Buffalo NY Collector Shut Down

Over the past several years, many Arizona consumers have called with stories of harassment and threats by collection agencies or debt buyers from Buffalo New York. The threats include arrest, criminal action, legal action, loss of one's home and car, contacting employer, etc. Though these threats seem obviously illegal, many debtors get scared and pay these criminals money.

The Syracuse.com website recently posted a news article on Maurice Sessum, a Buffalo debt collector and owner of the collection agency 4 Star Resolution, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for fraud. Sessum was operating a collection which scammed thousands of consumers to overpay their debts by $31 million. 

The article outlines many of the false statements used by 4 Star and Sessum to defraud consumers, including:

  • that 4 Star was affiliated with local government and law enforcement agencies

  • that debtor had committed crimes, and if debt was not paid immediately, they would be arrested

  • that driver's license would be suspended if debt not immediately

  • false threats of legal action

Anytime you receive a call from a collector, make sure you know who they are, including the name and address of the agency, and that they have a legitimate claim that you owe them money. You can check to see if they are licensed by the Arizona Department of Financial Affairs here. (A company collecting its own debt does not have to be licensed.) Most importantly, if there is any doubt that the company is legitimate, contact a consumer protection lawyer. 

You can always call the Bybee Law Center, PLC at (480) 756-8822 to discuss a collection call. 




Hutchinson Kansas debt collector National Credit Adjusters, LLC, which has offices in Arizona, refuses to pay a valid federal court judgment entered against it and in favor of an Arizona consumer.

National Credit was sued for violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, when it attempted to collect on an internet payday loan which was void under Arizona law. The payday lender, Plain Green, LLC, offered internet payday loans to Arizona residents. However, the Arizona law which permitted payday loans expired on June 30, 2010, making all payday loans made after that date to Arizona consumers void and uncollectible. 

National Credit Adjusters failed to defend the lawsuit and the judge entered a default judgment against the collection agency. Even though several demands have been made to National Credit to pay the judgment, it has refused.

Once again, the collector now becomes the collected!

If you are receiving collection calls from National Credit Adjusters, LLC concerning a payday loan, you should seek the advise of a consumer lawyer who has extensive experience in these types of cases.

For a free phone consultation, please contact Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 .



National Collegiate Student Loan Trust Loses Arbitration on Statute of Limitations

In a case where National Collegiate Student Loan Trust sued my client in Maricopa County Superior Court to collect on a private student loan, the arbitrator found in favor of the Arizona consumer and dismissed the claim.

Arizona Six-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Private Student Loans. 

The statute of limitations on a private student loan is the same as any other credit or contract obligation. Thus, if it is a written contract,  signed in Arizona, the statute of limitations is usually six (6) years.

Arizona Four-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Private Student Loans Incurred Outside of Arizona.

The exception to the six-year statute of limitations is a loan which was entered into in another state other than Arizona. For example, if you signed for the student loan while living in Oregon, then the Arizona four-year statute of limitations should apply.

National Collegiate Student Loan Trust sues Arizona consumers under under several different names, such as NCSLT 2006-1, 2006-3, 2007-2 or NCSLT 2007-4, etc.  

Collection Agency Violates Telephone Consumer Protection Act

National Credit Adjusters, LLC Sued in Arizona for Violating Telephone Consumer Protection Act

My office recently filed suit against the Kansas collection agency National Credit Adjusters, LLC for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. The suit alleges that National Credit Adjusters repeatedly telephoned the consumer's cellular phone in an attempt to collect a debt allegedly owed by the prior owner of the phone number. An agency, like National Credit Adjusters, often will use an auto dialer to telephone a debt who has now changed phone numbers. The calls then go to the new owner of the number who does not owe the debt. In addition, the new owner of the number never gave National Credit Adjusters permission to call. So the calls all violate the TCPA

TCPA Provides Recovery of Damages fro Arizona Consumers

The TCPA provides the recovery of damages of either $500 for each negligent call or $1,500 for each willful call. So an Arizona Consumer who has been called 20 times on their cell phone for a debt which does not belong to them, may be able to assert a claim for damages between $10,000 and $30,000.


