Report: #228482

Complaint Review: Associated Recovery Systems , ARS National Services

  • Submitted: Wed, January 03, 2007
  • Updated: Wed, December 12, 2012
  • Reported By: Falling Waters West Virginia
  • Associated Recovery Systems , ARS National Services
    Po Box 469046
    Escondido, California

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

They originally contacted me last summer about a debt owed to Citibank. I did owe Citibank, but had been working with them on a payment plan. ARS called me to inform that Citibank had bounced the debt to them and I now owed them $4000 more than what I owed Citibank.
After being verbally abused, physically threatened and terrorized, I wrote a cease and desist letter to their company and asked that all further correspondance be conducted by mail. They did not send me anything in the mail for a full year.

I received yet another call when the new year began and agreed to make payments to this company in the amount of $1500 a month for 4 months, with an initial $500 down payment. Things went according to plan for 2 months and then an emergency arose and I was not able to provide the funds in my checking account for their payment to be deducted. I called and explained all of this and rearranged the rest of my payment dates.

Come December, when I was due to make my last payment at $750, they took the post dated payment out 3 days early, causing me to rack up $860 in overdraft fees from my bank. Devasted, I called ARS to see what had happened, and Christopher Ruiz threatened me, used vulgar and disgusting language and hung the phone up, refusing to allow me to speak with his supervisor.

I called the company this morning to see about getting a release letter so they could not sell the rest of my debt to another collection agency, and Chris Ruiz hung up the phone again. I called back and asked to speak with a different representative and he hung up again. Then, he got someone from within his company to call me repeatedly (12 times in a row, to be exact) and call me a "b***h" and tell me they could come to my house because they have my address.

Because of ARS, I now owe $860 to my bank in overdraft fees. They refuse to work with me on this and they refuse to accept any blame for processing a post dated payment early. The last supervisor I spoke with informed that he would NOT send a letter declaring the debt settled and paid.

I have contacted the attorney general in my state regarding this matter and don't know who else to contact in the hopes of getting the $860 that ARS cost me, nor the $750 payment they basically stole by processing it earlier than agreed upon.

These people are not only rude and vulgar, they use criminalistic and terroristic tactics to frighten people. When they saw that their tactics were not working with me and that I was fully aware of the Fair Debt Collections Act, they simply refused to speak with me, after I had just paid them $6000.

Falling Waters, West Virginia
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/03/2007 12:03 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

call your states attorney general

AUTHOR: Joe Corazzini - (United States of America)

I'd suggest you contact the state attorney general for starters. Change your phone number and don't give it out to anyone unless you want it public. This ARS called me tonight and I don't even have credit cards, although I do have bank accounts with citibank for one (savings) and I'm not in debt either. Stick up for your rights, call the attorney general in your state. There are laws protecting you.
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#2 Consumer Comment

#9 Mary, maybe you should know what YOU'RE talking about!

AUTHOR: VickiC - (United States of America)

Comment #9 - Mary:

According to section 806 of the FDCPA, this is one of the definitions of "harassment":

(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

Are you SERIOUSLY saying that calling a debtor EVERY SINGLE DAY would not fall under that definition? I think that if the debtor wanted to make the effort to sue the collection agency in small claims court, they'd have a pretty good case.

As for your saying that most of the people collectors talk to are assholes and won't let the collectors try to help - give me a break. I have friends who have worked in collections and they are told that their number one priority is to get FULL payment, by any means necessary. If a debtor wants to discuss a payment plan or settlement, they are told to be as discouraging as possible. Basically, the collection agencies don't give a d**n about the debtor, or any extenuating circumstances - they just want their money.

By the way - if you are a collector yourself, the lack of ability to use the English language shown in your posting says a lot about the intelligence level of many collectors.


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#3 UPDATE Employee


AUTHOR: Collection Guru - (U.S.A.)

Boy, most of you are way off base, here. Some only slightly, most a whole lot. I have worked in the collection industry for many, many years and for many different collection agencies--including ARS. For all your benefit, let me clear up a few things.

First, anyone who is a consumer who pays their debts as agreed should thank their lucky stars that there are those of us who perform the thankless work that we do. We save all of you TONS of money in interest and other fees that would otherwise be passed on to you as a result of those who don't pay. In other words, the money we recover for creditors is money they don't have to pass on to you.

