Indiana holds bad debt collectors accountable / protects Hoosier consumers from abuse

Picture of justice

Picture of justice

This just arrived in email from Indiana Attorney General <atg@subscriptions.in.gov>

It is also noted that Indiana A.G. Curtis Hill’s office is pursuing action to sustain State Laws which would hold accountable the US Department of Education, for any abuses of students entrapped in Student Loans. The D.O.E. being the main perpetrator of Student Loans and seeks to evade State consumer protection laws by claiming federal laws exemp the department from State lending and credit reporting law. A.G. Hill’s office seeks to insure that State, not Federal, laws apply so that the D.O.E. can no longer exempt themselves from fair credit laws that protect Indiana students from abuse.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today that he has joined 41 other states and the District of Columbia in reaching a $6 million settlement with Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management Inc. and Midland Funding LLC, which is one of the nation’s largest debt buyers.

The settlement also provides full debt forgiveness for 126 Indiana consumers and partial debt forgiveness to 116 Indiana consumers.

Debt buying involves buying and selling overdue debts from creditors and other account owners. Often purchased for pennies on the dollar, debt buyers seek to recover the full balance from consumers through collection attempts by phone and mail. Debt buyers, including Midland, also take consumers to court to collect the debts they purchase. However, people are often unable to afford attorneys to defend the allegations.

The settlement requires Midland to reform its affidavit signing and litigation practices. Midland must carefully verify the information in affidavits and present accurate documents in court proceedings. When Midland files a lawsuit, it must have account documents about the debt before they file the case, including the amount of the debt, proof of an agreement, and an explanation about why any additional fees are justified. (ed. Midland SHOULD have been held to this standard all along! Frequently unscrupulous debt collectors appear in court without any legal proof that a debt actually exists, including at foreclosures on homes. People have had their homes taken away from them by banks – such as Wells Fargo A B C D E F – that were not in default or that never had any mortgage on their home or that never even did business with Wells Fargo in the first place, making people who had no debt at all homeless just because a bank said they owed money that they never owed. This type of abuse, where the courts ASSUME the lender is always truthful solely because they are a big, rich, profit seeking, business engaged in the unscrupulous and abusive industry know, as debt collecting, must end.)

The settlement requires that Midland maintain proper oversight and training over its employees and the law firms that it uses. The agreement prohibits Midland from reselling debt for two years.

Below is a link to the settlement agreement.

https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/INAG/2018/12/04/file_attachments/1117708/Midland%20settlement%20-%20Indiana.pdf