Post - Bankruptcy Credit Reporting of Consumer Debts.

I have seen a recent increase in the number of Arizona debtors who have discharged debts in bankruptcy which are still reporting on their credit reports as current collection accounts or charge offs, and showing a balance owed. 
Once a debtor has received a discharge in bankruptcy, the creditor or the debt buyer who purchases the debt can no longer report the account to the credit reporting agencies showing a balance owed or that the account is a current collection account. Many times, however, the negative collection or charge off information is still sitting on the credit report from before the bankruptcy. 
The obvious problem with this continued reporting of discharged debts is that anyone looking at your credit report, including banks, mortgage lenders, car dealerships,  and insurance companies, etc. think that you have now defaulted on a debt after you filed bankruptcy. This drops your credit score, commonly referred to as a FICO score, significantly. And no lender is going to give you a loan with a current charged off or collect account on your credit report.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, you have a right to contact the credit bureau and dispute the reporting of the account. (Click here for instructions on how to dispute information to the credit reporting agencies). If it is not corrected, then you may need to take legal action to get the attention of the bank or debt buyer in order to correct the credit report.
If you are an Arizona consumer who has received a bankruptcy discharge but still has derogatory credit information reporting post-bankruptcy, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free consultation and review of your credit reports.

Bartolini Finance Still Filing Suits on Old Debts.

Recently I have been contacted by several Arizona consumers who have been sued by Bartolini Finance, also known as CNAC and J.D. Byrider.  In each instance, the account defaulted over four years prior to the suit being filed.

Arizona Statute of Limitations for Collecting on a Repossession is Four (4) Years.

A.R.S. § 47-2725 requires that Bartolini Finance file its suit to collect the remaining balance on your car loan within four (4) years after the repossession.

In the cases I am seeing right now, the repossession took place nearly six (6) years ago, meaning that Bartolini is too late.  However, if the Arizona debtor does not properly respond to the lawsuit, then Bartolini is able to get a default judgment.  This is obviously what Bartolini is hoping for.

Don’t Let Bartolini Get a Default Judgment Against You!

The large majority of the cases Bartolini Finance has filed have ended up with default judgments.  Many times the interest that has accrued far exceeds the amount of the original debt. 

You must file an appropriate answer with the Court in order to avoid judgment being entered against you.

Hire a Lawyer to Assist You.

If you have been sued by Bartolini Finance, hire the assistance of an attorney.  There are several consumer lawyers in Maricopa County which are capable of defending these Bartolini Finance lawsuits.  The cost of hiring a lawyer is usually much less than the amount of the potential judgment.  Plus, with the damage to your credit file by having a judgment entered, the cost of obtaining legal counsel is usually well worth it.

I would be glad to assist you in reviewing your case to see if you have a valid defense.  Please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a consultation.



Arizona Consumers Hounded on Discharged Debt.

Are you an Arizona consumer who has filed bankruptcy within the past few years?

Are your creditors still trying to collect your discharged debt?

Are your discharged debts still reporting as owed on your credit report?

I am regularly contacted by Arizona debtors who are still suffering the collection harassment the bankruptcy was supposed to stop!  Unfortunately, many creditors sell the debts after they get notice of your bankruptcy. And, the debt-buyers who buy these accounts ignore the bankruptcy and hope you will too.

Sometimes their tactics are subtle, like reporting the accounts as outstanding to the credit bureaus, or sending soft letters suggesting that paying the debt will improve your ability to get new credit.  Either way, they are violating the bankruptcy laws and perhaps the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Sometimes they act much more boldly.  When you question the validity of the debt, the creditor or debt-buyer will suggest that perhaps the debt was not discharged in the bankruptcy and that you still owe the money.

The bottom line is that if a creditor, a debt-buyer, or a collection agency makes any attempt to collect one of the debts included in your bankruptcy, they have violated the law.

If you are an Arizona consumer, I may be able to help you stop the collection attempts, and recover damages from these unscrupulous collectors.  I offer a free phone consultation.  

Call me, Floyd W. Bybee, at 480-756-8822

 

Arizona Consumers Fall Prey to Credit Repair Organizations.

You probably have seen the signs staked in nearly every corner, or the ads in the newspapers or on the internet.  Promises to remove negative credit items, foreclosures, and even recent bankruptcies.  They are the “saviors” for those Arizona consumers who have had some bad times, and whose credit reports are not as clean as they would like.  Their promises sound tempting?  But is it legal?  NO!

