Debt Collectors Are Prohibited From Contacting Debtors Who Are Represented By An Attorney

FDCPA Prohibits Contacting Represented Debtors

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA prohibits a debt collector, which includes collection agencies, debt buyers, and collection lawyers, from contacting a debtor who they know or should know is represented by a lawyer. This knowledge may come from the debtor telling the collector he has a lawyer, or may come from prior efforts to collect the debt. In any event, a debt collector who contacts a represented debtor is subject to claims under the FDCPA, including statutory damages of up to $1,000, and any actual damages. 


Portfolio Recovery Associates Sued For Collecting on a Settled Debt

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, or PRA is a huge debt buyer that files thousands of law suits every year to collect debts it has purchased for pennies on the dollar. PRA files hundreds of collection suits here in Arizona.

My office recently filed a case under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA against PRA for attempting to collect an alleged balance on a judgment which had been settled in full, and which had been set aside by the justice court so there was no longer a judgment.

Collection Abuse Continues Against Arizona Consumers

As this case illustrates, collection abuse by collection agencies, zombie debt buyers, and their collection lawyers continues in spite of federal law prohibiting their actions. The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector --- including collection agencies, zombie debt buyers, and collection attorneys --- from misrepresenting that a debt is owed when it is not. The FDCPA also prohibits a debt collector from attempting to collect amounts not owe, including aksing for payment of a debt which has already been settled. 


Asset Acceptance LLC Sued Arizona Consumer for Navy Federal Credit Union Account which is Past the Statute of Limitations

Recent client inquiries reflect that Asset Acceptance LLC, a large national debt buyer who claims to have purchased a large portfolio of debts originating with the Navy Federal Credit Union, is suing Arizona debtors on these debts. In a recent case I investigated, it appears that the Navy debt is well beyond the applicable statute of limitations in Arizona for credit card debt which is now 6 years. Calls from other Arizona consumers confirms this may be happening on a regular basis.

Despite the underlying debt being stale (past the statute of limitations), Asset has filed suit using one of its Arizona law firms Fulton, Friedman & Gullace. It is common knowledge that many debt buyers file suit hoping that Arizona debtors will ignore the law suit and the debt buyer will obtain a default (meaning uncontested) judgment. Once the judgment is entered, the claim becomes valid and the debt buyer can garnish wages or bank accounts to collect the debt.

Not only are these stale debts completely defensible, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits such actions. Under the FDCPA, an Arizona consumer wrongfully sued by Asset can seek recovery of damages from the illegal lawsuit.

Protect Your Rights. If you are an Arizona consumer who has been sued by Asset Acceptance LLC on a Navy Federal Credit Union account, please contact Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation.

Northland Group Incorporated Sued for Collecting on Settled Debt

In December 2012, my office filed suit on behalf of an Arizona consumer who had previously settled her debt through Northland Group, and who was then subsequently contacted by Northland to collect on the same settled debt.

The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act or FDCPA protects Arizona consumers from receiving collection activity on an account which is not owed. In this case Northland’s actions are extra egregious since the account was settled through it and it knew that nothing more was owed on the account.

If you are an Arizona consumer who is receiving collection calls or letters on an account that you do not owe, or one that was previously settled, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation to see if I can help you.

ASSET ACCEPTANCE LLC Loses Lawsuit and Refuses to Pay Arizona Consumer’s Judgment

Asset Acceptance LLC filed suit against an Arizona consumer and lost, but now is refusing to pay the judgment entered by the court for the consumer’s court costs and attorney’s fees.

Asset Acceptance sued in early 2012 claiming it was the assigned owner of the consumer’s Capital One Bank account. At trial, Asset attempted to get documents entered into evidence, but the Globe Justice Court correctly ruled that Asset’s witness did not have the personal knowledge to authenticate the documents or to testify concerning Asset’s claimed ownership of the account. The court entered Judgment in the defendant’s favor and awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.

Collecting from the Collector.

Several demands have been made to Asset Acceptance’s lawyers, Fulton Friedman & Gullace, LLP, but no payment has been forthcoming. A garnishment was served on the attorneys Fulton Friedman & Gullace, LLP to force Asset to pay, but still no response from Asset or its lawyers.
If you have been recently sued by Asset Acceptance LLC or Fulton Friedman & Gullace, LLP, I may be able to help you. Please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation.

Can a Collection Agency or Attorney Serve Subpoena on Your Employer?

