguards – and sometimes the Rules are outright ignored because, as one judge told me in open court “well, they owe someone, right?“.
Blanket affidavits, paperwork with missing pages, falsified affidavits, witnesses that flipped through some documents an hour prior to trial yet testify with absolute certainty as to their accuracy, need to stop.
Debt buyer cases like those filed by Midland Funding often make a mockery of the evidentiary safeguards in place to ensure that a judgment is only entered if a plaintiff can prove its case.
If Midland Funding wants a judgment. Fine. Prove the case in court. But the time has come for courts to stop giving the benefit of the doubt to a junk debt buyer that wrecks havoc in people’s lives and incurs the wrath of attorney generals and regulatory bodies throughout the nation.
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John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028