Credit Lawsuit News

November 30, 2012

Fair Debt Collection Practices

People fail to meet their credit obligations for a variety of reasons. These range from over-extension of finances to unemployment and illness. Whatever the reason, every person is protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Congress passed this act to protect consumers from harassment by debt collectors. Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the act. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for charge accounts.

Limitations on Contacting the Consumer
A debt collector may only contact a person between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Debt collectors may not contact the consumer at his job if the debt collector is aware that the employer prohibits personal calls.more...

November 29, 2012

Are Banks Making You Sign Away Your Rights?

by John Kiernan on November 27, 2012

Signing away rights - Prepare to be astonished: Banks aren’t the most consumer-friendly businesses out there. I know, I know, you’re flabbergasted, right? After the excessive fees, bait-and-switch pricing, lawsuits, and sketchy customer service issues we’ve seen over the years, that news must come as an absolute shock.

At the risk of surprising you into cardiac arrestmore...

November 26, 2012

Lawsuit filed against HOA management companies

SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ - More than two dozen HOA management companies are accused of charging illegal collection and filing fees.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, claiming that the management companies violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Robert and Kristy Leatham told CBS5 that their HOA management company put a lien on their home after charging them hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.more...

November 22, 2012

America’s Degree Scam

Student debt may succeed subprime mortgages as the next disaster in the crisis of US capitalism. It is estimated at more than $1,000bn and has doubled over the last 12 years. Average debt for graduates with student loans rose to $23,200 in 2008; public university debt was only slightly lower, at $20,200. Despite the impossibility of discharging student debt through bankruptcy, the student loan default rate has gone from 5% to 10% between 2008 and 2011 (1).

Prestigious private US universities long ago established the market price of a college education at the world’s highest levels — now over $36,000 a year at Harvard, or $52,650 if you include living costs (2). Leading universities, like Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Stanford, which charge over $200,000 for a four-year degree, have set a very high ceiling, encouraging the entire sector to charge high fees and then spend on offering Harvard-style services. Public universities can charge “only” $13,000 a year,more...

November 19, 2012

Look out, Cardholder Services: The FTC is calling back

The Federal Trade Commission says it has shut down five more companies engaged in a widespread scheme: deceptive robocalls, or automated pitches, promising help reducing consumers' credit-card interest rates.

The companies, based in Arizona or Florida, are allegedly responsible for many of the robocalls that have lately generated a huge flood of complaints to the FTC: about 200,000 a month in recent months, according to spokesman Mitch Katz, ahead even of 2011's remarkable pace that topped out at 130,000 a month.more...

November 16, 2012

Dealing with credit card companies

In October, 30 million Americans had accounts that were "under collection," according to ACA International, a trade association for debt collectors. That's one in 10 of the population who are dealing with collection agencies. "Under collection" means, for many, a constant bombardment of calls from debt collectors that sometimes amounts to serious harassment. Imagine -- if you're lucky enough never to have experienced it -- the stress that causes. Small wonder many reach a state of desperation in which they feel they're drowning in debt, and are prepared to reach for any lifeline, no matter how doubtful the claims of the people throwing it.more...

November 13, 2012

Are we better off now? Depends

Economic statistics show mixed verdict

Employment: Falling, now rising

Arizona's unemployment rate hit 8 percent in December 2008, and it's remained above that level since. By late 2009 and early 2010, the state's unemployment rate peaked at 10.8 percent before ebbing. Last month, the state's unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent.more...

November 9, 2012

eBay, Others Watching Apple Credit Card Lawsuit

On November 7th, California's Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit concerning Apple and interpretation of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act. At issue will be a fundamental question of ecommerce and transactions: does the Act, which was enacted in 1971, preclude modern day online retailers from recording personal customer information when accepting a credit card number for payment?more...

November 6, 2012

Telemarketing Firms Defraud Thousands of Consumers Through Credit Card Interest Rate Scheme

PHOENIX (Wednesday, November 1, 2012) — Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging that several related Arizona and out-of-state telemarketing companies have defrauded thousands of consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars since 2006.

“Many telemarketers use potentially deceptive tactics against consumers,” Horne said. “These Defendants run several businesses using methods designed to imply that the company has relationships that may be important to the targeted consumer, when none exist. For example, the Defendants pretended to have relationships with consumers’ credit card companies that would allow them to drastically reduce interest rates, but rates weren’t lowered and all consumers ended up with was a superficial repayment plan and some financial education DVDs.”more...

November 3, 2012

FTC Hangs Up On “Rachel From Cardholder Services”

For several years, American consumers have been receiving unwanted robocalls with a recorded message from “Rachel” or one of her fictional co-workers at the vaguely named “Cardholder Services.” Not only are these calls often in violation of do-not-call regulations, they are also a scam to trick people our of their cash. Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had pulled the plug on five companies behind these scammy robocalls.