I have recently seen several Arizona cases where the collection agency served a subpoena on the debtor’s employer prior to obtaining a judgment. This is generally illegal. The only third party contact a collection agency can make prior to taking a judgment is for obtaining location information. If they subpoena your employer and ask for anything more, then they will most likely have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA.
The subpoenas I have seen served on Arizona employers request information concerning the Arizona debtor’s bank account, drivers license, hire date, hourly rate, etc. All of this information is private and not allowed to be requested by subpoena in a collection lawsuit unless there has already been a judgment entered.

If you are an Arizona consumer who has been subjected to this kind of illegal invasion of your privacy, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation.

West Asset Management Inc. Agrees to Pay $2.8 Million to Settle FTC Complaint.

The collection agency West Asset Management has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s complaint against it for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. West Asset Management was accused of the following illegal behavior:
•    Misrepresenting itself as a law firm or that its collectors are attorneys;
•    Misrepresenting that debtors will be arrested or have their property seized if they don’t pay;
•    Threatening actions that would be illegal, or actions that the company has no intention of taking;
•    Making false statements to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer;
•    Withdrawing funds from consumers’ bank accounts or charging their credit cards without their consent;
•    Depositing postdated checks before the date on the check, or threatening to do so;
•    Revealing to third parties that a consumer owes a debt;
•    Asking a third party for a consumer’s location information more than once without the third party’s consent or a reasonable belief that the person’s earlier response was wrong or incomplete and that the person now has correct location information;
•    Calling consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or at their workplace;
•    Communicating with a consumer after receiving written notice that the consumer refuses to pay or wants the collector to stop calling; and
•    Using obscene or profane language, or harassing consumers with repeated phone calls.

West Asset is not the only agency that uses all or some of these illegal collection tactics against Arizona debtors.

If you are an Arizona consumer who has been contacted by a third-party debt collector or debt buyer and feel that their collection actions were deceptive, unfair, harassing, or abusive, please call attorney Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822.

Equable Ascent Financial, LLC Loses Credit Card Collection Lawsuit and Ordered to Pay Consumer’s Attorney’s Fees.

A Maricopa County justice court recently ruled in favor of an Arizona consumer in credit card collection lawsuit brought by debt buyer Equable Ascent Financial, LLC. The Court has also ordered the debt buyer Equable to pay the consumer’s attorney fees.

The court held that Equable’s witness and exhibits were insufficient to prove that it owned the consumer’s credit card account it was attempting to collect, and entered judgment in the debtor’s favor.

Here is a short list of Debt Buyers who file suit against Arizona consumers:

Acarta, LLC
Action Financial
Arrow Financial Services (Delaware)
Asset Acceptance LLC (Delaware)
Bauhinia, LLC
CACV of Colorado
Cavalry Portfolio Services
Collins Financial
Copper State Financial Management, LLC
Debt Buyers Inc.
DSS Financial Group, LLC (Arizona)
Elche, LLC
Equable Ascent Financial, LLC
Fortis Capital LLC( Florida)
Incepta LLC
LVNV Funding, LLC
Main Street Acquisition Corp. (Maryland)
Masari Investments
Midland Funding, LLC
Midland Credit Management
Nu Island Partners, LLC
Palisades Recovery
Persolve, LLC (Delaware)
Precision Recovery Analytics, Inc.
Portfolio Recovery
Rail Limited Partnership
Skystreak LLC
Unifund CCR Partners
Velocity Investments
Western States Financial Management LLC
Worldwide Asset Management

If you are an Arizona consumer who has recently been served with a lawsuit by a debt buyer, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation to see if you may have a defense to the lawsuit.

ARIZONA Consumer Sues Allied Interstate for FDCPA Violations

We recently sued Allied Interstate LLC on behalf of an Arizona consumer for Allied's continuing attempts to collect a student loan debt that had been previously settled.  The Arizona consumer had settled his legal obligation on the debt over four years previously, but Allied continued to try to collect the debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), a collection agency that continues to collect on a debt that it knows has been satisfied violates the FDPCA. 

The FDCPA provides the Arizona consumer with the right to collect statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered.  The FDCPA also makes the debt collection agency, Allied Interstate in this case, pay for your attorney's fees and all the court costs.

If you are being harassed by a debt collection agency, feel free to call attorney Floyd W. Bybee to see if you have a claim.  The call consultation is free with no obligation.


Why Debt Buyers Must Provide Proof Debt Ownership

I regularly hear debt buyers filing suit in Arizona courts argue that of course they own the old credit card account they are attempting to collect, otherwise they would not be suing the debtor.  And, since they say the own the debt, they do not need to provide any verifiable proof of ownership. 

When challenged to provide proof of ownership, these same debt buyers usually come up with a copy of a billing statement or two from the original credit card company, and argue that their possession of these billing statements proves that in fact they own the debt.  Other times, they simply get one of their own employees to sign an affidavit saying that the debt buyer owns the debt.