These credit repair companies are regulated by federal law — the Credit Repair Organization Act or CROA.  Congress created the CROA because of the proliferation of companies promising to “clean your credit report” by use of fraudulent and illegal tactics.

Most of these companies prepare dispute letters for the consumer to send to the credit bureaus which contain false claims or misstatements of fact.  Their hope, and their gamble, is that the credit bureaus will be unable to verify the disputed items, and that they will fall off the credit report — at least for a while.  However, the account is usually verified and comes back on the report.  Again, these tactics are illegal.

The CROA prohibits these companies from:

•    making any statement which is untrue or misleading to any consumer reporting agency or credit bureau.

•    making any statement with the intended effect of altering the consumer’s credit record, history or rating for the purpose of concealing adverse information that is accurate and not obsolete to a credit bureau.

•    charging a fee or receiving any money for the performance of any service until the service is fully performed.

Credit Repair Companies Required to Give Notices of Prohibited Acts.

The CROA requires that the consumer be given certain disclosures, including what the company is prohibited from doing.  But, since they are not complying with any other aspect of the law, they typically do not give the disclosures either.  Again, this is illegal.

Accurate, Current, and Verifiable Credit Information Cannot be Removed from your credit report – legally!

Despite the promises, if the information on your credit report is accurate, current (generally meaning less than 7 years old, or 10 years for bankruptcy), and verifiable, then it cannot be legally removed.  To tell you otherwise, is a lie.  And, it is illegal to do so.

These organizations are also prohibited from advising a consumer to alter their identity to conceal adverse information that is accurate and not obsolete to any credit bureau, or to any lender.

Have you been Taken by a Credit Repair Company?

The CROA provides remedies for those consumers who have fallen prey to the false promises of a credit repair organization. Consumers are entitled to get their money back, recover any damages suffered, and have their court costs and lawyer’s fees paid.

If you are an Arizona consumer and think you have been a victim of credit repair fraud, please call Floyd W. Bybee at BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC, (480) 756-8822. We offer free consultations for these types of cases.

Credit Reporting After Bankruptcy; Or How to Start Your "Fresh Start"

Most Arizona consumers file bankruptcy in order to get a “fresh start” on their financial life. Yet, it is not uncommon for this fresh start to be spoiled by one or more creditors that refuse to acknowledge the bankruptcy and to continue to report their accounts to the credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus as if there was no bankruptcy.

Post Bankruptcy Credit Reporting.

Its debatable whether historical information concerning an account pre-bankruptcy can remain on the credit report. However, there is no debate that a creditor cannot report post-bankruptcy information concerning an account such as a current balance owed, a post-bankruptcy charge-off, or a foreclosure proceeding that occurred after the bankruptcy.

Obtaining Copies of Your Credit Reports.

All Arizona consumers should obtain copies of their credit reports about 60 to 90 days after their bankruptcy discharge to see if the creditors have properly updated their accounts to the credit reporting agencies.

The three primary national credit reporting agencies, or credit bureaus, are Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. You can obtain your updated credit report from each of these agencies by going to annualcreditreport.com. These reports should be free unless you have already received your reports within the past year. (There are many look-a-like or sound-a-like websites, but this is the one set up by the reporting agencies as required by federal law. It is advisable to stay away from the others.)

Many Creditors Will Not Update Credit Report Automatically.

Once you have these reports you should review them carefully for errors and to make sure each account included in your bankruptcy has been updated to show a status of “included in bankruptcy.” Some creditors will update the account status to the credit bureaus automatically, but many do not.

Disputes Need to Be Sent Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

If any accounts have not been updated, then you need to send a letter to that particular credit bureau stating that the account was included in your bankruptcy, giving the case number and the filing date, and requesting that the account be updated accordingly.

Your dispute letters must be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested so that in the event your credit report is not corrected or updated, then you have proof of the dispute and proof that the credit bureau received your dispute. If you chose to dispute the accounts on line, which is what the credit bureaus prefer, then you have no proof of your dispute or that the credit bureaus received it. In other words, DO NOT DISPUTE ON LINE.

What to Do If the Accounts Are Not Corrected.

If the dispute process corrects the errors, or updates the report to show the accounts as included in bankruptcy, then you are set. However, if the errors are not corrected, or the updates are not made to each of the accounts, then you need to seek a consumer lawyer to assist you in proceeding against the credit bureau and/or the creditor for false credit reporting.

Contact a Lawyer Experienced in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Floyd Bybee of the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC represents Arizona consumers who have credit reporting issues under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. Bybee exclusively represents Arizona consumers in the areas of false credit reporting, collection harassment, and other consumer credit issues.

