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Just a junk debt buyer, however there is apparently some evidence they are connected to NCO Financial, and possibly other junk-brand names, so take care they don't double-team or otherwise play you.

Their contact information is as follows:

Merchants' Credit Guide Co.
223 West Jackson Blvd, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60606-6912
Phone: 312-360-3000
Fax: 312-360-3024
Consumers are told to call: 888-249-4134 and other multiple rotary line numbers.
http://www.merchantscreditguide.com/contact-merchants-credit-guide.php

Their callers use a host of made-up names, so don't pay any attention to them; just answer the phone and indicate that you are required to advise them this call is being recorded in the case of future litigation. They will either immediately hang up or suddenly become professional and courteous.

Ask them what you want to know; if the caller is too incompetent to answer your questions, or they continue to make harassing calls, then mail them a certified 'stop-calling' letter and save your signature receipt.

If there is any real basis for collection, they will either write you a letter to offer a deal or sell the debt to someone even lower on the food chain, if that's possible.
Rubber Duck
 Oct 09th, 2009
Low life debt collection agency. I called back and see who called and they asked me for a case # and if you don't have it they will ask for SSN. Unless there is a confirmed debt you are aware off, give SSN at your own risk.
Chicago
 May 18th, 2008
Same outfit as 888-249-1037. They do say to
call 888-249-4134 "if you feel you have received
this call in error", but I haven't.
W.E.
 Feb 27th, 2008
This number calls about 3 or 4 times a week and nobody ever answers and you can tell that nobody has hung us. So I tell them to stop calling if they have nothing to say this is harassment and I will be reporting them. So since I told them that today I will see if they call anylonger. Let ya know..
Krysiak
 Oct 31st, 2007
These people are leaving messages looking to collect debt (from someone that doesn't live there). It's always a recorded message.
Terri M
 Oct 11th, 2007
I call back to this number and they asked personal information without identifying themselves, when I asked them to identify themselves, they hung up on me?
George
 Sep 12th, 2007
Like was alrady mentioned
"Recorded message from Merchant Credit (collections) which contains a 3 second break. If you don't hang up during those 3 seconds, you are deemed to have accepted the call"