“At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is public enemy number one,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz about today’s actions, which also involved state agencies in Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida.more...

October 30, 2012

Federal vs. Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions determine whether you get to keep your home, car, pension, personal belongings, or other property. If a certain item is exempt, you may keep it during and after bankruptcy. If it is not exempt, the bankruptcy trustee is allowed to sell the property to pay your unsecured creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy exemptions determine how much you will have to pay to nonpriority, unsecured creditors through your Chapter 13 plan.

If you are considering bankruptcy, it’s important to understand how exemptions work and learn what property is exempt in your state. Some states offer you a choice between their State exemptions and the Federal bankruptcy exemptions.more...

October 26, 2012

Debt Settlement Companies Rip Off Consumers

It’s a debtor’s nightmare: you pay a company to help you pay off what you owe, but the company rips you – and 78,000 other people – off for thousands of dollars each, then makes empty promises to give all of you a refund. You and the other victims file a class action lawsuit and fight for four years to recoup what you’re owed, and in the end all you get is $185.

But that’s exactly what happened to consumers in California who paid fees to debt settlement companies, including Freedom Debt Relief (FDR), to help them consolidate and pay off their debts.more...

October 24, 2012

Lawsuit: Aspen Dental, with 18 offices in Michigan, misleads patients with 'unfair and deceptive trade practices'

A Michigan woman is among 11 patients suing Aspen Dental Management Inc., arguing the New York-based company illegally operates dental clinics throughout the country and pressures patients into expensive procedures.

Aspen has 18 locations in Michigan, including Bay City, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Lansing, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw and three Grand Rapids-area offices. The Bay City office is named in the lawsuit.more...

October 22, 2012

4 firms had most Ariz. credit-card complaints

If you've had a dispute lately with a credit-card company, you're not alone -- especially if the problem centered on a billing issue, the interest rate charged or how the company reported its action to a credit bureau.

You have lots of company if your spat was with Capital One, Citibank, Chase or Bank of America.

The new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been compiling credit-card complaints from the public, totaling just under 13,000 nationally over the initial 10 months from Dec. 1, 2011, through Oct. 1, 2012. more...

October 16, 2012

U.S. Credit-Card Lenders Shun Add-Ons as CFPB Cracks Down

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and American Express Co. (AXP) are among credit-card lenders retreating from a $2.4 billion market as regulators seek curbs on deceptive marketing of products including debt cancellation.

Scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has led to fines against banks including Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) and Discover Financial Services (DFS), prompting them to curtail sales of so-called add-ons that offer to help customers pay card bills if they get sick or lose their jobs, or monitor their credit.

“We’re on a glide path to selling fewer,” Discover Chief Executive Officer David Nelms said in a Sept. 27 interview. Nelms, 51, cited higher standards set by regulators including the two-year-old CFPB.more...

October 12, 2012

A guide to your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Got a mistake on your credit report? The law is on your side to get it fixed

It's not always easy to correct errors on your credit reports. However, don't give up just yet: You have a decades-old law on your side that requires credit reporting agencies and data providers to correct their mistakes -- and help keep your credit information from getting into the wrong hands.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act was enacted in October 1970, just as consumer credit was exploding -- and so was the power of the private companies that keep track of consumers' payment behavior. Credit reporting agencies, once small and local, were consolidating to create a national credit reporting system, and the law offered a consumer-friendly counterweight to keep the playing field even.more...

October 10, 2012

Court: Can gov't be sued for credit card mistakes?

The Supreme Court on Tuesday pondered whether it should allow the federal government to face millions of dollars in class-action lawsuits for violating identity theft protection laws that ban the printing of credit card numbers and expiration dates on receipts.

Government lawyers argue that the United States is immune from being sued for money over violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But a federal appeal court refused to throw out a class-action lawsuit from a Chicago lawyer who found part of his credit card number and the expiration date on his $350 receipt from a government website.

John Jacobs, the lawyer for James X. Bormes, argued in court that he could use either the FCRA or a second law, the Tucker Act, which allows the government to be sued in some circumstances, to negate the government's sovereign immunity.more...

October 8, 2012

The Problem of Medical Debt in Arizona

Medical Debt

A study by researchers at the University of Arizona found that Arizonans owe approximately
$2.4 billion in medical debt. Across age groups, middle-aged Arizonans reported the highest
prevalence of medical debt. This may be because younger adults tend to be healthy and less
likely to incur significant medical expenses, and older adults still in the workforce are more
likely to have adequate insurance and sufficient financial resources.

