Alexander
  • Report: #209594

Complaint Review: Mercants Credit Guide

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  • Submitted: Tue, September 05, 2006
  • Updated: Fri, September 29, 2006

  • Reported By:Hampstead Maryland
Mercants Credit Guide
223 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 900 Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.

Mercants Credit Guide ripoff Chicago Illinois

*Consumer Suggestion: FYI

*Consumer Comment: I agree, but...

*Consumer Suggestion: Read and Read Again

*Consumer Comment: Response to S.n. and Steve

*Consumer Suggestion: Newsflash! For Kevin the Collector

*Consumer Suggestion: Don't throw collection agency screw ups back on the consumer

*Consumer Comment: Former Collector, just joining in

*Consumer Suggestion: Last post on this matter

*Consumer Suggestion: Last post on this matter

*Consumer Suggestion: Last post on this matter

*Consumer Suggestion: Last post on this matter

*Consumer Suggestion: Forgive my assumption Giselle

*Author of original report: Heather.........

*Consumer Comment: A couple comments

*Consumer Suggestion: Steve, I Know You Are Trying

*Consumer Suggestion: Fish or Cut Bait, Steve

*Consumer Comment: Thanks Giselle..And for Heather - I told you that you were partially right!

*Consumer Comment: Steve: the ripoffreport hero!

*Consumer Suggestion: Wrong again, Steve.

*Consumer Suggestion: Clearing up some more of Karen the collector's nonsense

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Here's The Thing

*Consumer Suggestion: MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

*Consumer Suggestion: MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

*Consumer Suggestion: MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

*Consumer Suggestion: MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

*Consumer Suggestion: Response to Heather the uneducated..Once more..

*Consumer Suggestion: Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

*Consumer Suggestion: Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

*Consumer Suggestion: Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

*Consumer Suggestion: Reporting Time Limit is 7 Years

*Author of original report: Karen, you don't know a d**ned thing about my credit

*Consumer Suggestion: Karen Needs To Get A Real Job

*Consumer Comment: Karen..The debt collector for MCG CO..How exactly do you "help people get out of debt"?

*Consumer Suggestion: Your are not being honest

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: What??!!!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: What??!!!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: What??!!!

*Author of original report: Merchants Credit Guide Update

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Scam. Using automated recording to lure into calling "Ken Hughes." When you call them back, they have no idea who you are. They are "debt collectors" who are either using debts over 10 years old and beyond the Statute of Limitations....trying to recoup something for their commissioned sales reps. Or they fabricate a "debt" when you sign into any of the "free credit report" services online. Beware and report them to the FTC, and the Chicago department of consumer affairs. A class action lawsuit is, apparently, in the works.

Kathleen
Hampstead, Maryland
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/05/2006 03:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Mercants-Credit-Guide/Chicago-Illinois-60606/Mercants-Credit-Guide-ripoff-Chicago-Illinois-209594. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Suggestion

FYI

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

Just so you understand clearly, I live in Kansas. I can hook a nice little recorder up to my phone and record calls. Want to make a solid case for the AG? Think a recording would do it? You have no idea how quick a mumbling bumbling wanna be collector will back down when you play them back. The recorder only cost a little money at a local store.

To any not living in my state: Check your state laws regarding recordings before you buy one. I pay my bills. There is no reason for a collector to be calling my number. If they do call (as happened last year) and I tell them I am not the person they are looking for they have two choices: find the right person or prepare to be treated like the idiots they are.

If I upset you by telling you that I would file a complaint and sue, I apologize. But it won't stop me from protecting myself. And I fully believe if collectors do pull illegel tactics they should be reported. The more people who complain, the better chance that something will be done.
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#2 Consumer Comment

I agree, but...

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

S.n. (and others),

"...I give them one warning. The second time, I tell them I will file a complaint and sue them."
S.n. posted 9/19

I don't know how that doesn't imply legal action.

Let me make something clear. I don't like MCG or any other collector that harasses people instead of doing effective and legitimate collections. I also agree that it causes undue pressure and inconvenience to people like you, Kathleen and everyone else, when they screw up or just decide to go fishing. I don't like it. I don't condone it. I left collections because of it. There are "good" collectors out there. (Don't bother responding to that sentence. I'm pretty sure just about everyone disagrees.) Unfortunately they can't save you money by doing their job because unprofessional hacks like MCG give them a bad name. They are doing bad business and I hope they get burned for it.

If I were in your shoes, I would be equally frustrated that I had to take the time to write a letter and send it. I also have better things to do. I agree that YOUR TIME is valuable. That's why I don't want you to waste it by doing things that are ineffective.

In principle, I agree that you shouldn't have to use your ink, paper and money to respond to junk debt collectors. Unfortunately, the law does not recognize a verbal dispute or verbal cease communication request as one that can stop collection efforts. It's frustrating as h***, but it is the law.

Here's why certain practices don't work.

1. Threatening the collector: they get it all the time. You don't scare them.

2. Threatening to sue: they get this all the time too. Also, if they are functioning rudely but legally, you would lose the case (and consequently your time and money).

3. Constantly telling them over the phone to stop calling: they don't have to stop until the request is in writing.

4. Calling the Attorney General: You should do this only if you have a solid case. If you are just mad, then the AG can only do what you would do (that is, write a letter and tell them to stop). The difference is that instead of using your money, now you're using taxpayers' money. Don't get me wrong though, you have every right to call the AG for help and advice.

As I've said before: The only thing that will make good use of your time and resources is to send a cease communication request in writing. I don't think it's fair either, but any other method will cause you to spend even more time, ink, paper and money. The FDCPA gives you this as a way to insure your right to be left alone. If you feel the law is unfair, then work to change the law. Call your Congresspeople.

