Q: I don't know why I'm being sued by Midland funding. I just received a notice that they have a judgment against me, and when I checked my credit report a judgment appears to have been granted back in January. The problem is that I have not lived in that part of the state since I graduated from college, the debt is for cable service that I didn’t have, and for equipment that I never used. I had internet service from that company, but that was paid off and turned off with the modem returned when I moved out.
I never got the summons, but my boss told me that they might even garnish my wages. My boss says just to pay it off, that unless I have a bunch of paperwork it’s just not worth the fight. I’m angry as hell that I’m being forced to pay for something that I didn’t do and that I have to pay interest on top of it! Is it worth it to fight this? Or is paying it off the lesser of two evils?
A: Midland Funding is what is known as a debt buyer. These companies purchase debts that are either 180 days or more into delinquency, defaulted debts, or the debts in which debtor has made less than the minimum payment for 180 days. Your debt was apparently sold – rightfully or wrongfully – by the cable company who was providing your Internet service. Midland has a reputation for buying debts that they cannot actually prove are owed - for which their parent company Encore Capital Group has paid heavy-duty fines. They are also known for purchasing legitimate debts, and then adding on a number of fees plus interest that the company lacks the documentation and authority to collect.
It sounds as if they didn’t try too hard to find you in order to properly serve you the summons, thus ensuring you could not answer the complaint or make a pleading, but they probably know where to find you in order to garnish your wages. This makes things a little more complicated. What you have to do is to file an appeal that will force Midland to prove that the debt is legitimate, that they own the debt, and that you are in fact the person who should be paying. They should also suspend any action such as garnishment against your wages. It’s very important that you do this quickly, and to do that quickly you’re going to need a lawyer.
I really can’t offer my best legal advice until I see you in my office, look over your paperwork, and see what Midland has already done. This form is very limited and intended only to give a general idea of approaches to resolving a legal issue over debt. Please call us either at the Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach office and make an appointment for a free initial consultation, we are open seven days a week and I know that we can help you to get a good result.