Second, this is a brief snapshot of how the whole business works. Your account goes delinquent. Your creditor usually makes internal collection attempts (these are usually pretty soft because your account is still open and they hope to keep you as a customer) for the first 180 days from delinquency. At that point, the account is usually turned over to an outside collection agency (also called a third-party agency). It is not typically sold at this point, but placed on consignment, meaning, the agency recieves a percentage of whatever they recover as a "fee" for recovering it. The creditor still holds right to the amount owed. Over the next 1 1/2 to 2 years, the account, if not resolved, will continue to be placed with different third-party agencies for around 9 months or so apiece. It could go through as many as 4-5 different agencies. Only at this point, in most cases, though it depends on the creditor and type of debt, is the account usually sold to a debt purchaser. When this happens, the process usually starts over.

Third, the FDCPA is pretty vague in terms of what we can and cannot do. Most of the rest is a result of current case law, so it varies from state to state in most cases. So, making broad generalities to what constitues harrassment, for example, is not necessarily helpful. We cannot call before 8am or after 9pm your time. We CAN call you on Sundays, on Christmas and every other holiday. We can demand that you pay your account with check by phone (except in Massachusetts and Rhode Island). We can make a deadline to pay any settlement by or tell you it becomes null and void. We are required to send you a postdated check letter in most cases. We are NOT required to send you a release letter. We can demand you provide proof above and beyond a cancelled check as proof of previous satisfaction of your debt. We CANNOT cash your postdated check early without your authorization, but if you bounce a check, in most states, we are allowed to redeposit it electronically for up to 30 days after it has been returned. We can continue to contact you (in most states once per day) by phone until the account is resolved unless you have issued a valid Cease & Desist to us specifically.

In most states, this must be in writing. We are required to request validation of a debt on your behalf from your creditor if you request this within 30 days of our having recieved your account. In many states, this request must be made in writing, though many creditors and agencies accept a verbal request. We CAN continue to contact you, except as above, even if the account is past statute. Statue of limitations typically only refers to the ability of a creditor to sue you and report the account negatively. It says nothing about whether you actually still owe the money. There are entire agencies that collect on accounts that are past statute. I could go on, but my point is that there is a lot of misinformation going on here. Unfortunately, many people would rather spend money on a lawyer to get out of paying a debt they actually owe rather than simply resolve it.

Next, many creditors will not speak to a debtor consumer once they send an account outside, so the advise that one should NEVER deal with a collection agency is very poor advise. Many states allow creditors to continue to charge interest even after the account is sent to collections (or, charged off, as opposed to written off). This is how accounts become huge. It has nothing to do with the collection agency. In these cases, the contract originating the account specified this. Overall, the longer a debt goes unaddressed--whatever the reason for delinquency--the larger they can become.

Last, many of you here posted that you have been receiving communications for someone other than yourself--sometimes relatives. This is because the individual we are looking for is trying not to be found. When this happens, we "skip trace" for them. Everyone needs to understand that anything that is appended to your credit typically stays there for many years, even if it is incorrect. The credit bureaus themselves often confuse information between family members, particularly when their is a similar name.

When this happens, it is impossible to tell which information is correct, so as collectors we are reduced to shooting blindly in the dark, hoping that someone will contact us with better information. There are also many proprietary data bases that we buy information from. This information is obtained in many ways. For example, when you go to the mall and fill out the card trying to win the car, your information just wound up on a data base. We subscribe to a service that the Post Office sells to be notified of everytime someone in our database files a Change of Address with them. Don't be offended if a collector calls you for someone else. Your not doing yourselves or the person they are looking for (if you know them) any favors by withholding better information you may have. The best way to stop these type of calls is to give up any information you might have about how we may reach them.

I don't condone the behavior of many collectors. I don't think rudeness is effective or warrented--especially when talking to those who are not party to the debt we are calling about. As a manager, I am very vigilant in reinforcing with my collectors that they will be more sucessfull by being professional. But, debtor consumers need to understand that they are no longer customers and we are not customer service. You don't get to have it your way once you are sent to collections. The best way to address your debts is to be completely forthright.

I hope this helps.
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#4 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

Another alleged ex-employee that again fails to even mention that the alleged debtor has the right to have the alleged debt validated. But the again, if it was real, they'd do it from square one instead of looking for someone to pin it on by phishing for someone's information.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Get your facts straight

AUTHOR: Ljcollins1979 - (U.S.A.)