If Arizona’s collection rates are similar to the nation’s, then about 75 percent of the unpaid
medical debt ends up being paid by the government via Medicaid.more...

October 4, 2012

The Steps Used by Debt Collection Agencies

Debt collection agencies step in to recoup funds owed to creditors once an account has become seriously delinquent. Creditors will often hire a debt collection agency to recoup the funds owed by a debtor. The agency will be paid if and when the funds are recovered. It is therefore in both the creditor's and the agency's best interest to get you to pay as much of your overdue debt as possible.

Initial Notice

Once your creditor account has gone over 90 days without a payment, it will enter into the collection phase. In this phase the account is typically handed over to a collection agency, which will then attempt to recoup the money owed. The first step taken by the agency is to send a letter informing you that the debt is in collection and that it must be paid to avoid legal action. This letter must also inform you of your rights in the matter. Telephone calls or letters will follow, outlining your debt and the intent to collect. While the balance of the debt owed is up for negotiation in almost all cases, some form of payment plan or lump sum settlement must be arranged or the collection process will move into the legal phase.more...

September 2, 2012

Credit Bureau Definition

Definition: A credit bureau is an agency that collects and maintains individual credit information and sells it to lenders, creditors, and consumers in the form of a credit report. The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Credit bureaus receive consumer credit information from banks and other businesses. When another business with a "permissible purpose" requests to see a credit report, the credit bureau sells it to them.

Law Regarding Credit Bureaus

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that defines how credit bureaus are supposed to operate. The FCRA gives consumers the right to an accurate credit report. If you find errors in your credit report, you're allowed to dispute these errors with the credit bureaus. The credit bureau is then required to do an investigation and correct the errors when necessary.more...

September 27, 2012

Wisconsin Couple Loses Consumer Act Lawsuit Against Home Improvement Chain

A couple who sought $75,000 from Home Depot claiming violations of the Wisconsin Consumer Act recently lost in the federal court of appeals.

Brenda and Timothy Parent (the Parents) obtained a Home Depot credit card issued by Citibank for Home Depot purchases only. The couple was in the business of building log cabins through Crivitz Log Cabins LLC, and entered into an agreement with a customer to build one.

The customer also maintained a Citibank-issued Home Depot credit card, and a Home Depot log cabin package worth $9,761 was charged to the customer’s account. The customer later disputed the charge, and Citibank ultimately transferred the charges to the Parents’ account when the bank discovered that Timothy Parent signed the customer order forms.more...

September 25, 2012

Where Does Your Spouse's Credit Card Debt Go When They Die?

By far, the saddest cases in my years as a financial advisor were assisting widows after their spouses' deaths. Not only does a surviving spouse have a great deal to manage emotionally, but the financial burden can feel equally overwhelming.

Later in this article we'll take a look at who's responsible for a late spouse's credit card debt, but let's first address three important financial actions to take soon after the death of a spouse.

1. Alert credit agencies: Unfortunately, these days, the open, abandoned credit file of a deceased person is like a hand-engraved invitation for identity theft. So, the first step you should take in dealing with the deceased's finances is to alert the three major credit-reporting agencies -- Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion -- of the deathmore...

September 21, 2012

Prohibited threats from collection agencies

A collection agency may not make these threats against you:

To use physical force or violence, or any other criminal means to harm you, your property, or your reputation.
To accuse you of committing a criminal offense if you don't pay, when the accusation would be false.
To assign the debt to a third person and to represent that this would cut off a defense, or to garnish your wages, seize your property or arrest you, unless they can legally and intend to do it.
To communicate to anyone, information (other than nonpayment of the debt) that will defame you.
To take any other action that cannot legally be taken or that is prohibited by law, or to threaten any action they do not actually intend to take.
To take possession of your property by nonjudicial action unless they actually intend to do it. (Of course, they may also not make such a threat if there is no enforceable security interest or if the property is, by law, exempt from such taking.)
To communicate credit information about you that they know, or should know, is false.more...

September 19, 2011

Ariz. judge rules Citibank can't collect in credit card debt case

A bank's error in legally pursuing a customer for a credit card debt is going to leave it without the ability to collect the funds owed.

The state Court of Appeals said a trial judge was correct in refusing to grant any damages to Citibank.

Judge Michael Brown, writing for the majority, said the failure of the bank's attorneys to attach a necessary affidavit, coupled with the failure to appear in court, allowed the trial judge to conclude the bank's damages should be set at zero.

But appellate Judge Jon Thompson, in a dissent, said the decision of the trial court to force the issue to a hearing was in error. He said the bank was entitled to the money owed.

Court records show the bank sued Gary D. and Robin Davis, saying the coupled owed $28,785.more...

September 17, 2012

Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. Announces the Expansion of Its Legal Collections Operations in Florida and the Closing of Its Arizona Collections Call Center

Office closure and related inventory and resource reallocations expected to be accretive to 2013 earnings by approximately $4.0 million or $0.13 per share

Asset Acceptance Capital Corp. AACC -6.05% , a leading purchaser and collector of charged-off consumer debt, today announced that it will be expanding its legal collections operations in Riverview, Florida and closing its Tempe, Arizona collections call center. The closing of the Tempe collections office, along with related inventory reallocations is expected to be accretive to earnings on an annual basis by approximately $4.0 million or $0.13 per share.more...

September 13, 2012

FTC Sends Refunds to Victims of Robocall Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scheme

4,468 Checks Being Mailed This Week on Behalf of FTC to Consumers Nationwide; Calls Included Those from "Heather from Card Services"

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing refund checks to 4,468 consumers nationwide who allegedly were defrauded by a telemarketer who used robocalls to pitch worthless credit card rate reduction programs for an up-front fee. Each consumer will receive a check for between $31 and $1,300, based on how much money he or she lost in the scam.

The refunds stem from the July 2010 judgment in one of several cases the FTC brought against defendants that made illegal robocalls to consumers, using names including "Heather from card services" and "client services." According to the FTC, the defendants in this case claimed that they could lower the interest rates on consumers' credit cardsmore...

September 11, 2012

US consumers cut credit card use for 2nd month

Americans cut back on borrowing in July for the first time in nearly a year. Credit card use fell for the second straight month, suggesting many consumers remain cautious in the face of high unemployment and slow growth.

Total consumer borrowing dipped $3.3 billion in July from June to a seasonally adjusted $2.705 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. It was the first decline since August 2011. The drop in credit card debt offset a small rise in a measure of auto and student loans.more...

September 7, 2012

You and the Law: Fair Debt Collection

Debt collectors cannot treat you unfairly because you owe an unpaid debt. In 1978, the U.S. Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to stop abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.

This Act applies to "consumer debts". This means personal and household debts and does not apply to business debts. Also, the Act applies only to "debt collectors" and not to "creditors". The "creditor" is the person or entity to whom the money is owed. The "debt collector" is someone other than the creditor who attempts to collect the debt for the creditor.

When Debt Collectors Contact Youmore...

September 6, 2012

Debtors get calls, collections efforts for years

Skipped credit-card payments - from five years ago or two years ago or six months ago - have a pulse of their own. That debt lives on, generating phone calls, collection notices and unrelenting stress.

Consumers years behind on their bills may find themselves hounded by card companies, collection agencies or lawyers trying to garnishee wages or place liens on property.

If the debt is sold by the original owner, a new company unfamiliar to the consumer might start calling.more...

September 4, 2012

New Rules Aim to Help Consumers Avoid Huge Medical Bills

Arizona residents are likely familiar with the Affordable Care Act. One important aspect of the Act that may have been overlooked may now actually help lower income residents avoid huge medical bills and aggressive or harassing debt collection practices.

Proposed Debt Collection Rules

The IRS has proposed new rules under the Act that require tax exempt, non-profit hospitals to provide more consumer protection for lower income patients who qualify for financial assistance. Currently about six out of 10 hospitals in the United States operate as charitable hospitals.more...

August 31, 2012

Arizona credit card, student loan debt drop in July

The average Arizona resident’s credit card debt continues to decline, according to a new report from Credit Karma.

The average credit card balance for an Arizona resident was $5,400 in July, which is $26 lower than in June and $1,053 lower than in July of last year.

Arizona’s credit card debt falls just below the national average of $5,480, according to Credit Karma’s numbers. That puts it in the middle of the pack for lowest balance in the nation at 20th out of 50 states.more...

August 28, 2012

Arizona AG files lawsuits against 3 loan-modification companies

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is accusing three mortgage-modification businesses in Phoenix and Tucson of deceiving Spanish-speaking homeowners into paying upfront fees for phony loan services and false promises of helping people dodge foreclosure.

Horne filed civil lawsuits in the Maricopa County Superior Court on Wednesday against La Paz Source LLC and La Placita Multi Services LLC, operating in Tucson, and Making All Homes Affordable LLC in both Phoenix and Tucson, asking the court for injunctions, thousands of dollars in fines to the state and reimbursements to victims, according to the court records.more...

August 22, 2012

Credit care: Here's how to fight wage garnishment

Q: I have just received a civil judgment with consequences of my wages being garnished. What legal steps can I take to reverse that and resume negotiations with the collection agency?

A: As with any legal situation, it is best to consult an attorney to determine your best options.

