Phoenix Bankruptcy Law News

November 2011 Archives

Census: Poverty Rates of Arizona Counties, Children Increase

Not surprising to many, recently-released statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that 2010 was a particularly harsh year for the Grand Canyon State, for Arizona's counties and for the state's children.

The poverty levels for almost all of Arizona's counties increased, reports the TucsonSentinel.com. Poverty levels rose as high as 34.5 percent in Apache County, and six counties saw "statistically significant increases" with Santa Cruz County seeing the largest increase, at 7 percent.

Santa Cruz County officials did not state a specific reason for the increase, but mentioned several possible causes such as a lack of education and proficiency in English.

American Airlines' Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy Protection

The skies may no longer be friendly to American Airlines. The nation’s third-largest airline and its parent company, AMR Corporation, announced on Tuesday that they are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reports the Associated Press.

Along with American Airlines, AMR Corp. owns American Eagle, its regional airline operation. Both subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Black Friday Sales Up, High Cyber Monday Sales Expected

If Black Friday sales are a reliable indication of future spending patterns, online shopping is the new black, and Cyber Monday will start to overshadow its Friday cousin.

Retailers were probably extra thankful this Thanksgiving weekend with Black Friday sales up nearly 7 percent, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. In comparison, 2010 only saw a slight 0.3 percent increase from 2009.

Although the increase in spending wasn’t a surprise, the amount may surpass economic experts’ expectations. The National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales will increase nearly 3 percent this year to $465.6 billion, according to The Daily Courier.

Performance Bracelet Manufacturer Power Balance Files for Bankruptcy

The rubber band with the hologrammed PB around your wrist was supposed to make you stronger, more flexible and more balanced. With support from athletes such as Scottsdale's own pro golfer Ricky Barnes, Power Balance LLC's bracelets practically flew off the shelves.

However, the Orange County company's claims resulted in numerous lawsuits alleging misleading advertising, and forcing it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reports The Orange County Register.

Over Black Friday? AZ Businesses Offer 'Small Business Saturday'

Does the thought of lining up during the wee hours of the night to fight hundreds of people over the last discounted big screen TV give you more nausea than thrills? Fear not, Phoenix consumer. Local Arizona businesses have teamed up to present “Small Business Saturday,” a day in which retailers will offer discounts and deals to encourage you to shop locally, reports azfamily.com.

“Small Business Saturday” takes place on Saturday, Nov. 26, the day after Black Friday, and it doesn’t just include Arizona businesses. The event is a national movement created by American Express to help small shops compete with larger competitors. It is in its second year.

Three Things to Know About Black Friday 2011

It has become an American pastime - thousands of brave souls heading out into the bleak, winter cold after stuffing their bellies with turkey and cranberry sauce in order to score a few deals on electronics and toys.

Black Friday 2011 - the ultimate consumer scavenger hunt and the bane of every retail employee’s existence. Here are three things you should know about the biggest shopping day of the year before you head out into the cold:

More Arizonans Turning to Food Stamps, Food Banks for Help

With Phoenix’s recent recognition as one of the worst metro areas for food hardships in 2010, and Census numbers reporting that more than one-fifth of Arizonans are living poverty, it’s no surprise that both Phoenicians and Arizonans in general have been turning towards food bank organizations and the government for help in putting food on the table.

The TucsonSentinel.com reports that more than 17 percent of the state’s population are receiving food assistance from the government. Approximately 1.1 million Arizonans are reportedly on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The number represents a 7.2 percent increase over the past year.

Cyber Monday Safety: Protect Your Information from Identity Theft

Black Friday has become as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey and stuffing. But with the advent of online shopping, companies have made “Cyber Monday” even more enticing than lining up at the crack of dawn for that big-screen TV deal. In honor of “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year,” we provide you with tips to make sure it’s also not the biggest identity theft opportunity of the year.

Even if you are not the most computer savvy of your friends, you can still take simple steps to protect your identity when shopping online. Although you can’t be 100 percent protected from online hackers, you should make every effort to keep your information secure:

1 in 4 Would Commit Financial Infidelity: Why You Should Resist

Phoenix couples beware: your significant other could be cheating on you — financially, that is. A new survey released by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling discovered that 1 in 4 married people were willing to commit financial infidelity, reports Time.

Approximately 24 percent of Americans said they would not tell their spouse if they were experiencing financial difficulties, according to the study. Survey respondents’ reasons were varied: some didn’t want to worry their partner, while others feared it would hurt or end their relationship.

Major Phoenix-area Cities See Increase in Sales-Tax Collections

With the exception of Mesa, every major city in the Phoenix area has seen a significant increase in sales-tax collections thus far in 2011, reports The Arizona Republic. The increase is a positive sign for municipal budgets and the overall economic outlook for the Valley.

The jump in sales-tax revenue is reportedly driven by an increase in consumer spending. Phoenix had the most significant jump at 16.4 percent, but other cities such as Scottsdale, Chandler and Glendale saw similar growth. Only Mesa, who saw falling retail revenue, didn’t follow the trend.