I personally worked for ARS for almost 2 years. I do know without a doubt that ARS does not purchase any debt. Your creditor places you account with them for a period of up to 6 months depending on which creditor it is. If you have a post dated check on file with them a form is sent out and recieved 5 to 7 business days before your check is to be ran. I'm sure you recieved it and if you knew the money would not be there it is your responsibility to call and let them make other arrangements. Every assumes Collection Agencies are out to steal your information and that is simply not the case. Though there are some bad apples in the bunch ARS is not one of them. The more you work with them to get your situation resolved the more thier likely to help you get the balance lowered. I'm not speaking from opinion but from personal experience.

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#6 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

Anyway, the FDCPA does not monitor ALL calls. You're insane if you think that because the FDCPA is a LAW, not a person or committee.
Secondly, calling someone upwards of 12 times a day IS harassment, according to the attorney general of my state and the attorney I hired to handle this company. I am sorry, but I will believe him
And yes, my account was sold to ARS, according to Citicards, but are they wrong too? I am going by what Citibank said. And if I didn't want to pay them, why did I give them almost $7500 in under 4 months? You do not make sense, and not only with the numerous grammatical and spelling errors, but you have contradicted yourself.

And crazy or not, I got the release letter I needed from them, got them to call citibank to report the debt had been paid so they could remove it from my credit report, and have hired an attorney to fight them.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Know what your talking about!!

AUTHOR: Mary - (U.S.A.)

ARS National is not a random collection company that buys peoples accounts! They are hired by citibank, bank of america, and so on. so citibank or whoever gives ARS the debt that is needed to be payed.

All phone calls are monitored by the FDCPA, and all employees are bound by the FDCPA. Alot of people get upset when ever a collector calls bc they realize that they can not get away with not paying citibank and so on. so may be just may be is most of the people they spoke to werent a*s wholes to start out and let the collectors try and help take care of everything and do their jobs they wouldnt have to be nasty! and it isnt harassment by the way.

they are allowed to call you. every day untill you write the letter saying to stop. and if you were paying citibank and than all of a sudden you got calls from ARS you should talk to citibank than bc they highered ARS to call you! not only that but you can pay off ALL your debt but if you dont cancel that account with citibank or so on you will continue to rack up fees not by ARS but by citibank bc you did not cancel the account. and some people will go on for years not knowing this account is still open until citibank sends it back to ARS to get collected. and if your nice to the ARS employees they could actually get you as low as 45% off and more.

but like I said they are not random debt collectors, they are hired by your credit card company to clear the debt and if you dont pay it depending on the state you live in can face serious consequenses (sorry i spelt that wrong) anyway but yea thats whats going on.

I personally think your full of it. and that your over reacting and that you are just bitter bc you owed so much money and maybe believed you could get away with not paying it so there for your upset that you were cought, anyway great for you that you know the FDCPA but I doubt they were not wanting to talk to you bc of that, its prob. bc you just sounded crazy and you annoyed them.
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#8 Consumer Comment

You Go Girl!

AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

They are harrassing me too for a debt that's not even mine! Same name, different person. I called Citibank and they have never heard of me! And thought you'd like to know, Citibank has never heard of ARS either!! What has happened with your situation lately???
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#9 Consumer Comment

Sarah, GOOD JOB!

AUTHOR: Steve [Not A Lawyer] - (U.S.A.)


That's how you get it done!

I personally use that thing with their address, but I go one step further. I rattle off the address of the collector and ask is this a good address to serve your summons?

Total silence. Then a dial tone.
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#10 Author of original report

Associated Recovery Systems-lying thieves!

AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

Okay, guys, thanks for all of your helpful information. I am still a little freaked out, afraid they won't send the release letter, but I have worked with my bank to fix this. The bank returned my $750 payment and 11 of the NSF fees. Since I still owe ARS that last $750 payment, I called them back to make my last payment today so I can be done with them.
I got the same little snot Chris Ruiz and the same snotty attitude I encountered yesterday. Instead of yelling at him, I simply stated that I was in possession of the very first letter from ARS that read that if I did not make payment immediately, a settlement offer would be rescinded. I also told him that I was fully aware of the class action lawsuit pending against their company for this very reason (California is where the class action lawsuit is filed) and that if they continued to threaten me (saying the settlement deal had been voided because of the delay of my last payment) and refuse to send a release letter, I would have no choice but to file a lawsuit in my own state and I, personally, would seek out every single person that ARS has harassed in my state to bring them in on the lawsuit.

