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Settle Your Debt With Merchants Credit Association

Dena Standley | October 27, 2023

Dena Standley
Legal Expert, Paralegal
Dena Standley, BA

Dena Standley is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience in legal research and writing, having received a certification as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal from Southern Technical College.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: The Merchants Credit Association, Inc. (MCA) is a Washington-based third-party collection agency. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) platform has many consumer complaints that MCA has violated, including misrepresentation and improper information sharing. If MCA contacts you or even sues you, you need to know your rights, and SoloSuit is your friend on the latter.

Has Merchants Credit Associations (MCA) harassed you by calling your cell phone, family, or friends? For one, the Merchants Credit Association is a third-party debt collector, which means they collect debts on behalf of other companies. Some consumers are scared of Merchants Credit Association and will lose sleep, suffer medical ailments from stress, and still have to prove the alleged debts.

If Merchants Credit Association calls you, regardless of whether you owe the debt, they could be violating your rights. For instance, when they robocall you without your consent or after you tell them to stop, they might be violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

MCA might also call you repeatedly, threaten you with a lawsuit, call you at work, discuss your debt with others, or harass you. All these violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Knowing your rights helps you stand up for yourself. If they go ahead and sue you, you can stop them. Here's what else you need to know.

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Merchants Credit Association: what is it, and how does it operate?

According to their website, the Merchants Credit Association has provided debt management solutions since 1937. The MCA Group is one of the leading debt recovery agencies serving businesses and communities for decades. Some of their clients include:

  • Financial institutions
  • Commercial and retail businesses
  • Municipalities
  • Homeowners' Associations
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Insurance
  • NSF Checks
  • Courts
  • Utilities
  • Educational institutions

They claim to deliver exceptional recovery results to their clients using their vast institutional knowledge. It rarely happens that way, and the reverse is true of how they treat consumers, as you will see below.

Below is the Merchants Credit Association phone number and other contact information:

  • Phone: (425) 643-2613 and (800) 755-1107
  • Address: 2245 152nd Avenue NE, Redmond, WA USA 98052
  • Fax: (425) 643-8546
  • Website:

Historically, Merchants Credit Association has been the subject of allegations, dating back to 1937, implicating its founder, Charles Sunderlin, and his associates in various misconduct charges, with varying results. These include hearings before the State Bar considering disbarment. Let’s take a closer look at Merchants Credit Association reviews and complaints.

Merchants Credit Association reviews and complaints

Merchants Credit ASsociation has an average rating of 1 out of 5 stars on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. Similarly, MCA only has a 1.1 out of 5 star ranking on Yelp.

In the last three years, the BBB has closed several complaint against MCA, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received dozens of complaints against Merchants Credit Association. These complaints claim that MCA collects on invalid debts and uses questionable methods to collect these debts. Here is an example of a real complaint from Merchants Credit Association’s BBB profile:

“MCA is trying to collect double payments from me. They keep ignoring my requests to deal with Lexington Law Firm. I am disabled and over 60. MCAs is violating Federal Law by contacting an elderly disabled person in an attempt to falsely collect funds. They are trying to scam me. They ignore my requests to deal directly with my legal representatives.”

What if the Merchants Credit Association sues me?

Putting off MCA legal notices and papers won't solve the problem. Even if you've seen it on TV, refusing to accept delivery or service of a lawsuit won't stop the process, and your absence will not stop the case.

In other words, the court could rule without hearing your side, and MCA debt collectors could win by default judgment, which allows them to garnish your wages. The court may also award them additional money for collection, interest, and attorney's fees.

In the future, it will be more difficult for you to get credit if you have a judgment on your credit report. Moreover, it can affect your chances of getting a home, job, insurance, or phone. The good news is that these outcomes can be avoided if you do the following.

Answer the Complaint

The Summons and Complaint contain a list of allegations made by MCA against you. Defending your rights requires that you respond to every allegation. Without a response, the court will assume you have taken responsibility for the allegations.

This stage is where SoloSuit comes in to help you quickly respond to debt collection lawsuits considering most states have a timeline. With SoloSuit, you will be asked all the necessary questions to complete your Answer.

After completing the forms, print the hard copies and mail them to the courts. Or you can use SoloSuit to have an attorney review and file them. Here are some responses you can provide to the allegation:

  • Admit
  • Deny
  • Deny due to lack of knowledge

Note that admitting all the claims will likely result in a judgment. On the other hand, when you deny a claim, it’s like asking the debt collector to prove it. If the collection agency didn’t keep good records of the transfer of your debt, or if the debt is in any way invalid, then they probably won’t be able to prove it. And you might just win the case.

State your affirmative defenses

Defend yourself affirmatively as a next step. Affirmative defenses are reasons you shouldn’t be held liable for the debt. It’s important to assert any affirmative defenses applicable to your lawsuit in your Answer, because once you respond, you typically won’t be allowed to bring up these defenses further on in the case.

Here are some example of powerful affirmative defenses for debt lawsuits:

  • The statute of limitations is expired. Each state has put a time limit on how long debt collectors can collect debt in each state. Once the time limit expires, creditors cannot collect.
  • The Summons and Complaint were not properly served. The Summons and Complaint should be served in good time to you or one of your household members who are of legal age.
  • Someone stole your identity. Individuals sued for a debt that isn’t theirs must follow the appropriate steps to report the theft and notify the debt collector. The debt collector cannot act against the individual unless the authorities find that identity theft did not occur.
  • The debt has already been paid. While this is rare, it can happen. Occasionally lines get crossed, and the creditor doesn’t update their files appropriately, resulting in a lawsuit for a debt you no longer owe.

SoloSuit makes it easy to assert your affirmative defenses.

File your Answer in court

File your Answer with the court clerk after you have completed it. Depending on the court, your Answer may be accepted via email or electronic filing. Beware that your cour may charge a filing fee. Some courts also have special requirements for filing, such as additional forms you must submit with the Answer or electronic filing instructions. SoloSuit files your Answer for you and knows your court’s specific filing requirements.

It is still important for you to serve the plaintiff even though you filed your Answer with the court. Generally, this can be done by sending a copy to their lawyer. You should send Merchants Credit Association a copy of all court documents you file and keep a copy for your records.

Many debt collectors drop the case once they receive a response, and at the very least, filing an Answer will buy you time to work out a different payment arrangement that works for your financial circumstance. So, be sure to respond to your debt lawsuit against Merchants Credit Association before your state’s deadline to avoid a default judgment, even if you plan to negotiate a debt settlement or payment plan.

Learn more about how to draft your Answer in the following video.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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