BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®

BBB Accredited Business since

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

Description

This company offers credit reporting, debt collection and billing services including early out programs.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 12 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

12 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 5 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 11
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 1
Total Closed Complaints 12

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

1 Customer Review on Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 1
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 1

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: January 01, 1970 Business started: 07/01/1965 Business started locally: 07/01/1965 Business incorporated: 04/16/1992 in TX
Type of Entity

Corporation

Business Management
Mr. Boyce Hornburg, President Ms. Pam Winslett, Vice President
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Boyce Hornburg, President
Customer Contact: Ms. Pam Winslett, Vice President
Business Category

Credit Reporting Agencies Billing Service Collection Agencies

Alternate Business Names
Merchants and Professional Bureau, Inc. MPB MPB Credit Bureau MPB Medical Billing

Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Summary

Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau has received 0 out of 5 stars based on 0 Customer Reviews and a BBB Rating of A.

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

Additional Locations

  • 5508 Parkcrest Dr Ste 210

    Austin, TX 78731 (512) 346-4305

X

What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

X

About BBB Business Review Content & Services:

Some Better Business Bureaus offer additional content & services in BBB Business Reviews.
The additional content & services are typically regional in nature or, in some cases, a new product or service that is being tested prior to a more general release.
Not all enhanced content & services are available at all Better Business Bureaus.

Professional AffiliationsX
X

Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

X

BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the business within two business days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the business's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.

X

What is BBB Advertising Review?

BBB promotes truth in advertising by contacting advertisers whose claims conflict with the BBB Code of Advertising. These claims come to our attention from our internal review of advertising, consumer complaints and competitor challenges. BBB asks advertisers to prove their claims, change ads to make offers more clear to consumers, and remove misleading or deceptive statements.

X

What government actions does BBB report on?

BBB reports on known significant government actions involving business' marketplace conduct.

X

Thank you for your feedback!

Help us improve by taking our survey.

X

BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.

Find a LocationX

  Change Location
Show Only Accredited Locations


Complaint Detail(s)

9/4/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I requested validation of the the following debts accounts #******* & #******* (it is partial as I retrieved this from my credit report) on May 1st per Texas Finance Code Section 392.202 which requires a debt collection agency or credit bureau to provide the alleged debtor with specific information concerning their debt including but not limited to: For the purpose of validation your company was to provide me with: •The name and address of the original creditor •The original date of default or non-payment of the debt with original creditor •The date the debt was transferred from the original creditor to the third party debt collector •The original balance •The current balance •Any fees added by your agency. Sec. 392.303 (a)(2) •Texas Surety bond information as required by Sec. 392.101 Please note Transunion, Experian, and Equifax are bonded in the state of Texas and are required to comply with Texas Finance Code. Merchants and Professionals has failed to respond to my debt validation request, and has essentially admitted, per Texas Finance Code 392.202(b)(2), that the debt in question is inaccurate. Per this requirement Merchants and Professionals must delete this trade line since the company has had sufficient time to complete an investigation to validate this debt in 30 days according to Sec. 392.202 (d)(1) and failed to comply with the law.

Desired Settlement: I am requesting the complete removal of this tradeline from all three major reporting agencies immediately and I request immediate notification by mail if this alleged debt is sold or transferred per Sec. 392.301 (a)(4).

Business Response: BBB- ***** ******* ******* ******* 8-28-14

We have not received a request for validation from Mr. ******* prior to today’s complaint
through the BBB. We will consider this as notification from him that he
requires validation of the two referenced accounts and will immediately contact
our clients for the documentation.


We always respond to validation requests.  We will either supply the requested
documentation or we will notify the person in writing that the account is being
cancelled because our client is unable to provide the necessary documents. 
Mr. ******* can expect one of the above two responses regarding the referenced accounts. 

 
Also, please note that we followed the law in notifying Mr. and Mrs. ******* of their right to
request validation of the accounts. Below is a brief history of both accounts. 
 