If you would like a free phone consultation to see if Bybee may be able to assist you, please call (480) 756-8822.



ARIZONA CONSUMER SUES NATIONAL CREDIT SYSTEMS, INC. FOR COLLECTION ABUSE!

My office recently filed suit on behalf of an Arizona consumer against National Credit Systems, Inc. out of Atlanta, Georgia for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The suit alleges that National Credit Systems reported an old apartment debt from 1994 on the consumer’s credit report in 2009, even though it was 15 years old. The consumer first learned of National Credit Systems’ reporting of the account when he was attempting to purchase a used Jeep.

FDCPA Prohibits False Credit Reporting.

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from reporting any credit information which it knows is false or which should be known to be false. In this case, National Credit Systems reported that the account was less than seven years old, and that the balance owed on the account was $790,977 — for an apartment lease!

FCRA Prohibits Credit Reporting of Collection Accounts More than Seven Years Old.


Accounts which went into collections or were charged off more than seven years prior cannot be reported on a consumer’s credit report. Here, National Credit Systems reported this account to the credit bureaus even though it was nearly fifteen years old at the time.

Debt Collectors Use Credit Reporting to Coerce Payment for Old or Out of Statute Debts.

It is common to see collection agencies or other debt collectors report to the credit bureaus old debts which are too old to sue on, and too old to be reported to the credit bureaus. They do this by misreporting the date of first delinquency to the credit bureaus so these old account slip onto the credit reports. Many times it is only after the consumer is denied credit that he learns that this misreporting has taken place. That is what happened in this case. His first notice that National Credit Systems reported this old debt to the credit bureaus is when he was told he could not get financing on his Jeep. By then, the damage has been done.

Do You Have Old Accounts Reporting on Your Credit Reports?

If you have not looked at your credit reports recently, you should. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies as provided by recent changes to the FCRA. Review your reports to see if any information is incorrect, or if anyone is looking at your credit report without permission.

Contact an Arizona Lawyer for Assistance.

If your credit reports show any significant errors, contact a local Arizona lawyer. He or she can assist you in reviewing your credit report to determine if your rights under the FDCPA or FCRA have been violated. He can also show you how to dispute the incorrect information with the credit bureaus.

If you believe that your credit report contains any significant errors, feel free to call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 to set up a consultation.

Do You Need an Arizona Consumer Lawyer?

If you are an Arizona consumer who has been abused or harassed by a collection agency, or been sued on a delinquent credit card account or auto deficiency balance, then a consultation with an Arizona lawyer with experience in consumer protection law is important.

I am surprised by the number of Arizona consumers who tell me that the other lawyers they have consulted with advise them that even though the collection agency, car dealer, credit bureau, etc. has abused them, committed fraud, or otherwise violated their rights under the law, they are told by these same lawyers that nothing can really be done–that it costs too much to pursue the claim. Even when the consumer has been sued on an old credit card debt or an auto deficiency balance, these lawyers tell the consumers to try to settle the claim by offering to pay the debt buyer money even though the consumer has a complete statute of limitation defense to the lawsuit.

Should you consult an Arizona consumer lawyer? The answer is yes. Consult with a lawyer not only experienced in consumer law, but one who has practiced in the Arizona courts and is familiar with the local judges and local attorneys on the other side. Know what your rights are.

Experience counts! ARIZONA experience counts even more!!!


If you need a consultation regarding a consumer issue, please call Mesa, Arizona consumer attorney Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822.

JUDGE ORDERS DEBT COLLECTOR TO PAY FAMILY 854,389

Burney Simpson of insideARM.com is reporting on a Jackson County Missouri case wherein the Judge ordered a debt collector to pay a familyjudge%20and%20gavel.jpg $854,389.00 and their attorney fees for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. 

Mr. Simpson claims that the Judgement was a result of the Debt Collectors name calling, threats, harassing phone calls at home and work, and ignoring orders by the consumer's attorneys to stop the calls.  The collector was MRCA who had bought the debt from Citi.

Dolores Maddux was called "lazy," "fat," "inbred," "pathetic," "stupid," "black," and "deadbeat."

The Collectors also called Gilbert Maddux at home and work, despite being told to discontinue the calls, and even threatened to "bring four guys down from Topeka to take care of the situation."

One of the collectors falsely stated he was a sheriff to the consumers step-daughter; called a roommate of the step-daughter a racial slur; told the step-daughter to "get your lazy ass out of bed and take a message for Dolores to call us"; he also threatened co-workers of the stepdaughter.