FDCPA Requires Notice Prior to Bank Withdrawal

FDCPA Requires Collection Agencies to Give Consumer Notice Prior to Taking Monthly Withdrawals From Bank Account

Many consumers enter into payment agreements with collection agencies where the agency will take month payments from the consumer's bank account to pay off the debt. However, in order to take these automated and post dated payments, the collection agency must first sent written notice not more than 10 nor less than 3 business days before the withdrawal. So if a payment is scheduled to come out on the 15th of the month, the agency should be sending a letter sometime between the 1st and the 10th of the month. Most important, is that the debtor be given sufficient notice to make sure funds will be available in the bank account, and if they are not, sufficient time to notify the agency to not take the withdrawal.

Failure to Give Proper Notice of an Automatic Withdrawal Violates the FDCPA

A collection agency or law firm which fails to provide a debtor with adequate notice of an upcoming withdrawal from a bank account violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. The FDCPA provides consumers with claims for damages for these types of violations.

Arizona Consumer Sues National Credit Systems, Inc. for Failure to Give Written Notice Prior to Taking Automatic Bank Withdrawals

My office recently filed suit in Federal Court alleging National Credit Systems, Inc. failed to provide notice adequate notice to the debtor prior to taking out pre-authorized monthly debits from her bank account. Such failure to give proper notice violates the FDCPA. 

Client Services, Inc. Sued for Debt Collection Abuse

Arizona Consumer Sues Client Services, Inc. for Debt Collection Abuse

My office recently filed suit against the Missouri collection agency Client Services, Inc. for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. The suit alleges that Client Services sent a letter demanding payment of over $147,000 for a Citibank credit card account which had a ending balance of less than $17,000 ten years earlier. When the debtor disputed the debt and demanded verification, Client Services sent copies of several old Citibank billing statements which showed less than $17,000 was owed.

Right To Dispute Debt

Under the FDCPA, a consumer has the right to challenge the debt by sending the collection agency a dispute letter and requesting verification the debt. If this is done within 30 days of the receipt of the initial letter from the collection agency, the agency is required to stop all collection activity until it provides validation and verification of the debt. That is what the debtor did in this case. He demanded that Client Services provide proof that he owed $147,000 as claimed in Client Services' initial letter. However, Client Services only provided statements showing $17,000 was owed, not $147,000. 

FDCPA Prohibits Collection Agencies from Collecting Amounts Not Owed

A collection agency cannot collect or attempt to collect any amount which is not owed under the contract, or which is not provided for by law. Sometimes, agencies add extra fees, or interest which is not allowed by the underlying contract, and or not allowed by law. If an collection agency attempts to collect these "forbidden fees," they are in violation of the FDCPA and the consumer has a right to collect damages for the agency's illegal actions. The suit alleges Client Services, Inc. attempted to collect amounts which were not owed, thus violating the FDCPA.

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.

Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc. Sued for Harassing Arizona Consumer

My office recently filed suit under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act or FDCPA against Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc. (“CRS”) for calling and harassing an Arizona consumer over a debt which was beyond the statute of limitations. The complaint alleges that the debt is stale and beyond the Arizona statute of limitation to collect by legal action, yet CRS telephoned and threatened this Arizona debtor with legal action, including threats of wage garnishment, freezing of her bank account, taking her income tax refund, and placing a lien on her current vehicle if she did not pay.

The FDCPA protects Arizona consumers from these types of threatening calls from collection agencies. In this case CRS’s alleged actions are even more egregious since the collector’s manager got on the phone and confirmed that these actions would in fact be taken unless the account was paid.

If you are an Arizona consumer who is receiving harassing or threatening collection calls from Commercial Recovery Systems, Inc. or other collection agency, please call Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822 for a free phone consultation to see what your rights are.

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.

