Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General TJ Donovan announced Vermont’s participation in a $6 million multistate settlement with Midland Funding LLC. As part of the settlement, Vermont will receive $67,309. Twenty-one Vermont consumers will receive some form of debt forgiveness. The settlement is between Midland and attorneys general of 38 states.
Midland is a debt buyer. After buying debt, Midland files debt collection actions against consumers for unpaid debts. The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into Midland’s deceptive practices of: (i) filing debt collection cases without the ability or intent to prove them; and (ii) signing affidavits without personal knowledge of the facts and without verifying the underlying information concerning consumers’ debts.
Attorney General Donovan said: “This matter ensures that no Vermonter will be called to pay a debt that is not valid. Collecting a debt is not an invitation to deceive Vermonters.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Midland must now follow comprehensive verification procedures for all future debt actions. These procedures include personal review of affidavits and review of underlying documents by Midland (or a third-party law firm retained by Midland). In addition, Midland must provide notice to consumers before filing litigation against them. Midland will also completely forgive many debts previously collected between 2003-2009, with eight Vermonters affected, and provide partial forgiveness to 13 Vermonters. Additionally, Midland will hold $25,000 in escrow for each state, for potential debtors who paid monies toward an unsubstantiated debt after 2009 and who come forward with such information.
You may contact the Vermont Attorney General’s Office if you believe you paid money to a Midland collections action that was not owed.