MCRA also obtained the couples credit report without their permission.

If a Debt Collector has been calling you or your family names, lying to you, calling your friends, family or work, or taking a look at your actual credit report without your permission, you may be entitled to statutory damages, actual damages and your attorney fees.  Contact my office and we can talk about your situation for free.

DOES THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT ACTUALLY BENEFIT THE COLLECTOR?

 

Having represented Bankruptcy clients for a number of years, I am certain that most people want to pay the debt they owe.pig%20pinata.jpg 

I strongly urge my clients to pay their debt if there is some reasonable way to do so.  I also urge them not to use credit cards.

However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has little to do with whether a debt is owed.  It has everything to do with creating a civil environment in which debts are collected.  

The FDCPA levels the playing field between the collector and debtor but it also levels the playing field amongst the collectors as follows:

1.  It provides the Collector with a specific written list of dos and don'ts.  i.e. easy to follow rules.

2.  It allows for parental and spousal communication.

3.  It provides for long collection hours.  8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

4.  It contains a "bona fide" error defense.

5.  It provides an FTC opinion letter defense.

6.  Statutory damages are very low and class action damages are limited.

7.  It cleans the marketplace of anti competitive overreaching.  This allows the honest collector an opportunity to compete with the "more aggressive" collectors.

Despite the clear rules and defenses, some debt collectors still believe that using a "stick" is still the best way to collect. 

Contact me if you are being hit by the "stick" as a result of inappropriate debt collector contact and we can discuss your legal options. 

CLEANING UP YOUR CREDIT REPORT - SOME BASICS

There are signs all over the streets in Arizona offering credit repair services.  If you type in credit repair in Google, you will find hundreds as well.shred.gif  Most claim that they can clean your report for a fee.  Many of those most, claim to be able to remove accurate information related to your bankruptcy, foreclosure or tax lien.  Those that do are not being completely honest.

There are a few rules when it comes to repairing your credit report.

1.  Review it often.  You can visit my website page here that will direct you to the website where you can review all three of the major credit reports you have for free if you haven't pulled the report for 1 year.  I pay Equifax a small fee for the ability to see my report anytime.  This may be overkill for some, but it will help you keep your credit in the front of your mind.

2.  Maintain good records.

3.  Do not pay anyone to help you "clean" your report.  The process to remove inaccurate information is actually fairly simple.  To pay someone to do it makes no sense.  There are a number of talented credit attorneys who will help you for free.  Go here to see some basic steps to do so.  In fact there are ways to tell that the credit cleaning service you are using is not on the up and up.  The California Credit Law Blog, a service of the law firm of Kemnitzer Anderson et al  has a short blog about what to look for to avoid a rip off here

4.  Always contact the CRA first .  When you are disputing an incorrect item, always write a certified letter to the credit reporting agencies(s) and copy the creditor.  If you write the creditor, you will have lost some rights under the fair credit reporting act.

5.  Contact a Lawyer .  If you have contacted the credit reporting agencies and incorrect information still exists on the report, you may have a valid legal claim against the creditor and possibly the credit reporting agency as well.  These cases are usually taken on a contingency basis by the qualified counsel.

If you are having problems with your report as a result of a mixed up file, identify theft, or post bankruptcy issues, steer clear of the "non-attorney" "for a fee" help that is all over the place.  If you live in Arizona, contact me and I will speak to you for free.

 

 

POST BANKRUPTCY - DEBT BUYERS IGNORE THE DISCHARGE

Business Week has an interesting article today about post bankruptcy discharge issues as they relate to the debt buying industry.credit%20card%20picture.jpg 

Most bankruptcy filers are under the impression that if they have filed a bankruptcy, properly noticed the creditor of the filing, and received a formal discharge, the unsecured debt is gone forever.  This is not always the case.

According to the article, the debt industry is flooded with companies who actually buy discharged debt.  and report the amount on the debtor's credit report in hopes that this will eventually force confusion, frustration and thereby payment.   Original creditors do it as well.

Gauging this phenomena just by the number of calls I receive from post bankruptcy filers who are confused about their credit report, I can attest that it happens, and that it likely happens...often. 

You can read the article here

If you have filed a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, received a discharge and see that your credit report is still showing a balance as it relates to a particular discharged creditor, visit my post bankruptcy page

Follow the instructions making sure that you lay out the facts clearly when writing the credit reporting agency.  If you do not have success removing the item after sending the request(s),  contact me, I can help.