As a side note: Kathleen mentioned at the start of this conversation that there is a class action suit pending towards MCG. Is anybody following the progress of that? If so, what's happening?

(Note: I formerly referred to "cease communication" as "cease and desist." I was using outdated terminology and our friend Steve corrected me in different conversation. Steve, thanks for setting me straight.)

Good Day Everyone,
Kevin, your friendly former collector
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Read and Read Again

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

I really don't think I "threatened legal action". I work in administration for several companies. I handle all of their accounts, including bank accounts, A/P and A/R. If I send a bill to someone and they call me and tell me I made a mistake and it is not their bill, it is MY responsibility to find out whether or not it actually IS their bill and if so to prove it.

But wait! If I am a collector, all I have to do is skip trace, find a name that is close, send the bill and then TAKE THEM TO COURT because they didn't prove to me it isn't their bill. What planet are you from? And it isn't 3 minutes of my time, it's my time, my paper, my ink, my postage AND my trip to the post office to pay extra for certified mail in case the collector wants to play the "I never got that letter" game. A little longer than 3 minutes and more expensive, Einstein.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Response to S.n. and Steve

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

First, to answer S.n.

You say that you should be compensated for your time in dealing with collectors. I don't know what kind of business you do, but I know very few people who get any major profits from 3 minutes of work.

I assume that you mean that collectors shouldn't waste your time. I agree, and in a perfect world, there would be no junk debt buyers and nobody would ever be in debt. In this world, you have to make the most of your time. Threatening legal action (as you mentioned in an earlier posting) is a waste of time unless you've written a cease and desist. Even if you did take MCG to court, you'd have to answer the question, "Did you furnish a written request to cease and desist pursuant to the FDCPA." If the answer is "No," then the collector has done nothing illegal. The collector was rude, inconsiderate and stupid...but not illegal.

My point is not to deny the mistakes and wrongdoings of MCG and other collection agencies. My point is just that you are wasting your time by doing anything BUT writing a letter. If the calls continue after the written C&D request, then you've got a case and you should pursue it.

Also, I am not throwing the screw-ups of collectors onto consumers. I am throwing the screw-ups of consumers onto consumers. You sir, are screwing up as a consumer. Instead of doing the one thing that could get the company off your back, you threaten over the phone that you will take legal action. I understand your frustration, but you aren't doing yourself any good and collectors are not afraid of that language.

You have a problem with the liberties that collectors take. I understand that, and I agree that the agencies do some pretty shady things. Remember, that's why I left. I think a better use of your time, especially if you want to get into the law, would be to call and write your Congressperson and get others to do the same. When you write, include the postings from ripoffreport.com. If debt collectors, who are functioning legally, are your problem, then you need to change the laws and make them less lenient towards collectors. Otherwise, you're stuck with what we got.

There is actually a beauty to writing a letter of C&D or dispute. If you write a dispute (send proof if you can), then the collector has to stop calling you, and then keep calling the people who sold the debt to him. So you basically turn the process around and make the collector and his client waste their time instead of yours.

Now to answer Steve,

First of all, I don't believe the words, "get a real job," should ever escape the mouth of a person who was $170K in the hole, never paid it back, and who now spends the bulk of his time making posts to this website.

Secondly, you are correct. People who even legitimately owe debt have the right to be left alone provided they furnish a WRITTEN cease and desist request. I said that in my first posting (just not in the three lines you cited). It is inconvenient, but it's the only way the law provides to halt collection efforts.

To All,

I am trying to make this ever so clear. The key words here are IN WRITING. You can yell, scream, threaten, swear and cry all you want. But until the laws change, you will always have to write a letter to stop collection efforts no matter why they are calling you...even if the collector is in the wrong. As Bruce Hornsby said, "that's just the way it is."

In Writing,
Kevin, former collector (not for MCG)
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Newsflash! For Kevin the Collector

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Kevin,

A person has a right to be left alone even if they are in collections. It is called a CEASE COMMUNICATION request under the provisions of the FDCPA - FEDERAL LAW.


Kevin -You wrote:

"If you have no account in collections, however, then you have the right to be left alone. Just remember, don't yell...don't swear...don't waste your time calling them back just to tick someone off. Keep your cool...type a letter".


Nobody has to be harrassed by a debt collector, and you collectors have no rights at all. Get a real job. Especially collectors that work for JUNK DEBT BUYERS.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Don't throw collection agency screw ups back on the consumer

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

Try Again, Kevin

Why should anyone have to take time out of their day, use their ink, their paper AND their postage to inform a collection agency they are not doing their job? You seem to think it takes such a small amount of time and effort for the any of us to handle a collection agency's error. I am self employed. My time is money. Therefore, when I have to do the collection agency's work, I should be compensated for it. That would be fair. Don't throw collection agency screw ups back on the consumer.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Former Collector, just joining in

AUTHOR: Kevin - (U.S.A.)

Wow Everyone,

I have to say this is the most heated Collections discussion I've seen to date. My name is Kevin and I'm a former debt collector. I didn't work for MCG, but I would like to add my two cents to the original discussion: auto-dialed calls to people without debt.

I worked in collections for about six months. I decided to quit when I kept getting inbound calls from very upset people. These people were receiving phone calls from our company and had no debt. I could not find their phone numbers, names or SS#s in the system.

I went to my supervisor and told him that there is a problem with the auto dialer. He refused to have it fixed or shut it off, or even take the list of affected phone numbers, because we would loose too much money. I told him we were legally obligated stop harassing people who have no accounts here. He told me not to worry about it. There was no change, so I started looking for a new job.