Account #******* was assigned to us July 23, 2012 in the
name of ***** *******. We mailed our required first notice on July 24, 2012. This
letter explains their right to request validation of the debt. Our letter was
not returned by the Post Office as undeliverable. We did not receive a response
from the *******’s. In our attempt to resolve the account we mailed several
more letters with no response to any of them. 
On August 23, 2012 we attempted to speak with them by phone. Mrs. **** *******
answered the phone, stated she was *****’s spouse but then refused to verify they
were the correct party by confirming their address.  She asked if this was for a debt collection;
we replied we need to verify we have the correct party.  She said she wouldn’t do that.  We
asked her to please have her husband call us back. He did not. We then sent more letters, to
which again, no response from the *******’s.

 
Account #******* was assigned to us March 6, 2013 in the
name of **** and ***** *******. We mailed our required first notice on March 8,
2013. Again, this letter explains their right to request validation of the
debt. Our letter was not returned as non-deliverable.  We sent several more letters and never
received a response from the *******’s. We made phone contact with **** ******* on April 5, 2013.
We gave her the required mini-miranda after she verified they were the correct party. Then we
told her we were calling about this account and she hung up without saying a
word. We sent several more letters with no response from the *******’s.

 

We gave them every opportunity to dispute these debts. We reiterate; we did not receive any letters
from the *******’s at any time. 
 

We will obtain the required validation from our clients and mail the documents to the address of
**** ****** ***** **** ****** ** ***** as soon as possible.

 

*** ********

********* **** *********

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

***** *******

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

9/2/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: ***** ********* ****** billed me on 3-24-14 for a work related accident. We contacted ***** ********* and told them they had billed wrong, they should have billed ********** *******.(as ****** ******* ******** had) I was not billed again & assumed they had corrected their mistake. I received a collections notice/threat from Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau dated 7-22-14. We made 2 calls to Merchants in an attempt to correct ***** *********'s mistake only receiving rhetoric & threats on our credit history. I will attempt to do ***** *********'s job and pass this bill from Merchants & Professional Credit Bureau on to my employer. I need to make sure this bill collector does not put this on my credit record. The total amount due was $31.00.

Desired Settlement: Letter of apology & proof this was not put on my credit history.

Business Response: BBB- ******* * ********* *******On August 7, 2014 Mrs. ****** ********* (*******’s wife) called our office and on August 11, 2014 ******* ********* called. They both stated this was a work related injury and that his employer should be billed. The problem is that we were told by them that his employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance.  They wanted our client to send a bill to his employer.

Our client is prohibited from doing that since the employer doesn’t carry worker’s compensation insurance. It would be a violation of HIPAA and other privacy laws for our client to bill his employer. Our representatives tried to explain to both Mr. and Mrs. ********* that we could not contact his employer on his behalf and neither could our client. Our representatives tried to explain that he would need to present the bill to his employer and ask them to pay the bill.

Since our calls are recorded I listened to both phone calls. Mr. *********’s statement that they received “rhetoric & threats” from our representatives is an untrue statement. Our representative tried very hard to explain what needed to happen and why. Both of our representatives remained professional the entire phone calls with Mr. and Mrs. *********.  (The recording is available if anyone wishes to hear them.)

This account has not been placed on the credit file at this time.  If paid before the end of September it will never be placed on the credit file.  If the bill is not paid before the end of September it would be placed on the credit file, shortly thereafter, as an unpaid collection item.