something to that effect, then saying they were trying to collect a debt.
RB
 Aug 22nd, 2007
I got a call from this number on my cell. It was an automated message saying "This is a call for ... (I don't remember the name). If you are not (they said the name again), please press 9." So I did and then hung up. I was afraid it was some kind of phone spam, though.
Lea
 Aug 21st, 2007
I RECEIVED A VOICE MAIL ON TODAY FROM A MAN WHO CHOSE NOT TO LEAVE HIS NAME , HIS BUSINESS NAME, HIS REASON FOR CALLING OUR HOME, OR THE PERSON'S NAME FOR WHOM HE WAS CALLING. THE CALLER ASKS THAT YOU PRESS "1" TO SPEAK TO THE NEXT AVAILABLE OPERATOR. THEN THERE'S A LONG PAUSE. FINALLY, HE STATES TO CALL 888-249-4134 IF YOU FEEL YOU RECEIVED THIS CALL IN ERROR. I'M RETIRED & DEBT-FREE. I OWE NO ONE...PAST OR PRESENT.
TWIGG
 Aug 20th, 2007
everyone listen i found out on the net that its something called cross charge some one calls some one from jail and no one talks they enter a number and it bills them so they can talk longer
john paul
 Aug 15th, 2007
Received mail from "Ken" Hughes, MCGC, 223 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago. Claims purchased $46.10 debt from AT&T, a company I hadn't been with for app 12 years. Wrote back that harassment must stop.
Soni
 Aug 10th, 2007
Got my second call this morning at 9:57. The caller was from a Merchant Credit Company. He called at a very bad time for me, and I'm afraid I gave him no chance to say anything. I told him my info had been stolen and info sold illegally. He asked me to confirm my social and I hung up on him. I'm hoping I can handle it better next time.
Soni
 Aug 09th, 2007
Since this was a new number to me, I answered. One minute of dead silence.
max843
 Aug 07th, 2007
We've also been receiving these calls for months, and they often hang up after I answer hello a couple of times. We have no outstanding debt that they could legitimately be collecting. Sometimes they call 3 times a day.
L Hostetler
 Aug 03rd, 2007
First call at 6:00 p.m. Said it's collection. This doesn't fit, and am especially wary of this since I just received notice yesterday from a check security agency that my ID was illegally sold by one of their employees. Will keep on top of this one.
Sony
 Aug 03rd, 2007
I got a letter from a collection agency saying I owe $2K in debt to Sprint PCS - Not true. I called 888 249 1037 Mr Jones answered - sd this is a collections agency I said thanks and Hung up.
Ms. Doe
 Jul 26th, 2007
Called and hung up.
Tracie
 Jul 26th, 2007
"there will be a 3 second pause and by continuing to listen you are confirming you are XXX "
Zen
 Jul 18th, 2007
Recorded message from Merchant Credit (collections) which contains a 3 second break. If you don't hang up during those 3 seconds, you are deemed to have accepted the call and the claim that you are the party they're calling. I've gotten dozens of these calls despite my having no knowledge of the party they're looking for. Since the answering machine answers the phone and doesn't hang up during the break, they're convinced that I am evading them despite calls to the contrary. What a racket!
ABaglan
 Jul 13th, 2007
Called on 07/07/07 at 7:00 p.m. (exactly). Left a message to call Ken Hughes.
LSH
 Jul 08th, 2007
Same story as everyone else. Too bad we can't do a phone slam back at them.
JLH
 Jun 22nd, 2007
I get phone calls from this number several times a day. all saying the same message. Is there anything we can do abou tit
T West
 Jun 20th, 2007
These people call me constantly!!! I've started picking up the phone and hanging up so that it doesn't go into voicemail where it plays over and over. Unfortunately I can't delete until it's over...Ahhhhhh!
H
 Jun 19th, 2007
This number shows up daily. I don't know who they are, but we have been getting similar calls from other collection agencies for non existent debts, all in my husband's name. We took out a mortgage in November 2006 in his name and that is when these annoyance calls started. Are we on a scam list and how do we get off?????
Kelley
 Jun 16th, 2007
Dear C,
MCG stands for Merchants Credit Guide. They are a debt collection agency. They also sent me a letter saying I have a debt which is more than 7 years old. They certainly wont be getting any money from me.
Stink
 Jun 10th, 2007
They hung up when the phone was picked up. Now when they call i will not answer again. People like this Ken Hughes should be held accountable and made to pay for the calls. What a scammer !!!!
Mars
 Jun 07th, 2007
Mulitple calls from Ken Hughes to my cell phone with ladies voice: Please call 888.249.1037. I called and asked them to remove my phone number. The person they wanted was Mark Gonzales. NOT ME! Mr. Jones was pleasant and removed my number from their database. Fin?
NOT_Mark
 Jun 04th, 2007
We just installed a new phone system in the office, and this ASHCROFT keeps leaving messages on my new number's voice mail. I just delete them. Tons of hits when this number is Googled.
CH
 May 24th, 2007
Have received numerous calls sometimes as often as twice a day.
I am on the do not call list. They say this is not a solisitation. How can this be stopped?
G Stonesifer
 May 21st, 2007
If you are getting calls from these junk debt buyer scumbags please arm yourself with knowledge, visit creditboards dot com and read up on how to handle these people.
Omaha Guy
 May 17th, 2007
I get 3 - 4 calls a week from this number
RD
 Mar 21st, 2007
must be some $ in trying to collect from anyone who calls back just delete or ignore
dont call
 Feb 28th, 2007
One more link, and a very good one!
http://forum.freeadvice.com/showthread.php?t=219553
Rich K
 Feb 12th, 2007
This is Merchants Credit Guide, and extremely shady collection agency from Illinois. Even if you once owed money, they may be trying to collect on a debt that's beyond the statute of limitations. Check these links:
http://wbztv.com/video/?id=20697@wbz.dayport.com
http://cltg.org/cltg/barbara/2005/05-08-24_Consumer_warning-Beware_bogus_collection_notices.htm
http://chipford.com/ripoff/merchants.htm