Based on the information included in your question, it sounds as if you missed or were not informed of a court appearance. In order for a creditor to receive a judgment, which can be used to issue a wage garnishment order, it must be issued by a court. Legally, the creditor must inform you that you are being sued and provide you with the court date so you can appear in court or send in the required paperwork to defend your side of the case. If you were not properly informed of the court date, your attorney may be able to have the court stop the garnishment.more...

August 21, 2012

Appellate Court Rules Debt Collection Letter Sent to Workplace Violates FDCPA

Lemberg & Associates, LLC announced that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the U.S. District Court, and has ruled that sending a debt collection letter to a consumer's workplace is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act's prohibition on communications with third parties. In Evon v. Law Offices of Sidney Mickell, the defendant sent a debt collection letter to Catherine Evon in "care of" her employer, even though she had requested that they not contact her at work. As the appellate court's majority opinion noted, "The letter was opened and read by various individuals, including people in the legal department, before it found its way to Evon."

According to attorney Sergei Lemberg, whose firm Lemberg & Associates represents Ms. Evon, "The appellate court's decision is a resounding victory for consumers. All too often, debt collectors use tactics of embarrassment or humiliation to extract payments from people. This ruling establishes that sending correspondence to a person's place of employment is a violation of the law."more...

August 15, 2012

Handling Credit Card Debt After the Death of a Spouse

When a spouse dies, the surviving mate may be burdened with more than just grief and loneliness. Credit card debt may also haunt the partner that is left behind.

The responsibility for the credit card debt of a deceased spouse will depend on the type of account it was and, in some cases, where you live.

When the Estate Pays

If a credit card was just in your deceased spouse's name, the debt only belongs to your spouse (there are exceptions to this in community property states). The estate, not family members, is responsible for paying off the balance. The executor of the estate will use the assets to pay off the debt. If the estate doesn't have the money to pay the card's balance, then the credit card company must write off the balance and the account is closed. A card company can't legally force someone else to pay.more...

August 13, 2012

Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery Collection Efforts

Phoenix, Arizona - The efforts to collect on consumer debts reportedly owed to Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery for late fees or non-return of videos are the subject of a new Consumer Alert issued Friday by Attorney General Tom Horne.

Horne said, “My office has recently been getting a number of consumer inquiries about how Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery are going about the collection of supposed debts. Some consumers have been confused because they did not rent a video nor are responsible for late fees.”more...

August 11, 2012

Capital One To Pay $12M For Alleged Treatment Of Military Members

Capital One Bank has agreed to pay about $12 million to resolve a lawsuit by the Department of Justice alleging that the company violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), a federal law that provides financial protections to members of the military.

The agreement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The lawsuit was referred to the department by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

The referral involved a claim of a service member's failure to receive an interest rate reduction on his Capital One credit card account. The settlement comes after a two-year investigation of Capital One by the Department of Justice.more...

August 9, 2012

Court reverses ruling favoring debt collectors

A federal appeals court has reversed a California ruling that favored debt collectors who send letters to a person's workplace.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals also took the case away from Sacramento federal Judge John Mendez because of his disparaging remarks.

The Sacramento Bee ( says Mendez ruled two years ago that a Southern California debt collector's custom of sending letters "in care of" employers did not violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.more...

August 6, 2012

Home Depot fights 'abusive' credit card fees with PayPal system

Customers gradually embracing in-store PayPal payment system installed in nearly 2,000 Home Depot stores in March

he Home Depot says its rollout of a PayPal in-store payment system to 1,976 U.S. stores in March has generally been a success, though it notes that the system still accounts for a very small percentage of overall transactions.

The retailer deployed the system in part to avoid what it calls "abusive" bank fees for credit card transactions.

Home Depot customers can use PayPal by simply typing their mobile phone number and a specific PayPal account PIN on an in-store terminal. A receipt for the purchase is sent to the customer's online PayPal account, which is accessible from a mobile phone.more...

August 2, 2011

Consumers cut debt amid soft economy

Consumers in Arizona and nationally made progress reducing credit card and mortgage debt over the first half of 2012.

A midyear report from shows credit-card debt dropping nearly 16.7 percent to $5,576 since the start of the year for people nationally with balances. Mortgage debt fell an average of 4.3 percent to $166,325. But auto debts rose 2 percent to $15,818, and student-loan balances jumped 11.9 percent to $29,390.

“The lackluster economy is partially to blame for the positive trend of decreasing credit-card debt,” said Ken Lin, CEO of, in a statement. “Consumers tend to take on more credit-card debt when they feel more confident about their jobs and the economy. Because of the lack of confidence, I think we’ll continue to see credit-card debt decrease throughout the year.”more...