Publisher Lee Enterprises Headed Towards Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

With the slow demise of the printed word comes news of further financial troubles for newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises. The company reported losses in the 4th-quarter, which could be the harbinger of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing given its crushing billion dollar debt, reports the TucsonSentinel.com.

The Iowa-based company's operating revenue fell 3.3 percent which translates into an $8.8 million loss for the quarter. Given its current $1.1 billion debt, the down revenue could be seen as the company's failure to stem the bleeding.

Better Business Bureau Warns Veterans about Financial Scams

On the day that the nation honors the men and women who have served in the United States military, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is warning veterans that they may still be targets, reports the Tucson Sentinel. This time, however, they're marked by scam artists instead of enemy forces.

The scams usually target elderly veterans and are directed towards stealing financial information. Scams can range from posing as an official from the Veterans Administration who wants to update their personal information with the VA to offering "instant approval" military loans.

How the NBA Lockout Could Help the Phoenix Coyotes, Hockey

If you look at various rankings of which sports are the most popular in the United States, a reasonable estimate of the top three would probably be: football, basketball, baseball. Hockey, on the other hand, would probably rank somewhere after college sports, NASCAR and soccer.

With no end in sight to the NBA lockout, however, there is a very real chance that the only major professional sport on television in February will be hockey. And hockey teams like the Phoenix Coyotes are looking to benefit off the dearth of games, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Phoenix Bankrupcy Filings Down in 2011; Follow National Trend

Phoenix consumers and companies are reportedly seeing a slight reprieve from the specter of bankruptcy despite a stubbornly sluggish economy, reports The Arizona Republic. The surprising numbers are following a national trend as bankruptcy filings continue to drop in 2011.

Metro Phoenix bankruptcy filings are down 13 percent compared with the first 10 months of 2010, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix. Statewide, bankruptcy filings are also down 13 percent for the year-to-date compared to last year.

Dippin' Dots Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Dippin’ Dots, creator of the “beaded” ice cream that resembles Styrofoam stuffing, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Paducah, Kentucky-based company submitted the Chapter 11 filing on Thursday night, along with a request to use cash collateral to continue its novelty ice cream-making operation. It currently operates 140 Dippin’ Dots retail locations, including the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe, and has agreements with 9,952 small vendors who sell the dots at fairs, festivals and sports games. I

Dippin’ Dots hasalso been a regular vendor at the annual Mighty Mud Mania held in Scottsdale, AZ.

'Bank Transfer Day' and Credit Unions: Should You Make the Switch?

If you were one of the reported 650,000 bank customers who switched to credit unions in the past month, you've already hopped on the credit union bandwagon and aren't looking back.

The move to cooperative associations and small community banks from big traditional banks has been spurred on by national events such as "Bank Transfer Day" and the uproar against planned bank fees, reports the Associated Press.

Top 5 Renters' Rights When Renting Foreclosed Homes

You've been a good tenant and have always made your rent payments on time. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to help your landlord make his mortgage payments and now the property's being foreclosed. In a city and state that's drowning in underwater mortgages, this scenario is not uncommon.

What are your rights if you're one of the many tenants renting foreclosed homes?

How Will NBA Lockout Affect Phoenix Businesses?

It’s the beginning of November, and the sight of ten freakishly tall men battling for control of an orange ball is nowhere to be found on television. The arenas are empty, and the outlook is glum. The threat of no basketball for the rest of the season looms large over fans, but the NBA lockout is especially scary for local Phoenix businesses that depend on the season to bring customers, reports ABC15 News.

With the players’ union and owners bickering over salaries and other contract terms, the NBA lockout has already spilled into November, canceling the first month of games.

The 41 Phoenix Suns home games are big draws for downtown Phoenix businesses, especially arena employees and restaurants that compete to feed and slate the thirsts of fans before and after the games.

Consumer Opinion Triumphs in Bank Debit Card Fee Debacle

Consumer opinion won out in the end as big-name banks such as Bank of America Corp. announced they would not charge debit card fees due to the negative backlash, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Several banks had reported earlier that they would begin charging a monthly fee for the use of debit cards beginning in 2012. The increase in fees was reportedly a response to recent laws affecting the banks ability to charge retailers for debit card purchases. Banks began implementing plans to roll over upfront costs to consumers through the monthly fees.

Holiday Layaway Programs: Holiday Shopping Tool or Money Trap?

The holiday season is upon us, which means stores are preparing for the holiday shopping rush and you are probably looking at your depleted bank account with less-than-seasonal cheer. This year, however, ABC15 News reports that stores are planning to bring back or continue holiday layaway programs designed to help you buy those expensive gifts your friend or family member desperately needs.

But are layaways the holiday miracle you were hoping for, or are they money traps in disguise?

Holiday layaway programs allow consumers to immediately pick up hot items in stores but defer payments over a weekly basis until Christmas. The layaway program has become popular recently due to the financial crisis, and more and more stores have begun offering layaway programs to their customers as an alternative to using credit cards.