and good luck!
Rich K
 Feb 12th, 2007
Just recieved another call from ken hughes office this morning(888)249-1037.Been getting them for the last year, everyday.When I've tried to call them back...it's pretty much impossible to work out what they want.They offer a call blocking...that does not seem to work for that number.
s k
 Jan 20th, 2007
Keep calling my cellular phone and wasting my minutes. 8882491037 - Call Back Ken Hughes this is not a telemarketer call - WHATEVER. Why are they calling my cellular number and wasting my minutes when I never give it out. They did answer when I called back, ugh.
Kelly
 Jan 18th, 2007
Left message on my machine, saying "if you are not (my name), hang up." When obviously I didn't hang up, since it was on my machine, it said "by listening to this message, you have acknowledged you are.." and went on to tell me it was a call from a debt collector. I guess anyone who gets a message on their machine is acknowledging that they are that person.
AB
 Jan 17th, 2007
I answered the phone and no one would pick up. So I called the number back and was told they were looking for someone names "Frank Y-----------". I told the old bag that they had the wrong number and that they better not call my house again and hang up on me.
Denny B.
 Jan 15th, 2007
I suggest calling them back at 888-249-1037 over and over and just leaving the phone off the hook - so it will cost them money. It's a toll free number!

Remember that dialing a number that begins with 888 is just like dialing an 800 number; both are often toll-free, but not always. Companies are prohibited from charging you for calls to these numbers unless they set up a valid presubscription agreement with you first.

You can also file a complaint with the FCC here:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html
or
How to File a Complaint

You can file a complaint by e-mail (donotcall@fcc.gov), telephone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY, or mail. Your complaint should include:

*

name, address, and telephone number where you can be reached during the business day;
*

the telephone number involved with the complaint; and
*

as much specific information as possible, including the identity of the telemarketer or company contacting you, the date on which you placed your number on the national Do-Not-Call registry or made a company-specific do-not-call request, and the date(s) of any subsequent telemarketing call(s) from that telemarketer or company.
M
 Jan 01st, 2007
I've been receiving calls from the same 888-249-1037 number off and on at all times of the day and night and these people MUST be stopped. They are abusing our privacy rights and not obeying the law of the "do not call" list...
M
 Jan 01st, 2007
Offering DishNetwork reletated stuff.
I told them I was on do not call registry, to please stop calling or risk being reported to FCC.
Roy
 Dec 19th, 2006
Woman computer voice, says "If this is [a person's name, someone I've never heard of], then please stay on the line. By listening to this message, you acknowledge that you are [the strange person's name again]..." How can this serve as acknowledgement if it is on my answering machine? "She" (the computer voice) identifies herself as "Merchant Credit Card Company" and says it is an attempt to collect a debt. I have recieved the call twice now, a week apart.
B
 Dec 01st, 2006
http://sclblog.com/2006/05/13/is-ken-hughes-looking-for-you/
Jer
 Nov 24th, 2006
THESE PEOPLE KEEP ON CALLING TWO AND THREE TIMES A DAY I AM GETTING SICK AND TIRED OF THESE PHONE CALLS THEY ARE GETTING ANNOYING THEY CALL ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT AND IF THEY DONT STOP I WILL CONTACT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE TO SEE IF THEY CAN PUT A STOP TO THIS HARRASSMENT IF THIS DONT WORK I WILL CALL THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
CHRISTY N.
 Nov 02nd, 2006
Left message that I must call Ken Hughs for a very important call.This is not a sales call.Call 888 249 1037. The call was made 10/27/06. It was on caller ID as Toll Free Number. I get these calls all the time. I called them approxamatly 4 months a go. I talked to Ken Hughes he led me to believe he was a lawyer trying to collect a debt.I told him he had the wrong person that I never owed the debt he was trying to collect and never done buisness with the place I was suppose to owe money to. My credit is perfect and always has been. I`m 72 years old and don`t need this harrassment.
D. Harmon
 Oct 27th, 2006
two calls in the past week on my cell phone--and it's registered in the "do not call" database. "call ken hughes at 888-249-1037" was the message. fat chance of that!
D
 Oct 20th, 2006
Phone number on caller ID was 888-249-1037. I received a message from an automated voice saying that I must contact Ken Hughes at the above number. It also said that it was not a solicitaion call. The message was repeated and then the automated caller hung up.
Chris
 Oct 19th, 2006
Just "google" for this number to see all of the complaints. If you them call back, do it from the phone number they called. Do not give out any personal information.
J
 Oct 18th, 2006
left a message that I must contact her at 888.249.1037, that it is not a sales or solicitation call.
aj
 Oct 09th, 2006
I called it back, they wanted my phone number, which I gave, and they stated they wanted to talk to my brother-in-law. I said I didn't know him and they finished call.
D
 Oct 09th, 2006
I called them back and they had me on hold for 8 minutes. I literally put the phone down and came back to see if they still had me holding and YES they did...I hung up. Total harrassment and is illegal. What can we do??
MB
 Sep 23rd, 2006
Call at least every other day. Don't leave a message and if I answer the phone they don't say anything. Not waiting all day for them to speak.
Christy
 Sep 12th, 2006
I have actually called them back b/c I was sick of getting calls. It is a collection company and they are looking for someone who we don't know and I have asked to have them remove this # 3 times and we still get calls it is harrassment and it getting out of hand.
HCWE
 Sep 11th, 2006
"It is very important that you contact Ken Hughes at 888-249-1037. This is not a sales or solicitation call."

