Debt collectors can be intense and unnervingly persistent when it comes to getting your money. They will call you on a daily basis and threaten to garnish your wages or destroy your credit if you don’t pay. When this happens, don’t let yourself be bullied.
You have rights that debt collectors violate at their own professional risk.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, regulates what third party debt collectors may say and do while trying to collect a consumer debt. Bullying and intimidation are strictly prohibited. Other illegal collection tactics include:
- Swearing and calling you names
- Claiming that you have committed a crime and threatening to call the police on you if you don’t pay
- Failing or refusing to identify themselves as debt collectors in every communication
- Calling you several times per day using an autodialer
- Pretending to be members of law enforcement
- Telling uninvolved third parties like your friends and co-workers that you owe money
Company Profile: Merchants Credit Guide Company
If you are being called by Merchants Credit Guide Company, information about the company is below.
Merchants Credit Guide Company is a debt collection agency located in Chicago, Illinois. It was established in 1958, has approximately 65 employees, and is managed by its CEO, Daniel F. Burtis.
Records archived at the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) website reveal that many consumers who believed they were being harassed by Merchants Credit Guide Company sued the company to reassert their rights.
Alleged Violations against Merchants Credit Guide Company
Rogelio Barnes vs. Merchants Credit Guide Company*
According to PACER, on November 6, 2015, Merchants Credit Guide Company sent Christine Barnes, wife of Illinois resident Rogelio Barnes, a collection letter for medical services Mr. Barnes had received. This letter was allegedly followed up by a phone call to Mr. Barnes directly on January 19, 2016.
The caller allegedly told him that if he did not pay immediately, the debt would appear on his credit report. When he inquired whether the debt was not already on his credit report, the caller allegedly stated that he had “dodged a bullet” because it had not yet been reported.
On January 19-20, 2016, Mr. Barnes obtained his credit reports. He observed that Merchants Credit Guide Company had pulled his Experian report on December 23, 2015 and January 13, 2016, resulting in inquiries, and had created “tradelines” on his Experian and Equifax credit reports, so the alleged representation that the debt had not yet been reported was false.
Feeling harassed by Merchants Credit Guide Company, Mr. Barnes hired a consumer attorney and sued the company for allegedly violating the FDCPA in the following ways:
- Using false, deceptive and misleading means to collect a debt
- Failing to send a debt validation letter after the first communication
The matter was later resolved.
Hire an Attorney
The phone numbers for this collection agency are:
If either number appears on your caller ID when the phone rings, it means that you are being called by Merchants Credit Guide Company. If they use deceptive and misleading means to get you to pay the debt, hire a consumer attorney.
If you file a claim against Merchants Credit Guide Company with your attorney’s assistance and win, you could potentially be awarded $1,000 per violation as well as attorney's fees, court costs, and any actual damages. When debt collectors ignore your rights, the law gives you the ability to send them a stern reminder.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is Case: 1:16-cv-02901 from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Merchants Credit Guide Company, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.