Why You Must Require Debt Buyers to Provide Verifiable Proof of Ownership.

The Associate Press recently reported that the director of a Buffalo debt collection company had sold information from the company’s computer files to two illegitimate debt collectors who then scared consumers into paying made-up debts.  There have been other reports of debt buyers selling the same account to two or more debt buyers, who both later attempt to collect on the same debt.

If you have been sued by a debt buyer, make them provide absolute proof that they are the rightful owner and assignee of the original credit card company.  They will seldom be able or willing to do so. 

If you are an Arizona consumer who has recently been served with a lawsuit by a debt buyer, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation to see if you may have a defense to the lawsuit.

Arizona Federal Court finds Gurstel Staloch & Chargo Violated FDCPA.

In a recently published decision, a federal Magistrate Judge for the District of Arizona found that Gurstel, Staloch & Chargo, P.A., now known as Gurstel Chargo, P.A., now known as Gurstel Law Firm, P.C., violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because it failed to ceased communications with the consumer after she notified Gurstel both verbally and in writing that she was represented by a lawyer.  The Court also found that Gurstel violated the FDCPA by continuing to contact the consumer after she notified the firm that she disputed the debt, refused to pay, and demanded that Gurstel cease all communications with her.

A copy of the decision can be reviewed here.

If you have sent a letter (certified return receipt requested) to a debt collection company telling it that you refuse to pay the debt, or that you want it to stop contacting you, but they continue to call and / or write you, then it is violating the FDCPA as Gurstel did in this case.  You would be able to sue the collection agency and recover damages.

If you are an Arizona consumer being harassed or threatened by a debt collector or junk-debt buyer regarding a consumer debt, I can help.  Please call Floyd W. Bybee at 480-756-8822

J.R. Brothers Sued by Arizona Consumer over Illegal Threats.

My office recently filed suit on behalf of an Arizona consumer against J.R. Brothers Financial, Inc., an Arizona collection agency. The lawsuit alleges that the J.R. Brothers’ collector told the consumer that because she had written a bad check, she had committed a felony.  It also alleges that J.R. Brothers’ threatened to “press charges” against her for passing a bad check.  Finally, the suit alleges that the collector told the consumer that her doctor would no longer see her because she had not paid her bill. These threats violate federal law!

False Threats Under FDCPA Illegal.

The basis for the Arizona lawsuit is that J.R. Brothers violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA by making false threats to coerce payments on a debt.  Even when a debt is owed, a collection agency such as J.R. Brothers is prohibited from threatening or implying criminal prosecution unless the action is lawful (which it was not here), and the debt collector intends to take such action (which it did not intend to take here).

J.R. Brothers’ false statement that the doctor would no longer see the consumer as a patient is also illegal under the FDCPA.

Any false or misleading representations made in connection with the collection of a debt are prohibited by the FDCPA.

FDCPA Provides Recovery of Damages for False or Misleading Representations.

The FDCPA provides that any collection agency, such as J.R. Brothers in this instance, is liable to the consumer for money damages for making false or misleading statements or representations in order to collect a debt. Damages under the FDCPA include statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus actual damages resulting from the violation. They are also liable for court costs and attorney’s fees.   

Take Action to Stop Collection Harassment.

If you are being harassed or threatened by a debt collector or junk-debt buyer regarding a consumer debt, I can help.  Call Floyd W. Bybee at 480-756-8822

Debt Collection Harassment and Abuse Top Complaints to State Attorneys General.

The National Association of Attorneys General recently released their Top 10 List of Consumer Complaints for 2008, and Debt collection was number one.

The complete list is:
    1.    Debt Collection
    2.    Auto Sales
    3.    Home Repair/Construction
    4.    Credit Cards (tie)
    5.    Internet Goods and Services (tie)
    6.    Predatory Lending/Mortgages
    7.    Telemarketing/Do-Not-Call
    8.    Auto Repair
    9.    Auto Warranties (tie)
    10.    Telecom/Slamming/Cramming (tie)

Collection Harassment and Abuse Likely to Continue.

With the current economic struggles, Arizona consumers will likely continue to see increased collection harassment and abuse from collection agencies and junk-debt buyers. With fewer dollars in consumer’s pockets, collectors are resorting to more aggressive, abusive and threatening tactics to wrestle the limited money away from the consumer into their own pockets.

Report to Your State’s Attorney General.

If you have been subjected to collection harassment or abuse, you can report it to your own state’s attorney general. For you Arizona consumers, you can file a complant at the Arizona Attorney General's website.

Remedies Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA.

