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 11 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

11 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 2 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 10
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 1
Total Closed Complaints 11

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

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

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

Additional Locations

  • 5508 Parkcrest Dr Ste 210

    Austin, TX 78731 (512) 346-4305

  • 1
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)

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
10/18/2011 Billing/Collection Issues
7/19/2011 Billing/Collection Issues
1