FTC Issues 2010 Annual Report on FDCPA to Congress

FTC Reports Consumer Complaints Rise 17% in 2010

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued its 2011 annual report to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) showing that consumer debt collection complaints rose 17% in 2010.  The federal agency received 140,036 debt collection complaints in 2010 compared to 119,609 in 2009.  The FTC also reported that it received more complaints about the debt collection industry than from any other specific industry.

Top Categories for Debt Collection Complaints

The top areas which consumers complain about were:

•    calling repeatedly or continuously

•    misrepresenting the character, amount or status of the debt (including demanding a larger payment that is permitted by law)

•    Failing to send consumers the required written notice about the debt and their rights

•    Threatening dire consequences if the consumer fails to pay, including false threats of legal action, threats of criminal prosecution, wage garnishment, and damage to consumer’s credit rating.

•    Failing to identify that it is a debt collector

•    Revealing alleged debt to third parties, including family, friends, and co-workers.

•    Calls to consumer’s place of employment

•    Failing to verify disputed debts

•    Continuing to contact consumers after receiving written notice to stop all communication.

FTC Provides Information About Consumers’ Rights

The FTC’s “Debt Collection FAQs: Guide for Consumers” brochure is available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm.  The FTC also has an animated video that explains consumer rights regarding debt collection. It can be viewed at http://www.ftc.gov/debtcollection and http://www.youtube.com/ftcvideos.

FDCPA Prohibits Deceptive, Unfair and Abusive Practices

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using any deceptive, unfair, and abusive collection tactics to attempt to collect a debt. Though the FTC may take action against some third-party debt collectors or debt-buyers, most Arizona consumers will obtain relief only from bringing a private action in Arizona courts.

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 Floyd W. Bybee at the BYBEE LAW CENTER, PLC (480) 756-8822.


Midland Credit Management, Inc. Continues Collection of Accounts from Arizona Debtors after Receiving Notice of Bankruptcy Filing.

Midland Credit Management, Inc., the sister company to Midland Funding, LLC, seems to have made it a regular practice to ignore the notices it and Midland Funding, LLC receives from the bankruptcy court so that it can continue to collect against Arizona consumers. Midland’s actions are illegal.
Arizona Debtor Sues Midland Credit Management, Inc. in Arizona Federal District Court for Harassing Phone Calls.

In December 2010, I filed a suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA against Midland Credit Management on behalf of an Arizona consumer who, after filing bankruptcy, continued to receive numerous harassing telephone calls from Midland.  Midland ignored the consumer’s efforts to tell the collector that she had filed bankruptcy and that she had an attorney.  Midland continued to collect on a debt that she had included in her bankruptcy.
Before the calls began, Midland Credit Management and Midland Funding, LLC had received two notices from the bankruptcy court of the consumer’s bankruptcy filing.  One notice was mailed to Midland by the bankruptcy court, and the other was electronically send by the court.  Both notices informed Midland that the debtor was represented by a lawyer, and thus it was illegal for Midland to directly contact the consumer and to attempt to collect the debt.
Arizona Consumer Sues Midland Credit Management, Inc. in Arizona Federal District Court for Contacting Her after She Had Filed Bankruptcy and Knowing She Was Represented by a Lawyer.

In the second case, Midland Credit Management, Inc. had received two electronic notices from the bankruptcy court in early November 2010 of the consumers’ bankruptcy filing.  Despite these notices, Midland sent two letters, one in November and one in December, directly to the wife demanding payment on an account it claimed was owed.  Midland also directly sent the husband a letter in January 2011 on another account that was in his name only.
FDCPA Prohibits Direct Communication with a Consumer it Knows Is Represented by a Lawyer.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA protects Arizona consumers from debt collectors communicating directly with them once they have hired a lawyer.  So, any Arizona debtor who files bankruptcy using a bankruptcy lawyer should not receive any direct contact from a debt collector.  And, if a debt collector does contact the consumer directly, then the creditor would be in violation of the FDCPA.
If you are an Arizona consumer who has filed bankruptcy using a lawyer, and has been contacted by a debt collector after the bankruptcy, 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.

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

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


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.


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.