Remember, you also have the right to file suit against the abusive debt collector and recover damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA.

If you are an Arizona debtor current being harassed or abused by a debt collector or junk-debt buyer regarding a consumer debt, I can help. I offer a free consultation. 

Call 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.

Arizona Law Against Calling At Work.

I am frequently asked whether Arizona law prohibits collectors from calling a consumer at work.  While Arizona does not have its own law similar to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA, in most cases Arizona debtors are protected by the FDCPA.  

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Prohibits Calls At Work.

The FDCPA protects a consumer from receiving calls at work “if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such [calls].”  So, if the debt collector knows — meaning you have told them before by phone (good) or by letter (better) or by certified letter sent return receipt requested (best) — that your employer does not allow you to take calls from a collector, then they can no longer call you at work.  And if they do, they have violated the FDCPA.

Calls Must Be from “Debt Collector”.

The FDCPA only applies to “debt collectors” which includes almost all collectors other than the original creditor.  For example, if the calls are coming from a junk-debt buyer, then they are covered.  If the calls are from an original pay day lender, then they are not covered.  The calls must be from a third party collection agency, collection lawyer, or a junk-debt buyer.  Original creditors are excluded.

What To Do If The Calls Keep Coming.

If a collector keeps calling you at work, even after you have told them to stop and that your boss/employer does not allow you to take these types of calls at work, then your remedy will be to take legal action against the collector.  You are entitled to recover damages, including statutory damages of up to $1,000, against any agency who has violated the FDCPA.

Call BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC in Mesa Arizona.

Call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 to set up a free consultation.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Prohibits Collection of Fees and Charges Not Authorized by Contract or By Law.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, prohibits a collector — including collection agencies, bad-debt buyers, and lawyers — from collecting or attempting to collect any amount unless such amount is expressly authorized by the contract or agreement creating the debt, or is permitted by law. 15 U.S.C. § 1692f(1). This includes the addition of interest, collection fees, and attorney’s fees.

If, for instance, you borrowed $1,000 from the credit union, and now the collection agency is asking for $1,000 plus interest, plus some other fee, then you might be a victim of collection abuse.

Collection Agencies Regularly Add Collection Costs to the Debt.

The addition of interest, collection fees, and other charges has become common place for many Arizona collection agencies. In fact, adding 50% to an apartment debt is almost universal these days. The answer to whether such charges or fees are legal is not always clear.

Many Arizona landlords, at the direction of their collection agencies, have added clauses to their lease agreements providing that collection fees will be added to the balance owed in the event the debt is assigned to a collection agency. Some of these collection agencies even specify a certain percent to be added, such as 30% or 50%. Then, on top of these fees, the agencies will add interest. Soon, a $1,000 debt becomes $1,500 then $2,000. When a collection lawyer gets involved, attorney’s fees are added effectively doubling or tripling the original amount claimed to be owed.

Arizona Consumer Sues Tempe Collection Lawyer Over Addition of Attorneys Fees.

My office recently filed suit against a Tempe collection lawyer, Mark A. Kirkorsky and his law firm, Mark A. Kirkorsky, P.C., for adding $3,753.62 in attorney’s fees to a deficiency balance of $13,543.27 on a repossessed truck. That is a 27% surcharge for the lawyer’s fees! All that had been done at that point was the mailing of one form letter.

Even though the loan agreement provides attorney’s fees in the event of legal action, these fees were added in the very first letter sent to the debtor. Our lawsuit alleges, among other claims, that the addition of these fees was illegal under the FDCPA.

What Can Be Done?

If you are an Arizona consumer and have received a collection letter or collection lawsuit showing the amount claimed to be owed is more than it should be, then you need to determine if the collector is overreaching and violating the FDCPA. If so, then not only should you not pay the illegal fees or charges, but you also have a claim against the collection agency or law firm for violating your rights under the FDCPA.

If you think your rights have been violated,

Call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC
(480) 756-8822 to set up a free consultation.

Two More Courts Hold that Statute of Limitations on Credit Cards in Arizona is Three (3) Years.


Arizona Legislature Changes Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Accounts.

The Arizona Legislature recently changed the law to make most credit card collection cases subject to a six year statute of limitations. A.R.S. Sec. 12-548 now states that "if the indebtedness is evidenced by or founded on . . . a credit card. . ." it is subject to the six year statute of limitations.

The following cases will no longer provide the persuasive precedent that we have previously enjoyed.

Recent Cases.

The East Mesa Justice Court in Maricopa County recently followed the holding in the DSS Financial v. Walrod case and dismissed a collection lawsuit brought by a bad-debt buyer, Action Financial, LLC, holding that the statute of limitations on a credit card account is three (3) years. See Action Financial, LLC v. Long, CC2008005084.