I also told him that I could no longer have any dealings with this company and the release letter and all further communication would have to take place via my attorney. This shut Chris Ruiz up fast. Suddenly, he was Mr. Sunshine, agreeing to send a release letter and to accept my last payment even though it was "late."
Because of some unforseen financial difficulties, I have a lot of stuff in collections. Thanks to you guys, I now know that I don't have to pay them a cent. I would rather pay the original creditor because that is who I owe, not some disgusting, parasitic debt collector who, historially, is the most hated person in society.

I still might sue this company. What they put me through was uncalled for and according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1996, they violated at least 4 of the big no-no's and I have proof to back all of this up with their letters, constant phone calls ( I saved them all!) and my bank statements where they took a payment out before the agreed upon date.
I still got hit with some overdraft charges, but not many and I can handle it. Again, thanks to all of you for helping me through this and realizing my rights as a human being.

PS-I know this was very foolish, but it felt so good. I simply reminded Chris Ruiz that he wasn't as anonymous as he thinks he is and while he might be sitting there with all of my information in front of him, I was sitting here with all of his information in front of ME and I recited his current address (Oh, how I love the Internet!) I told him it might behoove him to think twice before he terrorizes the next person with his relentless harassment, threats and insults. There was a full 10 seconds of silence before he stammered "Are you threatening me?" I told him no, I was just offering up some friendly advice because the next person he terrorizes might be a psychopath bent on revenge. I ended the call with a "have a nice day," and exactly 12 minutes later, a release letter was faxed to my attorney's office. I might be a country girl from a farm in WV, but I am more than ready to take these blood sucking parasites on! Thanks guys!
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Clarification for Dave-Jacksonville

AUTHOR: Steve [Not A Lawyer] - (U.S.A.)


Most of what you said was good except for the paying the original creditor thing. That does not work. Here's why.

1. If the debt was SOLD, and the original creditor then accepts a payment, it is fraud and can even be larceny. They have no right to the debt anymore. they SOLD it!

2. If the debt was assigned to a collection agency, there is usually a contract for so many days/weeks/months to collect on it. If the original creditor takes a payment, they are violating the contract they have with the collection agency.

Bottom line is, you do not have a choice of who to pay. You either pay the collector, or pay nobody.

I'll never pay any third party collector. There is no reason to. It will never do anything positive for you at all. Just let the SOL run out and be done with it.

Stay off the phone!!
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Release letter

AUTHOR: Don - (U.S.A.)

First, the release letter. First, most states including West Virginia do not have a state law that requires a release letter to be sent. However, I am not sure as to why they will not send one if the payment was made.

Now for the early withdrawl of funds. I believe all collection agencies have to send a letter called a post date compliance letter. This letter details how much the payment is set for, and for what date. Did you receive such a letter? If so, what date did it show? For example if you have a letter showing that $750 will come out on Dec 25, and they took the money on Dec 22 (without your approval, as some people do change arrangements), there should be no problem getting your NSF fees taken care of.

There is no excuse for verbal abuse, or physical threats from anyone.
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#13 Author of original report

Associated Recovery Systems THEIVES!

AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

Oh no! Is there anything I can do? I've already paid them in full, my last payment was on the 30th of December (that was the one they took out prematurely).
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#14 Consumer Suggestion

Sarah, ALWAYS get it in writing!!

AUTHOR: Steve [Not A Lawyer] - (U.S.A.)


If you had the payment arrangement in WRITING you would not have this problem, and they would be liable for your NSF fees.

This is why you never speak to any debt collector on the phone, and also why you never give them your banking information. NEVER!!

And, that extra $4000 they added onto your original defaulted debt with Citibank was ILLEGAL!! They can only collect the original default amount plus interest as regulated by law.

You need to send them a written request for an itemization of charges and a statement showing all payments you made.

Do this by certified mail, return reciept requested. be sure to put the certified# on the letter itself and keep a copy for your records.
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#15 Consumer Suggestion

Boy did you screw up

AUTHOR: Dave - (U.S.A.)

1. You should NEVER deal with a collection agency. If you want to pay the card off, pay the original creditor.

2. They cannot legally charge $4000 in fees. You just paid them money to take your money.

3. Depending on when the debt was charged off, you may not have to pay them anything. The Statute of Limitations is anywhere from 3 to 5 years depending on the state you lived in at the time.

4. If #3 is correct, you just paid the collection agency thousands of dollars for a debt they bought for about $2.00

5. NEVER NEVER NEVER deal with a collection agency except to demand proof of the debt and cease communications (in writing, certified, return receipt)
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