If Mr. or Mrs. ********* would like to call me direct I will be happy to try and answer their questions. They can reach me at ###-###-####.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

7/23/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I have just had a second amputation on my right leg because the first doctor did a very poor job on it. I have home from the hospital five days and I get a letter form this credit bureau demanding I pay this bill in full. I called this bureau today and several times I was told if I yelled at them they would hang up. This was told to me before I did get upset. I tried to tell them I was making payments on this bill and that I should not have been reported to a collection agency. She tried to tell me that the sender could send to the credit bureau for collection anytime. I tried to tell her this was not right and she kept telling me it was the law. I tried to tell her I knew what the law was and they could not do this. I did keep getting louder and when I was asking her how a person that got only $1300 a month retirement could write checks for this amount of money, then she hung up on me. I then called the company who issued the bill to the credit agency and I think I got it resolved but this credit company defiantly does not need to be messing with peoples credit. I will lay odds that they have already done something to my credit. Please help solve this problem.Thank you ***** ********

Desired Settlement: Do to other reports from this agency that appear on my credit rating I expect my credit score to be improved greatly. They said they had two others on me but they or anyone else informed me I had an out standing debt.

Business Response: BBB- ***** ******** 3929498 7-23-14

 

 

Since we record our phone calls I listened to the call
between Mr. ******** and our representative. Our representative handled the
phone call professionally and was polite to Mr. ******** the entire call. She
did tell Mr. ******** that the client could assign an account with a remaining
balance at their discretion.  She did ask
Mr. ******** not to yell at her. She did disconnect the call after he got even
more upset and yelled even louder.

 

We contacted our client. They confirmed Mr. ******** contacted
them on July 21, 2014 and they agreed to let him make monthly payments. They
told us to not report his account to the credit file as long as he makes his
monthly payment.

 

This account has not been reported to any credit repository.

 

If any issues regarding his account arise in the future I
encourage Mr. ******** to contact me directly and I will assist him as best as
I can.

 

Thank you,

 

*** ********

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because: They did not tell you the person wanted to argue with me instead of trying to solve the issue.  I was trying to let them know that I just had my right leg amputated for the 2nd time because the first doctor messed it up and that a person with my fixed income can not afford to write checks for the amount requested because other bills will suffer and then I will be reported to tem through someone else but I never got the chance because the lady hung up on me and did not care about my situation.  She made me stress level go up and since I am now diabetic she made my sugar level go extremely high.  If you know anything qbout diabetes then you know this is not good at a ll.

Regards,

***** ********

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable offer to resolve the complaint. However the consumer did not accept the offer.

6/19/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: This collection agency has refused to answer my demand for validation per State and Federal Collection and Reporting Laws. This debt collector placed marks on all my credit reports without proper notification, as I received no dunning notification per required by the FDCPA legislation. Improper collection activity Credit reporting is considered collection activity. I have previously sent a letter requesting validation of this debt, but they were unable to provide the requested information. I have disputed this account on my credit reports, the most recent disputed and the account was verified, to which I have no knowledge or documentation. I sent another letter to Merchants, requesting them to comply and provide validation of the debt allegedly owed, to which I again have not received a response. I checked my report today,06/11/2014 and I am still being burdened by the inaccurate reporting. I am requesting your office look into these allegations and help me procure a deletion from all credit reporting agencies until this company can successfully validate my debt as they are mandated by law to do. I am considering legal action against Merchants, however, I felt compelled to urge your office to help me in my crusade to remove Merchants and reestablish my name and credit. I am not sure if this debt is mine or not, however, their intentional act of misleading their reporting should be enough to sue them, and should be enough for your office to force their compliance in this issue. I hope you can help me out in this matter. Thank you very much for your time

Desired Settlement: remove what they are reporting on my credit report(s) immediately as they've failed to comply with the the law.

Business Response: BBB-*** *********** *******

 

Mr. *********** is mistaken in several of his comments.
Following are the facts of this account.

 

On July 11, 2012, as required by law, we sent our first
notice to Mr. ***********. This notice contained information on the account
along with information on his rights to dispute the accuracy of the account. It
also informed him that it may be reported to his credit file. Mr. ***********
did not respond to our letter and it was not returned by the Post Office.

 

We sent two more letters and again there was no response of
any sort. We then attempted to reach Mr. *********** by phone. After several
attempts we did make phone contact with him on August 17, 2012. Our phone calls
are recorded so I listened to this call.  We verified we had the correct party on the
phone and as required by law, gave Mr. *********** the mini-miranda for
collection accounts.