The West Mesa Justice Court of Maricopa County also recently held that the debt, which was an old credit card account, was an open account and thus barred by the three (3) year statute of limitations under A.R.S. § 12-543. See Action Financial, LLC v. Foran, CC2008189319.

The holdings in these two cases do not conclusively settle the debate over the statute of limitations on a credit card debt in Arizona. However, as more and more Arizona courts hold that credit card debts are subject to the three (3) year statute of limitations, bad-debt buyers will be less likely to file these stale suits, or at least more likely to dismiss them if challenged.

What to Do If You Have Been Sued on an Old Credit Card Debt?

The worst thing you can do is do nothing. That is what these bad-debt buyers hope you will do – nothing, so that they will get their judgment. Once a judgment is entered, and unless it is set aside by the court, the debt now becomes collectible even if the debt was stale and beyond the statute of limitations, and uncollectible, when the case was filed. So you must do SOMETHING.

The best something is to fight back. You may have one or more defenses to the suit. The debt may be old, such as the cases noted above, or the bad-debt buyer may not be able to prove that it is the current owner of the debt. Other defenses include identify theft, unauthorized use of the credit card, or fraud.

Help For Arizona Consumers is Available.

Many Arizona consumers believe that they cannot afford to hire an attorney to assist them in defending the lawsuit. However, there are several attorneys in the Mesa-Phoenix area who defend consumers in these debt collection cases, and their fees are reasonable, and likely to be a much better alternative than to have an unwarranted judgment entered against you.

Floyd Bybee of the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC represents Arizona consumers who have been sued on old credit card accounts.

If you would like a free phone consultation to see if you might have a defense to the lawsuit, please call (480) 756-8822.

Should I Pursue My FDCPA Claims?

Many times I am asked by Arizona consumers whether they should pursue their claims under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). My answer is usually yes, and always starts with an explanation of the purposes of the Act.

FDCPA Intended to Protect Consumers From Abusive Collection Practices.

Congress stated that the purpose of the FDCPA is to protect all consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. Even though not all consumers who are abused file suit, or even know they have any protection under the law, each individual consumer who does bring a claim under the law adds to the cumulative effect of coercing collection agencies into complying with the FDCPA. Thus, not only do these consumers recover the damages they have personally suffered as a result of the collection abuse, but the collection agencies are more likely to comply with the law in order to avoid similar court actions from other consumers.

Enforcement of the FDCPA also Levels the Playing Field for Ethical Debt Collectors.

Part of the benefit from enforcing the FDCPA, is that ethical collection agencies — the ones who are polite, and truthful, and respectful — are not put at a competitive disadvantage to those agencies who fail to comply with the FDCPA. That may not seem to be much of a benefit to the consumer, but it really is. Almost all Arizona consumers with whom I meet, are not looking for a way to avoid or delay paying a legitimate debt. They just need the harassment to stop so that they can keep their job, avoid filing bankruptcy, and eventually pay the debts they legally owe. So by raising the compliance level of all collection agencies, fewer Arizona consumers are suffering the effects of collection harassment and will ultimately be in a better position to pay the debts they owe.

I Can Help.

If you are an Arizona debtor and are being abused or harassed by a collection agency or other debt collector, find out what your rights are and whether you have any claims.

Feel free to call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 to set up a consultation.

Arizona Consumer Sues Portfolio Recovery Associates for Collection Harassment

My office recently filed suit on behalf of an Arizona consumer under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) against Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC out of Norfolk, Virginia. Portfolio Recovery is one of many companies known as “Debt Buyers” or “Junk Debt Buyers.” These debt buying companies purchase blocks of debts which are charged off by the original creditors and sold for pennies on the dollar. The debt buyers then try to collect the debts sometimes using collection tactics which violate federal law.

For instance, the Arizona Consumer in this suit alleges that Portfolio Recovery repeatedly called her at work after being told that she cannot accept personal calls at work. They even left a message on one of her co-worker’s voice mail to “pass along” to the debtor.

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors, including these “Debt Buyers” or “Junk Debt Buyers,” from calling an Arizona consumer at her place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such calls.

The FDCPA also forbids debt collectors from contacting third parties, including co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors, except to obtain location information. Calling and leaving a message with a co-worker or other third party is not done with the intent to obtain location information — its to done to harass the Arizona debtor and perhaps embarrassment them into paying a debt they either do not owe or one that they cannot afford to pay at this time.

I have filed many lawsuits over the past several years against collection agencies who participate in these types of illegal collection activities.

If you are an Arizona consumer who has been subjected to these types of collection harassment, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation.