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.


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 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.