There is a good reason for the "Ken Hughes" automated messages. According to the FDCPA, a collector has the right to call and leave messages, but he cannot identify himself as a collector unless he can verify he is talking to the debtor. The same goes for automated messages. This is done for YOUR PROTECTION. This prevents collectors from telling or implying to friends, roommates, employers or anyone else that you are in debt. In some states (MA for example) it is illegal for a collector to talk even to a debtor's spouse about the debt. These vague messages are actually done that way to protect the debtor's privacy and to comply with federal law. Ironically, it prevents harassment, privacy invasions and blacklisting.

If you have no past debt, then simply write a cease and desist letter to the company. I would also recommend that you send it with "delivery confirmation." That way the company cannot deny having received it.

If you DO have past debt, then the company has a right to try and collect. I used to collect on some 7-10 year old debts. The distinction is this: we can try to collect on them, but we cannot punish those who don't pay. We cannot re-report them to the credit bureau. We cannot threaten legal action. We may simply call and attempt to collect. However, the calls will stop once the collection agency receives a written request to cease and desist. It may be an inconvenience, but the consumer must make any dispute or request to cease and desist IN WRITING according to the FDCPA. It is not enough to merely yell at a collector over the phone. Most people do that, even if they actually owe a debt.

I would also like to add to Karen's comments that Collectors help people. In theory she's right. In some practice, she's right.

First, debt collectors recover revenues for their clients. I collected for a certain phone company and a few utility companies. I usually collected $50-80,000 per month for the phone company alone. That was just me. My department brought in several million per month and we barely scratched the surface. Yes, there are mistakes made in records and autodialed calls. But there are also scores of people who refuse to pay their bills. Some fall on hard times, but the majority of people I talked to in a day were criminals, deadbeats or otherwise ducking their responsibility. When they don't pay. YOU PAY. Your phone bills, credit card rates and utility rates go up because the companies are out millions in unpaid bills.

Second, a good collector will help a person who has actually fallen on hard times. They can arrange monthly payments instead of making you pay in full. I once helped a member of the U.S. Navy save his career. He had an old debt that would prevent him getting a security clearance and therefore a promotion. We talked it through, and we found ways for him to manage his debt so that he could pay it off in installments and not risk his career, and not zero out his bank accounts.

I also helped a woman who was filing for bankruptcy. She was filing due to large credit card debt, and her lawyer was advising her to include EVERYTHING in the bankruptcy. I advised her and helped her find a way to pay off her smaller phone and utility bills. Yes, that added to my commission. Yes, my clients got their money. But the arrangement also insured that the debtor would still have a phone and heat after the bankruptcy.

The problem with so many collectors is that too many of them just don't care. Many are young, unprofessional, commission-driven and inconsiderate. Many use rude language and manners towards debtors. There is no excuse for that. Believe it or not, I was ALWAYS professional. I did not treat debtors like customers, but everyone I talked to was treated with respect, even if they did nothing but cuss me out. Also, many collection agencies discourage making phone calls that last more than 30 seconds. If the debtor won't pay, then hang up and move on. Commission also drives their behavior. Everyone wants the big payoff instantly over the phone. I was a little more patient. I was okay if you paid it off in two or three payments. Not everyone is like me though.

The problem with debtors is that so many would rather try and find some fault with the collector than pay their bill. Take our friend and "hero" Steve for example. He managed to get out of $170,000 worth of debt. I'm sorry, but that can't be all false. You and I are probably paying for his irresponsibility even though he legally got out of the debt. Remember, even though some collectors are consumate professionals, you have no right to be treated like a valued customer if you didn't pay your bill. Stop saying, "I'm not paying cuz you're rude." Pay your bill...save your credit...stop blaming others for your irresponsibility.

If you have no account in collections, however, then you have the right to be left alone. Just remember, don't yell...don't swear...don't waste your time calling them back just to tick someone off. Keep your cool...type a letter. All it needs to say is:

Dear Collection Agency,

My name is _____
You must Cease and Desist all calls to
555-xxx-xxxx in accordance with the FDCPA.

Sincerely,
Name

It takes 30 seconds and a 39-cent stamp.

To All a Good Night,
Kevin - a former good collector
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Last post on this matter

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Kathleen:

This has never been about "me right, him wrong". Can you not see that living with bad credit for longer than legally allowed would cause undue hardships for consumers (i.e. higher interest on loans, inability to obtain credit, tighter cashflows, etc.)?

I have provided federal law, state law, FTC opinions all with the objective of consumer advocacy. Steve is a prolific poster on this forum and therefore should take the responsibility to provide legally accurate advice. His endeavors to provide comfort to consumers are admirable, however wrong information can be just as damaging to the very people he is trying to help, even though it is unintentional.

I am hoping that he takes the time to read the case law that was provided, do a bit of individual legal research for confirmation, and then utilize that information when assisting future posters.

MCG is a debt buyer who buys old debts, then attempts to collect. They oftentimes mis-target individuals when chasing after debts, but I'm sure that Steve can testify to the fact that they post negative information on people's credit all the time - sometimes the right person-sometimes the wrong.

You are very fortunate that you have not incurred any outstanding debt and were able to handle your situation with a C&D. However, there are TONS of people out there that have fallen on hard times and are being harrassed by bill collectors (Steve was one of these people, by his own admission). These people need to know that there is a "legal" end in sight to their credit problems. Hopefully Steve will now help these consumers to realize this end.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion

Last post on this matter

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Kathleen:

This has never been about "me right, him wrong". Can you not see that living with bad credit for longer than legally allowed would cause undue hardships for consumers (i.e. higher interest on loans, inability to obtain credit, tighter cashflows, etc.)?

I have provided federal law, state law, FTC opinions all with the objective of consumer advocacy. Steve is a prolific poster on this forum and therefore should take the responsibility to provide legally accurate advice. His endeavors to provide comfort to consumers are admirable, however wrong information can be just as damaging to the very people he is trying to help, even though it is unintentional.

I am hoping that he takes the time to read the case law that was provided, do a bit of individual legal research for confirmation, and then utilize that information when assisting future posters.

MCG is a debt buyer who buys old debts, then attempts to collect. They oftentimes mis-target individuals when chasing after debts, but I'm sure that Steve can testify to the fact that they post negative information on people's credit all the time - sometimes the right person-sometimes the wrong.

You are very fortunate that you have not incurred any outstanding debt and were able to handle your situation with a C&D. However, there are TONS of people out there that have fallen on hard times and are being harrassed by bill collectors (Steve was one of these people, by his own admission). These people need to know that there is a "legal" end in sight to their credit problems. Hopefully Steve will now help these consumers to realize this end.
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#10 Consumer Suggestion

Last post on this matter

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Kathleen:

This has never been about "me right, him wrong". Can you not see that living with bad credit for longer than legally allowed would cause undue hardships for consumers (i.e. higher interest on loans, inability to obtain credit, tighter cashflows, etc.)?

I have provided federal law, state law, FTC opinions all with the objective of consumer advocacy. Steve is a prolific poster on this forum and therefore should take the responsibility to provide legally accurate advice. His endeavors to provide comfort to consumers are admirable, however wrong information can be just as damaging to the very people he is trying to help, even though it is unintentional.

I am hoping that he takes the time to read the case law that was provided, do a bit of individual legal research for confirmation, and then utilize that information when assisting future posters.

MCG is a debt buyer who buys old debts, then attempts to collect. They oftentimes mis-target individuals when chasing after debts, but I'm sure that Steve can testify to the fact that they post negative information on people's credit all the time - sometimes the right person-sometimes the wrong.

You are very fortunate that you have not incurred any outstanding debt and were able to handle your situation with a C&D. However, there are TONS of people out there that have fallen on hard times and are being harrassed by bill collectors (Steve was one of these people, by his own admission). These people need to know that there is a "legal" end in sight to their credit problems. Hopefully Steve will now help these consumers to realize this end.
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Last post on this matter

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Kathleen:

This has never been about "me right, him wrong". Can you not see that living with bad credit for longer than legally allowed would cause undue hardships for consumers (i.e. higher interest on loans, inability to obtain credit, tighter cashflows, etc.)?

I have provided federal law, state law, FTC opinions all with the objective of consumer advocacy. Steve is a prolific poster on this forum and therefore should take the responsibility to provide legally accurate advice. His endeavors to provide comfort to consumers are admirable, however wrong information can be just as damaging to the very people he is trying to help, even though it is unintentional.

I am hoping that he takes the time to read the case law that was provided, do a bit of individual legal research for confirmation, and then utilize that information when assisting future posters.

MCG is a debt buyer who buys old debts, then attempts to collect. They oftentimes mis-target individuals when chasing after debts, but I'm sure that Steve can testify to the fact that they post negative information on people's credit all the time - sometimes the right person-sometimes the wrong.

You are very fortunate that you have not incurred any outstanding debt and were able to handle your situation with a C&D. However, there are TONS of people out there that have fallen on hard times and are being harrassed by bill collectors (Steve was one of these people, by his own admission). These people need to know that there is a "legal" end in sight to their credit problems. Hopefully Steve will now help these consumers to realize this end.
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Forgive my assumption Giselle

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

The way your second paragraph was phrased led me to believe you were associating my posts with Karen's (with whom I am definitely NOT associated with) ;-).

I didn't understand you weren't trying to match us up, but to direct others to a post appearing almost directly before mine.

Mental frustration, I'm afraid, can make one slightly cross-eyed. Please forgive my mistake.
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#13 Author of original report

Heather.........

AUTHOR: Kathleen - (U.S.A.)

While the information you are posting is interesting, the fact remains that the majority of those people being contacted by MCG don't have bad credit.

So, the issue, at least for me was...this company is out-of-control, I don't owe anyone a "past-debt", why am I on their phone-list, and....how do I get rid of these people?

Steve provided common-send information that has worked, in my case. I sent the Cease Communications letter, and the calls have stopped.

Readers may be scrolling-past your comments because, at this point, you are intent on engaging in an online argument with Steve who, quite frantkly, presents himself as a more credible source in this forum.

Perhaps being more constructive, rather than argumentative, would better serve your agenda....I'm still at a loss as to what that agenda is, except the need to be "right", which is juvenile.

Kathleen
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#14 Consumer Comment

A couple comments

AUTHOR: Giselle - (U.S.A.)

First, HEATHER, I wasn't talking to you or about you. I didn't say that I would scroll past YOUR comments, I said Karen's!!! Actually, I do and have read your comments.

S.N. your posting was terrific...hope to see you post here more often.

Just so that I stay on topic: MCG once contacted me about a debt I supposedly owed that went back to the late 80's!!! Idiots!
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#15 Consumer Suggestion

Steve, I Know You Are Trying

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

But you need to remember that you are attempting to explain the "law" to debt collectors. They didn't get it last week and they won't get it this week. The only thing they appear to understand it the script that is placed in front of them. They ignore the law as often as possible (or should I say when they can get away with it?) because it does not get them anywhere. I too appreciate the information you provide on this site and thank you for taking the time to try to get through to the all knowing (and I do smirk when I say this) debt collector.
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#16 Consumer Suggestion

Fish or Cut Bait, Steve

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Steve:

Don't cite state law preemption precedent without providing that precedent, Steve. Although you wouldn't be able to provide it on a POST-1996 DEBT, because it simply doesn't exist.