July 30, 2011

Arizona Courthouse doors spin as rules change

In some ways, the upswing in these suits parallels other developments that are placing some courthouses under a crushing volume of recession-related consumer debt lawsuits.

Courts in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and other regions hit hard by the staggering economy report that credit card companies and collection agencies are filing a record number of lawsuits against delinquent customers. At the same time, some jurisdictions are requiring collectors to meet a higher burden of proof before winning -- or even filing -- their cases.more...

July 25, 2012

Credit Card Debt Judgments

If you are in default on a credit card account, the credit card company can try to get a credit card debt judgment against you by filing a lawsuit. If the credit card company gets a judgment, it can use all sorts of collection methods against you to get paid.

There several ways a credit card company can get a judgment against you after it has filed a lawsuit. Read on to learn how a credit card company can get a judgment, and what types of collection actions it can take once it gets a credit card judgment.more...

July 23, 2012

Cocopah Nurseries, Arizona Palm Grower, Files Bankruptcy

Cocopah Nurseries of Arizona, Inc., which grows palm trees and citrus in the desert, filed for bankruptcy, blaming a slowdown in demand for landscaping from builders.

The Indio, California-based company said it was forced into bankruptcy after an out-of-court restructuring failed.

Cocopah and its bankrupt affiliates “remain caught between, and impacted by the prepetition lenders’ intercreditor disputes to some degree,” Duane Young, company vice president, said in court papers filed yesterday in Yuma, Arizona.more...

July 19, 2012

More Credit Card Charges on the Horizon

The ability to pay with a credit card for seemingly every transaction, without a surcharge, has been established as close to a right in America, but that may soon change. In a move that they say would defray the transaction cost attached to processing credit card transactions, merchants are pushing for the authority to charge customers an extra fee to use credit cards at their establishments.

Among other industry leaders, both Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) have rules preventing business from chargingcustomer transaction fees. All retailers must abide by these guidelines if they are to be permitted to accept these companies’ credit cards. These regulations exist despite credit card distributors charging businesses each time they execute a transaction with their cards, known as an interchange fee.more...

July 17, 2012

Ariz. AG alleges work-from-home scam

PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a lawsuit against 26 defendants on Thursday who were allegedly part of a work-from-home scam.

According to Horne's complaint, the defendants sold websites that claimed consumers could sell credit card merchant services, debt consolidation services and/or mortgage refinancing services with the promise of substantial commissions from the sales generates by the sites. High-pressure sales tactics were then allegedly used on consumers to sell marketing packages to website owners.more...

July 13, 2012

Arizona State Statute Regulating Debt Collection

Title 32 Professions and Occupations, Chapter 9, Articles 1-3.
32-1001. Definitions and exemptions

A. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. "Claim" means an obligation for the payment of money or its equivalent and a sum or sums owed, due or asserted to be owed or due to another, for which a person is employed to demand payment and collect or enforce such payment, and includes:
(a) Obligations for the payment of money to another, in the form of conditional sales agreements, notwithstanding the personal property sold thereunder, for which payment is claimed or may be or is repossessed in lieu of payment.more...

July 11, 2012

PNC settles debit card lawsuit

PNC Bank has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the Pittsburgh-based financial institution of improperly manipulating debit card transactions to boost overdraft fees, attorneys handling the multi-bank case announced Tuesday.

The lawsuit claims that PNC and other big banks use computers to re-sequence customers' debit card purchases, posting them from highest to lowest amount rather than the actual order they come in. That system tends to drain an account more quickly and trigger the most overdraft fees.more...

July 9, 2012

Man sues strip club over $50,000 credit card bill

A man enters a Clearwater strip club. He leaves three hours later thinking he's spent $600.

A few days later he checks his credit card account and learns he was charged $50,000.

There's no punchline or joke.

That's what Lokesh Simon James said happened to him after a March night spent at the Bliss Cabaret, 3860 Ulmerton Road.

James, 32, has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County Circuit Court against the gentleman's club and a former Bliss Cabaret bartender, Doug Berube. His suit demands that he be repaid the money he says he was overcharged, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs.more...

July 5, 2012

Credit-Card Debt and Debtor's Rights

The FDCPA protects debtors from harassing debt collectors.

For big-ticket purchases or shopping on the Internet -- and even smaller purchases made on quick runs to the store or filling up the gas tank -- credit cards are convenient. Carrying cash to make these purchases is often not feasible. Along with the convenience, there are other benefits of using credit cards, such as the ability to pay off purchases over time or receiving rewards for using the card (like airline miles or cash back).

Yet, the same convenience and benefits offered by credit cards can also be the things that get consumers in financial trouble.