 

In his complaint to the BBB, Mr. *********** stated he isn’t
sure if this debt is his or not but, during our phone call, he confirmed that
our client did render him services but he said he had paid in full up front for
their services. We told him we would check with our client and if they showed
still owing we would request an itemized statement from them and then mail it
to him. We mailed the itemized statement on August 20, 2012 showing the amount
paid by his insurance, the amount he paid and the remaining balance due. We
gave Mr. *********** a week to contact us, he did not respond, so we again
attempted to contact him by phone. He never answered the phone or returned our
calls. We then sent three more letters to him with no response.

 

On July 1, 2013 (almost a year later) we received a dispute
letter from Mr. ***********. As required by law, we requested validation of the
account from our client. Due to the age of the account it took some time for
our client to gather the documents. But they did respond with proper
documentation on July 31, 2013 and we immediately mailed the validation
information to him that same day. He did not respond to our mailing.  Our mail was not returned by the Post Office.


 

On July 31, 2013 we also received a request from ******** to
verify that the account was being reported on the correct credit file. We
verified his name, address, and social security number.

 

On June 10, 2014 (again, almost a year later) we received a
letter from him that stated in part that he is not disputing the validity of
the debt but simply requesting proof on the debt. As of today, we are mailing
the information we sent to him in July of 2013 by certified mail.

 

As you can see, we have made every attempt possible to
communicate with him and have sent him all the documentation he requested. This
is a validated debt and we deny the account is reported inaccurately.  Also, there is no “intentional act of
misleading” of our reporting. We have reported this account as a “disputed
account” (as required by law) since July 2013.

 

One last thing, on both of the letters we received from him he
listed his address as **** *****
**** and that is where we have sent all correspondence. On the file from the
BBB his address is shown as ****
***** ****. If this is in fact his address then his correspondence to us should
have had that same address. If the **** is an incorrect address, and he will
let us know, I will forward the validation paperwork to that address.

 

  

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:  I cannot accept the response because I have not received "validation" per Federal Law yet.  They stated in their response that they sent it but I haven't received it hence, I haven't reviewed it.  They offer no proof that they have provided anything to me ever.  And they continue to damage me financial while violating the law.

They allude to some conversation, which I have no recollection of and would be hardly admissible in collection of a debt. In fact the recording of a phone conversation for the purposes of collecting a debt doesn't seem quite legal, so when I complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding this collection agencies failure to abide the regulations I will furnish them their admission of recording conversations (or if they actually didn't falsely claiming recording conversations to help aid them in the collection of a debt would be illegal - false statements are illegal)    

That does not excuse the fact that they still haven't "validated" the debt.  And I bet that if and when I do receive something in the mail from them it will be deficient to validate.  They fail to even show a contractual relationship between me and them - why would I pay them?  Where's the contract?  Where's my specific permission and authorization under § 805.  Communication in connection with debt collection   [15 USC 1692c] (b) COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD
PARTIES.  Except as provided in section 804, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of
a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in
connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than a consumer.  There is NO permission granted by the law for you to be allowed to report anything to a 3rd party.


Where is this VALIDATION the state they have given, and is it complete?  The law says they can not verify the information and continue collection efforts without validating this debt.

Regards,

*** ***********

Business Response: In response to Mr. ***********’s statement that he hasn’t
received our client’s validation of his debt: we mailed the first validation
July 31, 2013 and it was not returned by the Post Office to us. Our second
mailing just occurred. We mailed it by certified mail on June 13, 2014. We have
not received a signature card from the Post Office and have not received our
package back from the Post Office.

 

Regarding his comments about our recording of phone calls:
in the state of Texas recording of phone calls are legal as long as one party
of the phone call is aware of the call being recorded. Our representatives are
aware they are being recorded. We use these recordings for training and support
issues.

 

If Mr. *********** would like to contact me by phone or come
to our office I will play the recording of the phone call for him.