Debts incurred prior to the implementation of the 1996 amendment to the FCRA were quite often "legally manipulated" by collectors who would entice payments to "validly" restart the 7-year reporting period, because prior to the amendment, the 7-year period was measured from the date of last activity (which could include a recent payment) However, with the amendment, it is now dated from the charge-off of the debt (or the transfer to collections, whichever comes first). It's specifically BECAUSE of these sneaky tactics that the 1996 amendment was put in place.

And therefore the FTC has stated the following

"Placement for Collection

The term "placed for collection" means internal collection activity by the creditor, as well as placement with an outside collector, whichever occurs first. Sending of the initial past due notices does not constitute placement for collection. Placement for collection occurs when dunning notices or other collection efforts are initiated. The reporting period is not extended by assignment to another entity for further collection, or by a partial or full payment of the account. However, where a borrower brings his delinquent account to date and returns to his regular payment schedule, and later defaults again, a consumer reporting agency may disregard any collection activity with respect to the first delinquency and measure the reporting period from the date the account was placed for collection as a result of the borrower's ultimate default. A consumer's repayment agreement with a collection agency can be treated as a new account that has its own seven year period."

This reiterates what I've stated previously. You can agree to sign an agreement to pay a JDB for your debt (if you fall for one of their tricks), but the JDB must create a new account and report it in a positive manner for the duration of the payout term (as long as you pay on time). The old collection account can only remain for 7 years after charge-off. This means that if you make a payment to a JDB on a 6-year old charge-off, then the JDB must create a positive account in your name and report a positive pay history. The old charge-off account then becomes defunct and must fall off within the next year. But you better make sure to keep on time with your payments on the new accout, otherwise the newly created (and positive) account can become a negative and report for 7 years after you stop paying them.

Giselle:

I frankly don't care whether you scroll past my post or not.

It's absolutely hilarious that you're calling me Karen (a collector), when the federal laws I'm quoting BENEFIT CONSUMERS and prevent collectors from reporting a negative on your credit report for the rest of your life.

Steve, on the other hand, would like everyone to believe that payments to a collector/JDB (which DO reset the the SOL for lawsuits in some states), also restart the 7-year reporting period on a negative account. This OPINION is FALSE.

But by all means, if you prefer living with a negative account on your report for the next 10 or 20 years or more, listen to Steve, however, if you'd like them to come off within 7 years after the initial charge-off date, then listen to FEDERAL LAW.
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#17 Consumer Comment

Thanks Giselle..And for Heather - I told you that you were partially right!

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Giselle,

Thanks for the compliment! And I am glad to help whomever I can. I guess I was just lucky over the past 5 years fighting off 34 creditors with a total of $170k! Heather does not understand that.

Heather,

You are correct on the 7 year negative reporting rule. I stated that. I agree with you on this fact.

HOWEVER, SOME states have in thier constitution what is called a "pre-emption act". This allows them to top federal law in certain areas.

For example, CA law says that if the SOL is reset by payment, negative reporting can be extended for the duration of the SOL.

Other states have ruled that when a SOL is reset by payment to a new owner such as a debt buyer, it is considered a new account, because the original owner SOLD it. The original creditor is no longer involved. However, if no payment or payment arrangement is made to that NEW owner, the original 7 year period applies, as you stated.

Laws are not black and white. The final application and interpretation is by a judge.

How is it if I have know idea what I am talking about that I have beaten every debt collector and collection attorney/lawsuit filed against me in the last 5 years? Did I just get lucky? I think not. I am not a lucky person.

The laws you are quoting were written prior to the widespread JUNK DEBT BUYING business. These laws assumed that the negative reporting was involving only the original creditor or collectors hired by the original creditor. It never took JUNK DEBT BUYING into consideration.

There is much existing case law that will trump the laws that you have quoted in court. It is called precedent.
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#18 Consumer Comment

Steve: the ripoffreport hero!

AUTHOR: Giselle - (U.S.A.)

Steve is the ONLY person I'd listen to. He has continously taken time to try to advise upset, distraught and unfairly targeted people with consistantly logical and sound advice. I've been here at this site for 3 years and Steve is the only, THE ONLY POSTER that has ever made sense 100 percent of the time.

The poster above heather, whats her name? Karen? Sorry, I didn't look that closely....but guess I will look now since she has announced "to the room" she's gonna be back posting..I want to make sure I know her name so that I can scroll past her comments....
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#19 Consumer Suggestion

Wrong again, Steve.

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Steve,

Your insistence on spreading BLATANTLY FALSE information is a testament to nothing more than your self-image, and accomplishes nothing but making these poor people live with bad credit for much longer than they need to.

In 1996 the federal government amended the FCRA and added section 1681c(c) which states:

"(1) In general. The 7-year period referred to in paragraphs (4) and (6) of subsection (a) shall begin, with respect to any delinquent account that is placed for collection (internally) or by referral to a third party, whichever is earlier), charged to profit and loss, or subjected to any similar action, upon the experation of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the commencement of the delinquency which immediately preceded the collection activity, charged to profit and loss, or similar action."

This amendment was added to establish a DATE CERTAIN, so that bad accounts could not live indefinitely on a consumer's credit report. To back this up, the FTC's Amason opinion states the following in answer to a consumer's question:

"2. Is the reporting period extended if (A) the original creditor sells or transfers the account to another creditor, (B) the consumer responds to post-chargeoff collection efforts by making a payment on the debt, or (C) the consumer disputes the account with a CRA? Does it matter whether the 7-year period has expired when any of these events occurs?