Credit-Card Debt Collection

Like all creditors, credit card companies who do not receive payment for debts can, within the bounds of the law, seek to collect on the debt. Collection can take the form of sending letters or calling the debtor. If the debt is not collected through these measures, the credit card company can file a lawsuit asking the court to compel the debtor to pay back the debt, including through wage garnishment.more...

July 2, 2012

Feds Move To Curb Abusive Debt Collection By Nonprofit Hospitals

Deb Waldin was in agony when she arrived at the emergency room of Fairview Southdale, a nonprofit hospital in suburban Minneapolis. On a scale of 1 to 10, she says her pain was at 12.

She turned out to have kidney stones. But before she got the diagnosis, while she was still lying on a gurney waiting to see a doctor, she was approached by a debt collector from a company called Accretive Health.more...

June 28, 2012

FTC Lawsuit Alleges Wyndham Failed to Protect Customer Data All Three Times

Consumer protection agency FTC is going after hotel operator Wyndham Worldwide for not doing enough to protect customer financial data.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against mega-hotel Wyndham Worldwide and three of its subsidiaries for failing to protect consumer data, the regulatory body said Tuesday. The hotel chain suffered three breaches in 2008 and 2009, and hundreds of thousands of customer's payment card information was transferred to an Internet domain registered in Russia, according to the FTC release.more...

June 23, 2012

The FDCPA protects debtors from harassing debt collectors

For big-ticket purchases or shopping on the Internet -- and even smaller purchases made on quick runs to the store or filling up the gas tank -- credit cards are convenient. Carrying cash to make these purchases is often not feasible. Along with the convenience, there are other benefits of using credit cards, such as the ability to pay off purchases over time or receiving rewards for using the card (like airline miles or cash back).
Yet, the same convenience and benefits offered by credit cards can also be the things that get consumers in financial trouble.more...

June 21, 2012

Database to track bank credit-card complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching a database that tracks which large banks have had the most complaints about their credit cards and how they were resolved - information some industry trade groups don't want made public.

The goal of the searchable database is to provide more information to consumers, businesses and advocacy groups about an important financial product, said Richard Cordray, the agency's director. It will be limited at first to credit-card complaints received since June 1 for banks with more than $10 billion in assets.more...

June 19, 2012

Foreclosure settlement money figuring in lawsuit over Arizona budget provision on hold for now

PHOENIX — The state won't immediately implement a budget provision to spend $50 million from Arizona's share of a foreclosure settlement while the provision is being challenged in court.

The provision requires the money be transferred to the state general fund to help balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

However, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain scheduled an Aug. 22 hearing for arguments in the case after lawyers for state officials promised that the money won't be transferred before Dec. 31.more...

June 15, 2012

Key to handling credit card trouble: Don't procrastinate

Consumers can find themselves with insurmountable debt for any number of reasons. Unwise use of credit cards ranks near the top. As a Florida certified county mediator for the last 12 years, I have seen cases involving failure to pay credit-card debt increase markedly over time.more...

June 13, 2012

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Losing Plaintiffs Must Pay Costs in Fair Debt Collection Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a collection agency that wins dismissal of a federal fair debt collection suit can collect costs without a showing of bad faith or harassment by the plaintiff.more...

June 11, 2012

Arizona Mother Fights $900 Medical Bill After Premature Baby Dies Minutes After Birth

The death of a child is something no parent ever wants to face. And reliving such a traumatic experience in order to settle a medical bill would seem to only make it worse. more...

June 7, 2012

Bankruptcy news isn't all negative

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies rose to a nine-month high in May amid signs the economy is slowing.

However, the uptick was modest, and the latest numbers remain in line with what appears to be a stabilizing pattern.more...

June 5, 2012

Cash out refinancing

The Arizona appellate courts at this time have not ruled on the liability of a borrower for the cash received on a "cash-out" refinancing of a loan used to purchase a home.

The Arizona appellate courts, however, have specifically ruled that a refinancing for the same amount as the original mortgage loan is protected by the Arizona anti-deficiency statutes. more...

June 1, 2012

Consumer Wins $62K Lawsuit Against Bank For 56 Harassing Robo-Calls

A citizen harassed by auto-dialed robo-calls on his cell phone about a debt he never owed has won his lawsuit in federal court. The citizen charged the bank with a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Michigan's Collection Practices Act (MCPA).

The TCPA prohibits calls to a person's cell phone using an automatic telephone dialing system or using a prerecorded or artificial voice message without that person's express consent.more...

May 30, 2012

Arizona Homeowners File Suit Against State for Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Fund Raid

The response to the foreclosure fraud settlement fund raid in multiple states, now up close to a billion dollars, has been shockingly muted. No progressive group or housing-focused organization has done much more than grumble about the fact that money intended to go to homeowners is being diverted into state budgets all over the country.

