This article was written by Lemberg Law staff, and reviewed by Sergei Lemberg, the managing attorney of Lemberg Law.
American Recovery Service, Inc or ARSI is a third-party collection agency based in Southern California. ARSI has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including attempting to collect debts not owed and using false or misleading language in an effort to collect a debt. If you have been contacted by this debt collector, make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Recovery Service, Inc. is a legitimate collection agency founded in 1986. The BBB established a profile page for American Recovery Service or ARSI in 1998. American Recovery Service is listed as a collection agency and collection system provider.
According to its website, ARSI’s mission is “to be an industry leader through superior client service, dignified account management, and innovative technology integration.” In addition, ARSI is “committed to maintaining this leadership through constant investment in…people and facilities and the development of accounts receivable solutions.”
American Recovery Service’s one-page website does not provide a lot of detailed information about its business practices, and there is no information about its client base or of the industries it serves. ARSI states that it is “committed to providing ethical and professional collection services to its clients.” Furthermore, ARSI’s staff “understands the difficulties and stress that can be associated with financial difficulties and seeks to work towards solutions to these financial problems.”
ARSI cites its affiliations with the International Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International) and the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC). The Frequently Asked Questions section provides contact information for making payments and a statement about the security of its technology and data transmission. However, they do not provide any links or references to consumer protection resources, laws, or enforcement agencies.
Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm
Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of collection harassment and abuse. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. We’ve helped more than 15,000 consumers stop harassment and recover money from debt collectors. Harassed? Abused? Misled by a collector? Call our Helpline today! There is no charge unless we win.
As of September 2017, the Better Business Bureau reported 25 closed complaints against American Recovery Service during the last 3 years, including 5 closed within the last 12 months. 8 of the 25 complaints were related to billing/collection issues. Overall, the Better Business Bureau has assigned a rating of A+ to ARSI. In addition, Justia lists 10 complaints filed in federal court naming American Recovery Service as a defendant and alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Further, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) lists 5 closed complaints in the past 12 months.
American Recovery Service, Inc.
555 Saint Charles Dr., Ste. 100
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-3983
Telephone: (805) 379-8500
It is illegal for a debt collector to make empty threats to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely ARSI would sue you for a debt you may not owe or they cannot validate. However, debt collection agencies are known to have summoned debtors to court and garnish wages after a default judgement. Contacting an attorney BEFORE this could possibly happen would be a smart move. We’ve helped thousands of consumers fight back against unscrupulous debt collection harassers. Find out if we can help you too today!
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Unlawful Debt Harassment? Learn the Law & Sue the Collector.
Absolutely. You can sue a debt collector. Here is a brief summary of Cases Filed in Federal Court
In October 2017, in United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, a judge issued a Memorandum Decision and Order in a case alleging American Recovery Service, had violated certain provisions of the FDCPA. In this case, the plaintiff had acquired debt using a credit card issued by Bank of America (BofA). After charging off the debt, BofA sent the debt to ARSI for collection, and a week later ,ARSI sent the plaintiff a collection letter. The letter stated in part that “as of the date above, the plaintiff owes $14,413.78.” In addition, the letter included a table “identifying Bank of America as the ‘original creditor’; the ‘total amount of the debt due as of charge-off’ as $14,413.78; the ‘total amount of interest accrued since charge off’ as $0; and the ‘total amount of non-interest charges or fees accrued since charge-off’ as $0.” The letter went to state that “the balance owed above reflects the total balance due as of the date of this letter. The itemization reflects the post charge-off activity we received from” BofA. ARSI also sent a second letter listing the balance owed, with the same figure indicated above, and without the language, “as of the date of this letter.” The plaintiff alleged that the letter violated three provisions of the FDCPA: “(1) … the general prohibition against ‘deceptiveor misleading’ representations in Section 1692e; (2) … the specific prohibition against ‘the use of any false representation or deceptive means . . . to attempt to collect any debt’ in Section 1692e(10); and (3) … Section 1692g, which requires that a collection letter state the amount of the debt.”
In deciding whether ARSI was guilty of the stated violations, the court considered an earlier decision about misleading collection letters, which found in a similar case that:
“A reasonable consumer could read the notice and be misled into believing that she could pay her debt in full by paying the amount listed on the notice. In fact, however, if interest is accruing daily, or if there are undisclosed late fees, a consumer who pays the ‘current balance’ stated on the notice will not know whether the debt has been paid in full.”
The judge in this case expressed his concern that the precedent set by this case was sometimes taken advantage to hold collection agencies liable for extremely minor infractions. He was also concerned about some of the factual differences between the two cases. However, after a thorough analysis, he agreed that the ARSI’s letter was written with the specific intention of influencing the consumer’s behavior by using language that was deliberately misleading. As a result, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement was granted, and the court issued an order “to schedule a conference to discuss resolution of…class certification and damage…claims.”
Federal laws protect you. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates the behavior of collection agencies by prohibiting actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; harassment; or the use of false or misleading information to collect a debt. The FCRA regulates how collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
Consumers have reported this agency harassing them from the following numbers:
Can I sue ARSI for harassment?
Yes. If you want to enforce your rights, or recover money for violations — you need to sue. Federal laws provide individuals like you with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers who have been violated to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
You may have a case, if…
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies.
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are receiving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
What Our Clients are Saying
“I was almost going nuts receiving calls every afternoon from a person using profane language to push me to pay debts I don’t owe. Someone I trust referred me to Lemberg Law, and I don’t regret having contacted them. The attorneys were very kind and always available when I needed them.”
“Thank you for standing with me Lemberg Law. I was so afraid I could lose my job because of a caller who called my job number 4 hours straight back to back. He not only harassed and threatened me but also abused workmates who received the call when I wasn’t around. Since I solicited for your services, I’ve had a peace of mind, and I’m happy because of the few dollars I got as a settlement.”
Chances are good that we can help. Call us today and we’ll explain.
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