No. In enacting the new provisions discussed above, Congress intended to establish a date certain -- 180 days after the start of the delinquency that led to the chargeoff -- to begin the obsolescence period. It did so to correct the often lengthy extension of the period that resulted from later events under the original FCRA. Enclosed are two staff opinion letters (Kosmerl, 06/04/99; Johnson, 08/31/98) that discuss the impact of these provisions, and the legislative history relating to their enactment, in more detail. Because the commencement of the seven year period is now described with some precision by the statute, it is our opinion that none of the subsequent events you listed -- sale of the charged off account by the creditor, or a payment on or dispute about the account by the consumer -- changes the allowable period for a CRA to report a chargeoff. "

So NOTHING resets the reporting time period for the original debt or the debt buyer/collection account. The ONLY thing that would begin a new 7-year reporting period is if a consumer was gullible enough to accept one of those BOGUS credit card offers sent out by debt buyers in order to lure consumers into applying for a brand new account. Even still, the debt buyer's collection account would have to fall off within the initial 7-year period and the debt buyer's newly opened credit card account could remain on a person's credit report AS A POSITIVE TRADELINE WITH TIMELY PAYMENTS.

And before you go off INCORRECTLY interpreting and interjecting how state laws trump the FCRAread 15 U.S.C. 1681t, which states specifically how the FCRA relates to state laws:

1681t Relation to State laws
(a) In general. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), this title does not annul, alter, affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this title from complying with the laws of any State with respect to the collection, distribution, or use of any information on consumers, or for the prevention or mitigation of identity theft, except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with any provision of this title, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency.

Which means, Steve, that when a state law sets a reporting time limit that is INCONSISTENT with the FCRA (meaning the time limit is longer under state law), then the FCRA trumps state law. It even goes on to say that states are prohibited from enacting any new reporting limit laws subsequent to the 1996 Amendment however, they've kindly allowed states that already had reporting laws on the books to leave them there (and use them ONLY IF THE TIME LIMIT IS SHORTER THAN THE FCRA).

I find it highly suspect why someone that professes to be such a "debt antagonist" would spread such damaging advice to fellow consumers, other than to protect that image.

I refuse to back down from your insults and will most assuredly take the opportunity to report your continued dissemination of damaging advice to the moderators of this board. Maybe they can make you see the light (as you obviously refuse to read the law).
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#20 Consumer Suggestion

Clearing up some more of Karen the collector's nonsense

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Karen,

What you do in no way helps people avoid bankruptcy! It is totally opposite! Collectors push people into filing BK! Collectors terrorize people until they cannot take it anymore, and BK is the only way out for many.

Collectors help no one but themselves. You are not customer service. You are not a counselor. You are a collector who does not get paid unless you collect. So you do whatever it takes to collect.

And, you state that the "SOL is 7 years in some states"...etc..Well, there you go again giving bad info..There is NOT even 1 state in the entire U.S. that has a 7 year SOL on collections. Not 1.
These are your choices: 2,3,4,5,6,8,10,15 years.

FYI...There are NO good debt collectors. The profile of a debt collector is a very scary one.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
You wrote:

I help people to avoid filing bankruptcy, I help people pay debts to get student loans or buy homes. If you owe debt you can't do these things. The statute of limitations applies to each state diffrently. Some states are 7 years, and others may be longer/ shorter. AND I HAVE A REAL JOB. THAT PAYS WELL.

Believe it or not, I know a few collectors who make OVER 100,000 a year working in collections. Its good money. I don't knock you for your job. My job does not define me.

Dont take it personally, it was not a shot at your credit. A lot of people don't care about their credit, and we do manually make phone calls. It is all not automated. Not all agencies are debt buyers.

What people don't realize is that there is a system to collections, and before you get upset do the homework. oh and it is far from sales.

Karen - Chicago, Illinois
U.S.A.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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#21 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Here's The Thing

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

I help people to avoid filing bankruptcy, I help people pay debts to get student loans or buy homes. If you owe debt , you can't do these things. The statute of limitations applies to each state diffrently. Some states are 7 years, and others may be longer/ shorter. AND I HAVE A REAL JOB. THAT PAYS WELL.

Believe it or not, I know a few collectors who make OVER 100,000 a year working in collections. Its good money. I don't knock you for your job. My job does not define me.

Dont take it personally, it was not a shot at your credit. A lot of people don't care about their credit, and we do manually make phone calls. It is all not automated. Not all agencies are debt buyers.

What people don't realize is that there is a system to collections, and before you get upset do the homework. oh and it is far from sales.
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#22 Consumer Suggestion

MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Heather,

Furthermore, federal law does not automatically override state law.

Some states, like CA, allow reporting past the 7 year if the statute of limitations in the state the debt was originated in is longer.

Each state has thier own rule for credit reporting, and many take precedence over the FCRA.

Many states allow the 7 year negative reporting to be reset if the SOL is reset.

The FCRA is NOT the only rule. It is, in most cases SECONDARY to state law.

That loophole for debts sold to another party is still valid in many state laws.

AND, when these violations occur, there is no enforcement available by any regulatory agency on an individual basis to the victim. The only recourse is for the victim to sue at own expense.

Therefore, it is not illegal in a criminal sense, but only as to civil penalty being available.

Debt collections and credit reporting are not black and white, and that is the problem. There needs to be 1 standard for everyone, and federal law needs to be held over state law, and criminal enforcement needs to be available on an individual/victim basis.
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#23 Consumer Suggestion

MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Heather,

Furthermore, federal law does not automatically override state law.

Some states, like CA, allow reporting past the 7 year if the statute of limitations in the state the debt was originated in is longer.

Each state has thier own rule for credit reporting, and many take precedence over the FCRA.

Many states allow the 7 year negative reporting to be reset if the SOL is reset.

The FCRA is NOT the only rule. It is, in most cases SECONDARY to state law.

That loophole for debts sold to another party is still valid in many state laws.

AND, when these violations occur, there is no enforcement available by any regulatory agency on an individual basis to the victim. The only recourse is for the victim to sue at own expense.

