Portfolio Recovery Associates or PRA Group is a debt collection agency, which receives a lot of consumer complaints to our law firm for debt harassment. Find out who they are, why they might be calling, and how you can stop them.
What is Portfolio Recovery Associates?
Portfolio Recovery Associates , LLC or PRA Group is a debt purchaser and third-party debt collection agency based in Virginia. PRA has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), such as using false or misleading information in an effort to collect a debt and failing to provide written verification of debts. If PRA Group has contacted you about delinquent collection items, make sure you understand your rights before you respond.
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Is Portfolio Recovery Associates a scam?
They’re legit. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC was founded in March 1996 and incorporated in April 1996. The BBB established a profile page for PRA in December 1996, and PRA has been a BBB-accredited business since then. The BBB lists Portfolio Recovery Associates as a collection agency that uses the alternate business names, PRA III, LLC and Anchor Receivables Management. Buzzfile estimates PRA’s annual revenue at $56.1 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 320 employees, with an estimated 520 total employees across all locations.
According to its website, PRA “is one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, … employing more than 5,000 people across the Americas and Europe. Since its inception, PRA… has …offered… customers solutions for resolving their debt with a focus on treating customers fairly and with respect.” PRA states that it does not “charge junk fees” or “sell…customer accounts to anyone else.” PRA is “committed to helping …customers resolve …outstanding debt and to designing…payment plans that fit their budgets.”
Who does Portfolio Recovery Associates collect for?
Portfolio Recovery Associates collects delinquent debts for financial services companies such as banks and credit unions, as well as many retail businesses that offer credit. Unlike many third-party collection agencies that collect debts for creditors that still own and control the consumers’ accounts, PRA is a debt purchaser. When PRA contacts consumers regarding a delinquent debt, it “means the bank or creditor has made a business decision to sell the debt. The right to collect the account has been transferred to PRA, the company to which the consumer now owes the debt.”
The PRA website does not provide a lot of detailed information about their business practices. Instead, most of this information is presented in question-and-answer form on the Frequently Asked Questions page, which provides information about how to make payments to PRA and PRA’s policy for reporting delinquent items to the credit reporting agencies.
PRA states that it “strives to provide professional and courteous service to all… customers.” PRA cites membership in the Receivables Management Association (RMA), and their home page provides contact information for their Compliance Officer. However, there are no 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.
How many complaints are there against Portfolio Recovery Associates – PRA Group?
As of December 2019, the BBB has closed a staggering 1,342 complaints against Portfolio Recovery Associates in the preceding 3 years, with 351 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints cited problems with billing and collections, although many complaints also cited problems with customer service and sales.As of February 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 11,691 complaints involving PRA. Justia lists at least 20 cases of civil litigation involving PRA.
Can Portfolio Recovery Associates Sue Me or Garnish My Wages?
It is illegal for a debt collector to make empty threats to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely PRA 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!
In 2018, Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC was on the receiving end of a proposed class action lawsuit that claims it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by implying in a collection letter that consumer debt disputes must be submitted in writing. The letter allegedly contained a “DISPUTES CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS,” which provided a physical address to which the plaintiff could mail disputes. The suit argues that the address would mislead the unsophisticated consumer into thinking he or she may only submit disputes in writing rather than over the phone as provided by the FDCPA.
Here are some Press Releases of Lawsuits Brought On By Lemberg Law against PRA
February 4, 2017. On behalf of our client, Lemberg Law filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan. The case, against Portfolio Recovery Associates , charges the debt collection agency with violating federal law and asks for $1,000 in statutory damages, plus other relief.
Owing a debt is tough. Owing a debt that you can’t pay is worse. Our client says that Portfolio Recovery Associates called him, and that he told the debt collector that he couldn’t pay the debt because his only source of income was Social Security. Portfolio Recovery Associates called him a “deadbeat.” Fast forward five months, and our client says he again spoke to PRA and told the debt collector he wasn’t able to pay the debt. That time, he says that the debt collector said they would continue to call anyway. When our client told Portfolio Recovery Associates that he had hired Lemberg Law, he says that Portfolio Recovery Associates told him he should still pay the debt.
The lawsuit charges that Portfolio Recovery Associates violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt; and by using abusive language.
February 2, 2017. Owing a debt is bad enough without broadcasting the information to your friends and loved ones. Our client tells us that Portfolio Recovery Associates contacted her fiance in an attempt to collect the debt from her. Portfolio Recovery Associates disclosed that the call was an attempt to collect a debt, and demanded that her fiance make a payment. Needless to say, our client was embarrassed and stressed.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, charges that Portfolio Recovery Associates violated the FDCPA by engaging in harassing behavior; by communicating with a third party about the debt, and by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt. The suit asks for $1,000 in statutory damages, plus other relief.
January 30, 2017. On behalf of our client, Lemberg Law filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina. The case, against Portfolio Recovery Associates, charges the debt collection agency with violating federal law and asks for $1,000 in statutory damages, plus other relief.
Imagine trying to explain to a debt collector that you can’t afford to pay the bill. Then imagine them calling your parents’ house and telling them about your debt! That’s what our client says happened when Portfolio Recovery Associates called her and she told them that she was having financial problems and couldn’t repay the debt. She says that PRA kept calling her, and then called her folks and left a voicemail saying that the debt collection agency was trying to reach her in order to collect a debt.
The lawsuit charges that Portfolio Recovery Associates violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt; and by telling third parties about the debt.
Portfolio Recovery Associates PRA Calling You?
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 PRA Group 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.
“We were so impressed with how the attorney listened to us and understood the position we were in. Thank you for stopping the calls. The check was a nice bonus, but mostly we’re glad we’re not being hounded anymore.”
“Lemberg Law contacted me within a couple of hours of me submitting my info on their site. That same day Daniel emailed me instructions on what to do the next time the collection agency called. Within a week, the calls had stopped. Today marks week 2 and we’ve not had a call in three days. I can’t say thank you enough.”
“I can’t praise your service enough. I was lost and just really wanted my credit report cleaned up. You have gone beyond my expectations. Thanks again!”
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About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.