 

Regarding his comment of not having a “contractual
relationship” with us: services were rendered by our client and he signed their
“Consent to Services” form. We don’t purchase debts. Our clients assign their
accounts to us when they become delinquent.

 

Regarding his statement that he didn’t give us permission to
report this account: The law he is quoting does not pertain to reporting
information to a credit file. Our government does make some strange laws but
even they realize that if it was a requirement that consumers have to give permission
before anything derogatory was reported then everyone would have a perfect
record because permission would NEVER be given.

 

The law states that when written dispute of a debt is
received we must validate and we have. The law states when an account is
disputed by the consumer we have to report it as disputed on their credit file
and we have.

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

I still have received nothing in the mail from Merchants.  Nor have I received that form they say I signed gives them the right to become a party to any contract, nor that I signed permitting them to report anything on my credit report.

Further, I beg to differ regarding their response that they are allowed to report information about me to a 3rd party under: § 805.  Communication in connection with debt
collection   [15 USC 1692c]

Let us examine the exact language:

"COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES. --Except as provided in Section 804, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector,
or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy, a debt
collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting
agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector."

Here is how I see it is written:

Look where the comma is after that part..."a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law,... See, the comma comes after the "if
otherwise" not before. It is specifically targeted to the consumer reporting agency. You know it’s not permitted by law or else they would have
put it at the end of the whole list of who they "may communicate" with, to include all of them. Punctuation is very important in law. They are
being sneaky!

This may not be how Merchants nor many other collection agencies practice the law, however, the law is the law.  And they've been doing it wrong for years!  And this could be a giant problem for collection agencies throughout the country.  They have caused damages to millions of consumers credit by breaking the law.  Think of the damages $$$.  

And regarding recording phone calls.  They hide behind a flimsy State law.  Well I'm going to rely on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is the new sheriff in town, with unlimited budget to determine "right" from "wrong" and Debt Collectors need to be especially careful regarding consumers, and everything they do to a consumer that is in order to “collect a debt” must be definitely spelled out and a warning must precede
it.  You certainly gave no warning that you were recording a phone call that is being used in order to “collect a debt”. 

The CFPB is a very fluid and broad interpretation organization and will consider “bad behavior”, not just the “law”
in fining Merchants and put an end to their unfair tactics.  Furthermore, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits:  “unfair” means to collect or attempt to collect a debt.  I’d consider failure to notify a consumer that a call is being recorded to collect a debt as falling within "unfair".

And even if a consumer in a phone conversation, without seeing anything in writing, given the voluminous nature of doctors and medical bills in today's society - "admitted" (and who knows what their definition of "admitted" to owing the debt in a mere phone conversation means) the consumer given the lack of physical proof, against a slick on the phone collection agent, could easily have confused one bill or debt for another.  After all this was truly a stealth phone conversation that only the professional collection agent knew was recorded and he/she knew what the mission was - to get admission to a alleged debt and payment for that alleged debt, without showing any proof of the alleged debt over the phone from an unsuspecting consumer, whether it is owed or NOT.  So he/she could make a buck!

I have been damaged by this Collection Agency financially with the resent lack of purchasing power and higher interest rates on resent purchased that has been cause specifically by Merchants and will be looking to collect from them, if they don't stop damaging NOW.  

Merchants has not just damaged me, but many consumers using the same "unfair" and as far as I read the law illegal reporting of information on consumers credit reports without "prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector"

I see major damages to consumers by this collection agency.  Perhaps a class-action suite is needed to bring them into line with consumer rights and the law.

Regards,

*** ***********

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable offer to resolve the complaint. However the consumer did not accept the offer.

1/3/2014 Billing/Collection Issues
5/8/2013 Billing/Collection Issues
9/17/2012 Billing/Collection Issues
9/5/2012 Billing/Collection Issues
6/29/2012 Billing/Collection Issues
3/27/2012 Billing/Collection Issues
3/19/2012 Billing/Collection Issues
1/17/2012 Problems with Product/Service