But one state is trying to fight back. In Arizona, a group of homeowners have filed a lawsuit against state Attorney General Thomas Horne and State Treasurer Doug Ducey, arguing that the $50 million the state will skim off the settlement payout for the General Fund (out of a total of $97.7 million) violates the settlement agreement. Here’s the meat of the complaint:more...

May 28, 2012

Lawsuit challenges Ariz. use of settlement money

PHOENIX — PHOENIX (AP) - A lawsuit filed by public interest law firms on behalf of homeowners tries to block Arizona from using part of a foreclosure settlement to help balance the next state budget.

The budget approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer takes $50 million of the $98 million settlement paid to the state by mortgage lenders and puts the money into Arizona's main operating account. The settlement also provides aid directly to homeowners.more...

May 23, 2012

How to Protect Yourself From Criminal Debt Collectors

Here are the best ways to combat illegal debt-collection tactics

As more and more Americans are racking up debt as a result of the poor economy, criminal debt collectors are taking advantage. These collectors employ illegal tactics, aggressively trying to get you to pay off your debts—or perhaps even pay money you don't owe.

Nearly 15 percent of Americans today face collection calls, including the most vulnerable population of senior citizens on fixed incomes. That's twice the number of Americans pursued by collectors 12 years ago, according to the Federal Reserve. more...

May 22, 2012

5 Ways to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

The B Word. We know what it is but don't like to say it, and we hope we never have to go through it. The mere thought of bankruptcy sends shivers down our spines and makes our bank accounts quiver in fear. It has its reputation as the ultimate nadir of personal finance.

Bankruptcy, according to finance guru Dave Ramsey, is often considered one of the top five life-altering negative events a person can experience, with divorce, severe illness, disability and the loss of a loved one. Ramsey says that bankruptcy "leaves deep wounds both to the psyche and the credit report"more...

May 21, 2012

Keep Debt Collectors At Bay And Yourself Out Of The Slammer

If your bill is long past its due date, then expect the debt collectors to come a-knockin'. Hiding from them and pretending they don't exist is not a good solution; it will only aggravate the problem and make things worse. Dealing with the issue head-on might help you catch a break. Here are a couple tips for dealing with those dreaded debt collectors:

Know your rights. As consumers, we are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against harassment from debt collectors. There are certain things they aren't supposed to do, such as calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., using abusive language, and repeatedly bothering you with multiple calls.more...

May 20, 2012

Brewer signs bill to help debt collectors

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has approved legislation making it easier for debt collectors to go after defaulting consumers and small businesses.

Brewer signed House Bill 2664 into law today. The measure allows collection agencies to use final billing statements as a basis to show amounts owed and interest rates as they seek court judgments and wage garnishments. more...

May 19, 2012

Tempe man sues LA Fitness, claiming billing fraud

A Tempe man is suing LA Fitness for fraud, contending that staff members used his electronic signature to charge him for more than $1,200 in services he did not want or need.

Benjamin Calleros, 22, said LA Fitness drained his bank account of money set aside for tuition when staff members fraudulently signed him up for personal-training services.more...

May 17, 2012

Arizona Legislature approves $50M sweep of mortgage assistance funds

The Arizona Legislature signed off on a 2013 state budget Tuesday that sweeps $50 million from a $97.8 million fund Arizona received from the national settlement with mortgage servicers to the state’s general fund.

“The Republicans’ priorities are all wrong,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix). “They swept $50 million from the Attorney General’s Mortgage Settlement Fund that should be used to help families trying to recover from the mortgage crisis. Instead, they are funding more prisons.”more...

May 12, 2012

IKEA Credit Card Transaction Class Action Lawsuit

IkeaA federal judge has ruled IKEA must face a class action lawsuit accusing the retailer of requesting and storing customers’ zip codes when making credit card purchases.

Plaintiff Rita Medellin sued IKEA in February 2011 for allegedly violating the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, which prohibits businesses from requesting personal identification information such customer zip codes and phone numbers as a condition to accepting credit card transactions.more...

May 4, 2012

HB 2664 will hurt Arizonans and the economy, benefits out-of-state debt collectors

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 14), says that HB 2664 is bad for the economy and could empower out-of-state debt collectors to force Arizona citizens to repay debts they may have already paid or that have been dismissed or forgiven.

"This is bad legislation that will weaken consumer protection laws and targets families that are struggling financially," McCune Davis said. "It benefits out-of-state debt buyers, companies that purchase and attempt to collect debt after it has gone into default."more...


Michael Weston provides Debt Lawsuit Defense in all cities of Arizona, USA including:


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