Funny, why don't I buy that?
MRiese
 Sep 08th, 2006
Merchants Credit Guide, well known junk debt collector, often operating fradulently. This appears to be their latest number.

Search for them on www.ripoffreport.com. Also see entries on this site for one or more of these numbers:

312-360-3000
312-360-3024
312-470-2606
312-470-2611
312-470-2615
312-470-2620
312-895-3406
312-895-3485
312-895-3749
321-470-2611
800-835-0531
866-371-6934
888-249-1027
888-249-1033
888-249-1037
888-249-4134
K
 Sep 01st, 2006
Got a call from this number on my mobile phone and asked me to call back 888-249-1037. I called back but was on hold for 3-4 mts. I suspected and googled the number and now know several people have the same experience
Sharu
 Aug 30th, 2006
They've been leaving me messages for 2 months. Thanks for giving me the skinny on who they are and I should stay away.
P
 Aug 29th, 2006
We have been getting calls from this number over the past several weeks. We are on the Do not call list. The message tells us to call "Ken Hughes". I tried, naively to get Verizon to block the calls without success.
Deb
 Aug 29th, 2006
Every time they call i dont answer and they leave a message on the answer machine saying please call ken hughs and but first they say something in spanish and then they say please call ken hughs and it sounds like a operator that leaves the message and they dont even leave a number for me to call. So they called again today and when I asked whats the name of their company they acted like they were going to let me speak to someone but then they hung up on me so whats that all about.
AW
 Aug 29th, 2006
This is a junk debt company, the lowest scum on the planet.Give them no information at all! Arm yourself with information about their practices and be well prepared before dealing with them. Report their harassment to the Attorneys General in New York and Illinois where they have offices. Google Bud Hibbs for excellent advice
Ignatius
 Aug 27th, 2006
I have received several calls from this number. No one ever answers after I say hello several times and when I hangup I can't use my phone because there is no dial tone for several minutes. What can I do about this?
M. Casey
 Aug 12th, 2006
Merchants Credit Guide -- well known junk debt collector. Google them, you'll be amazed. Most common number on this forum is 888-249-4134.
R
 Aug 11th, 2006
This may be a credit card company or bill collector.
Aly
 Aug 10th, 2006
I have periodically received calls from a recording over at least the last 6 months, saying I must contact Ken Hughes at 888-249-1037, that this is not a sales or solicitation. The female voice states it is very important that I contact them. I thought if it was so important they would contact me directly instead of leaving messages over and over.
G Reynoso
 Aug 08th, 2006
saying that I must contact her at 888.249.1037, that it is not a sales or solicitation call.
Jane Jay
 Aug 08th, 2006
Apparently, this number belongs to something called MCG--don't know what that stands for.
C
 Aug 08th, 2006
Tess Hugh left a message on Friday August 04, 2006 at 840 pm saying that I must contact her at 888.249.1037, that it is not a sales or solicitation call. I do not have caller id only an answering machine. I do screen calls, cause if it is important they will leave a message or call me on my cell phone. Apparently I am not the only one getting these phone calls.
C McKenzie
 Aug 06th, 2006
I received the same call from ken hughs but the number came up 888-249-1037.
Michele
 Aug 01st, 2006

68 Comments