Therefore, it is not illegal in a criminal sense, but only as to civil penalty being available.

Debt collections and credit reporting are not black and white, and that is the problem. There needs to be 1 standard for everyone, and federal law needs to be held over state law, and criminal enforcement needs to be available on an individual/victim basis.
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#24 Consumer Suggestion

MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Heather,

Furthermore, federal law does not automatically override state law.

Some states, like CA, allow reporting past the 7 year if the statute of limitations in the state the debt was originated in is longer.

Each state has thier own rule for credit reporting, and many take precedence over the FCRA.

Many states allow the 7 year negative reporting to be reset if the SOL is reset.

The FCRA is NOT the only rule. It is, in most cases SECONDARY to state law.

That loophole for debts sold to another party is still valid in many state laws.

AND, when these violations occur, there is no enforcement available by any regulatory agency on an individual basis to the victim. The only recourse is for the victim to sue at own expense.

Therefore, it is not illegal in a criminal sense, but only as to civil penalty being available.

Debt collections and credit reporting are not black and white, and that is the problem. There needs to be 1 standard for everyone, and federal law needs to be held over state law, and criminal enforcement needs to be available on an individual/victim basis.
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#25 Consumer Suggestion

MORE info on 7 year reporting for HEATHER..

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Heather,

Furthermore, federal law does not automatically override state law.

Some states, like CA, allow reporting past the 7 year if the statute of limitations in the state the debt was originated in is longer.

Each state has thier own rule for credit reporting, and many take precedence over the FCRA.

Many states allow the 7 year negative reporting to be reset if the SOL is reset.

The FCRA is NOT the only rule. It is, in most cases SECONDARY to state law.

That loophole for debts sold to another party is still valid in many state laws.

AND, when these violations occur, there is no enforcement available by any regulatory agency on an individual basis to the victim. The only recourse is for the victim to sue at own expense.

Therefore, it is not illegal in a criminal sense, but only as to civil penalty being available.

Debt collections and credit reporting are not black and white, and that is the problem. There needs to be 1 standard for everyone, and federal law needs to be held over state law, and criminal enforcement needs to be available on an individual/victim basis.
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#26 Consumer Suggestion

Response to Heather the uneducated..Once more..

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Heather,

We have been through this before, but I will explain it to you one more time.

You would be correct, if it was the original creditor doing the collections. However, when the account is SOLD, the original creditor is no longer in the picture. The debt is considered transferred to the new owner for credit reporting purposes, therefore, the 7 years starts again if the debtor makes a payment. This is because the debtor is re-affirming the debt with the NEW owner, thus, A NEW DEBT. That is how the 7 years gets restarted on credit reporting AND SOL. They go hand in hand. When SOL gets reset, so does the 7 year negative reporting. It becomes a new account when it is re-affirmed to anyone but the original creditor.
>>>
You wrote:
Steve:

The timeline for reporting negative credit is 7 years from the date that the account was charged off - period. Payments will NOT reset the 7-year period.

Since you seem to be repeating the same incorrect information repeatedly, please check out the carreonandassociates internet site and click on the Bad Credit Reporting article listed under the "Resources" pulldown. I direct you here because it has a very detailed (and legally correct) explanation for laypeople of what starts the reporting period and specifically tells you why a payment will NOT reset the reporting clock.

The only negative that occurs with a payment on a 6-year old charge-off is that the account will change from a 6 year old charge-off to a 6 year old PAID charge-off with RECENT ACTIVITY - the new activity is what can significantly hurt your credit score, but the account still has to fall off within the initial 7-year period.

Another way to view this is to be aware that a collection account can NOT outlive the obsolescence of the original creditor's account. Once the original creditor's account falls off of the credit report at the 7-year period, the collection account must immediately follow suit.

Heather - Murphy, Texas
U.S.A.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If no payment was made on the old collection account to the NEW owner, you would be correct. I know the law. I have actually been in court many times. I have case law AND more than 20 years industry experience to back up my posts.
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#27 Consumer Suggestion

Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

AUTHOR: Cyn - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they are scammers.
Most of these "debt" are invalid.
They buy lists and try to collect from people who do not owe. We had to deal with them when they were harrassing my husband for an account he never even had! I sent them a certified letter as suggested on this site. We haven't heard from them since.
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#28 Consumer Suggestion

Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

AUTHOR: Cyn - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they are scammers.
Most of these "debt" are invalid.
They buy lists and try to collect from people who do not owe. We had to deal with them when they were harrassing my husband for an account he never even had! I sent them a certified letter as suggested on this site. We haven't heard from them since.
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#29 Consumer Suggestion

Merchants Credit tries to collect bogus "debts"

AUTHOR: Cyn - (U.S.A.)

Yes, they are scammers.
Most of these "debt" are invalid.
They buy lists and try to collect from people who do not owe. We had to deal with them when they were harrassing my husband for an account he never even had! I sent them a certified letter as suggested on this site. We haven't heard from them since.
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#30 Consumer Suggestion

Reporting Time Limit is 7 Years

AUTHOR: Heather - (U.S.A.)

Steve:

The timeline for reporting negative credit is 7 years from the date that the account was charged off - period. Payments will NOT reset the 7-year period.

Since you seem to be repeating the same incorrect information repeatedly, please check out the carreonandassociates internet site and click on the Bad Credit Reporting article listed under the "Resources" pulldown. I direct you here because it has a very detailed (and legally correct) explanation for laypeople of what starts the reporting period and specifically tells you why a payment will NOT reset the reporting clock.

The only negative that occurs with a payment on a 6-year old charge-off is that the account will change from a 6 year old charge-off to a 6 year old PAID charge-off with RECENT ACTIVITY - the new activity is what can significantly hurt your credit score, but the account still has to fall off within the initial 7-year period.

Another way to view this is to be aware that a collection account can NOT outlive the obsolescence of the original creditor's account. Once the original creditor's account falls off of the credit report at the 7-year period, the collection account must immediately follow suit.
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#31 Author of original report

Karen, you don't know a d**ned thing about my credit

AUTHOR: Kathleen - (U.S.A.)

Karen, you know absolutely NOTHING about my credit history, so please spare me the lectures about my financial behavior.

But *do* respond again, as this keeps your responses at the top of the scrolling screen for today. The more people who know about MCG, the better.

Thanks to all who have posted information about the CEASE COMMUNICATION letter.
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#32 Consumer Suggestion

Karen Needs To Get A Real Job

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

Karen, you can't be serious! Have you checked this website alone for complaints against Merchants Credit Guide? I too have been hounded by bottom feeders and guess what? Wasn't my debt. Now when I get calls such as these I give them one warning. The second time, I tell them I will file a complaint and sue them. MCG spends most of it's time trying to collect out of statute debts from ANYONE they might scare into paying. Nothing they do is legal let alone moral. So don't tell anyone you don't get them into debt. Make darned sure you are collecting on a legal debt from the party that created the debt.
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#33 Consumer Comment

Karen..The debt collector for MCG CO..How exactly do you "help people get out of debt"?

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Karen,

How EXACTLY do you help people? You help no one but your company and yourself.

Did you know that when a debtor pays a collection account, it actually hurts thier credit? It restarts the 7 year negative reporting and restarts the SOL on collections.

It now shows as a "paid collection" for another 7 years, where if it was just left alone it may have rolled off the report on its own in a year or so.

By making a payment it makes the debt legally collectable where it may not have been prior to the payment.

The stupidity amazes me that I read from debt collectors. Have you actually ever read the FDCPA and the FCRA and a few state laws?

Did you know that employees of debt collection agencies can individually be sued, and even criminally prosecuted for the violations of debtors rights in addition to the agency? It can happen to you, and I have done it. And I have won. I have prosecuted and sued individual collectors.

You might want to get some real life education on the collections industry before you continue to post your nonsense here.
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#34 Consumer Suggestion

Your are not being honest

AUTHOR: Kathleen - (U.S.A.)

I don't HAVE any outstanding debt. The company for whom you work, is on a fishing-expedition by using automated machines to harass people. You're hoping to "catch one". You are commissioned sales people. You advertise for sales people on your website. You are not providing a "service". Read the other complaints about your company on this website. Everyone has a similar experience.

After "Raymond" told me to "disregard" the calls, I still received automated calls.

You are not forthcoming regarding the nature of your call. "It is important that you call Ken Hughes. This is not a solicitation."

Yes it is. If you were honest brokers, you would be making personal phone calls to debtors. Instead, you use automated machines that, by your company's own admission, call thousands of people each day, harrass once or twice each day until the recipient of the calls finally calls *you.*

Again, this is a scam and I'd urge readers of this site to look-up this company to read the many compalints about this company and their tactics. Their abuse is widespread.
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#35 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What??!!!

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

Debt Collectors are not BOTTOM FEEDERS. We do not put you all in debt. As long as there is debt, there will be collection agencies. No one likes to pay the bills but every one loves to shop. There are laws that have to be followed, and I assure you are over doing it. I am one of the good guys who think that i help people get out of debt. I hate that you feel that way. What MCG is doing is not bad at all. It is not a scam at all.
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#36 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What??!!!

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

Debt Collectors are not BOTTOM FEEDERS. We do not put you all in debt. As long as there is debt, there will be collection agencies. No one likes to pay the bills but every one loves to shop. There are laws that have to be followed, and I assure you are over doing it. I am one of the good guys who think that i help people get out of debt. I hate that you feel that way. What MCG is doing is not bad at all. It is not a scam at all.
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#37 UPDATE EX-employee responds

What??!!!

AUTHOR: Karen - (U.S.A.)

Debt Collectors are not BOTTOM FEEDERS. We do not put you all in debt. As long as there is debt, there will be collection agencies. No one likes to pay the bills but every one loves to shop. There are laws that have to be followed, and I assure you are over doing it. I am one of the good guys who think that i help people get out of debt. I hate that you feel that way. What MCG is doing is not bad at all. It is not a scam at all.
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#38 Author of original report

Merchants Credit Guide Update

AUTHOR: Kathleen - (U.S.A.)

After reading all the complaints about this company on Ripoff.... I decided to call them, repeatedly, this evening. I demanded to know the nature of the "debt" they were trying to recover. No one would give me an answer. Finally, I spoke with RAYMOND, an abrupt and rude individual who informed me that their automated call-system makes "thousands" of calls each day all around the country. This means the scam is widespread. He asked for my phone number and, I told him that he already HAD my phone number since they had been calling ME. He yelled at me and reiterated that he couldn't help me unless I gave him my phone #, as their automated system had called me.

I gave him the number and, after listening to him fumbleing around with his keyboard for about 2 seconds, he stated "We have no such number in our system.....disregard the calls." Huh? You've been calling me EVERY DAY, INCLUDING SUNDAY FOR WEEKS...AT ALL TIMES OF THE DAY AND NIGHT !! I guess my repeated calls to them this evening did the trick. I filed a report with the FTC online. I would suggest anyone being contacted by this company do what I did........ be aggressive.... call them repeatedly and raise HELL.

I told them all I had read online, that I knew there is a class action lawsuit being considered against them, and that I'd be making sure people were informed about their scam. I've seen complaints on this board going back to 2004. Something needs to be done to put these bottom feeders out of business.
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