Summary: How to remove Portfolio Recovery collections agency from your credit report and your life.
Have you recently noticed a negative item on your credit report showing up as Portfolio Recovery or Portfolio RC, or have you gotten a phone call or a letter from them asking for money?
The first thing you’re probably wondering is ‘Is Portfolio Recovery Associates legit?‘
Unfortunately, they are. They are a legit collections company and you need to take their calls or letters seriously.
If you don’t respond to collections companies, they can take you to court and garnish your wages to pay your debt! And according to many comments we’ve read, Portfolio Recovery is one of the toughest collections companies to deal with.
But how do you make them stop calling, should you pay Portfolio Recovery, and most importantly, how do you resolve the debt and remove them from your credit report?
Let’s get to that now.
What is Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC?
Remember that credit card bill you didn’t pay? The bank kept calling, you kept avoiding the call, and then…it suddenly stopped.
You breathed a cautious sigh of relief, hoping they finally gave up on you.
Well, they sort of did.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. If a creditor isn’t getting anywhere with trying to collect a debt, they eventually “charge it off”.
And what does that mean?
It means they sell the debt to a collection agency. They get some money for their trouble, and the collection agency becomes responsible for getting payment.
That’s what Portfolio Recovery or Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC is— they are a collections agency.
They’ve paid money to buy your debt, and you better believe they’ll try their hardest to make you pay so they can turn a profit.
PR often buys debt from Capital One, Comenity Bank and others. Here’s what a letter from them might look like. A legit letter from PR typically includes the following:
- Who they acquired your debt from
- The amount of your original unpaid debt
- Typically will include a settlement amount (for less than your unpaid balance)
- Includes Portfolio Recovery’s phone number, address, and website
Should I Pay Portfolio Recovery Associates?
PRA will use every means possible to collect the debt from you, including harassing phone calls, letters, and even lawsuits.
Of course, this means your credit report now says you owe money to Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC or PRA, LLC.
This is a nasty red flag that hurts your credit score. You want to banish it as soon as possible.
If you’re wondering if you should pay Portfolio Recovery, in many instances it does make a LOT of sense, especially if they’re offering a settlement agreement.
But before you decide to pay them, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
- How old is your debt? If it’s 5 to 6 years old, it may not make sense to pay them off. The statute of limitations in your state may be nearly up, which would mean they can no longer sue you. The debt will fall off your credit report after 7 years.
- Are you sure the debt is really yours? We cover this below. If they can’t prove it’s yours, they must delete if from your record
- Make sure any agreement is in writing that they’ll delete the record from your credit report before you pay it
One of the nice things about paying Portfolio Recovery is they provide an online login for you to follow your debts along with them and make sure everything is in good standing, as you see below:
What Can I Do?
If you’re hearing from Portfolio Recovery Associates – or any collection agency – there are things that you can (and should) do. There are also two things that you should not do:
- Don’t Panic. It won’t help.
- Don’t ignore the situation. That won’t help either. They won’t go away.
That’s what you shouldn’t do, but what should you do?
Here’s where to start.
1. Know Your Rights
The rights of debtors and the obligations of debt collectors are spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Here are some key points.
- A debt collector cannot call you before 8AM or after 9PM.
- A debt collector cannot call your place of employment.
- If you have a lawyer, the collector must communicate with your lawyer.
- A debt collector may not communicate with your friends or family members or tell them about your debts.
- Debt collectors cannot threaten to harm you, your reputation, or your property, or use profane language.
- Debt collectors must identify themselves and the company they represent. They cannot claim to be law enforcement or other officials.
- A debt collector cannot threaten you with imprisonment or seizure of assets.
For a full review of your rights under the FDCPA see this summary from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
2. Validate and Verify the Debt
A debt collector must supply the following information to you within five days of the first time they contact you.
- The amount you owe.
- The name of the creditor.
- A notice that you have 30 days to dispute the debt.
This is called debt validation and the information is usually contained in a debt validation letter.
If you do not dispute the debt within 30 days, it is presumed valid. Always dispute debts. To dispute the account you will send a debt verification letter. Send the debt collector a certified letter asking for the following.
- How much you owe.
- The name and address of the original creditor.
- Proof that you owe the debt.
- The date of the original debt.
- Proof that the collector has legal standing to pursue collection efforts in your state.
Send the letter to Portfolio Recovery Associates by certified mail.
Remember the difference between a debt validation letter, which the collection agency sends to you, and a debt verification letter, which you send to them.
Once you receive the debt validation letter you have 30 days to send your debt verification letter.
Remember that even if you know the debt is yours, the more important issue is whether they know it’s yours.
Because guess what?
If they can’t prove it’s yours, they can’t report it to the credit bureaus.
They might not be able to come up with that proof. Remember, Portfolio Recovery Services purchased your debt, in bulk with a bunch of other debt, from the original creditor.
Who knows what was lost in the shuffle?
The onus is on them to provide proof. If they can’t, they’re required by law to remove it from your credit report.
Remember the Statute of Limitations
Always check the date of the debt against the statute of limitations in your state. If the statute of limitations has expired, the collector cannot pursue legal action against you.
The statute of limitations clock begins on the date when the debt was first reported as delinquent.
Remember that making a payment or acknowledging that the debt is yours can restart the statute of limitations.
The expiry of the statute of limitations will not remove an account from your credit record. If the statute of limitations has expired or will expire soon there’s a good chance that the seven-year period of appearance on your credit record is also nearly up.
If the statute of limitations is nearly up your best bet might be to just wait it out.
Stop Calls from Portfolio Recovery NOW
You could get as many as 15 calls per day, according to a Consumer Credit Card Market Report.
That’s way too many.
But you can’t just call them and ask them to stop.
Follow these simple steps to stop the calls.
- Write a “stop contact” or “cease” letter telling them to stop contacting you.
- Make a copy for yourself and mail the original to Portfolio Recovery Services.
- To prove you sent the letter, send it by certified mail with “return receipt requested.”
Make sure you follow these exact steps.
If you do, the National Consumer Law Center states, “the collector can only acknowledge the letter and notify you about legal steps the collector may take.”
When you stop the phone calls, you get some breathing room. Remember that you still owe the debt, and the collector can take legal action.
Then you can tackle the next step.
4. Contest the Debt With the Credit Bureaus
If you believe that you do not owe the debt or that the collection agency has failed to validate the debt, you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus. You will need to dispute the account separately with each credit bureau.
Credit Reporting Bureau Mailing Addresses
|P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374-0256||P.O. Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013||P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016-2000|
You can also dispute it online:
The credit bureau must investigate and verify your debt. If they cannot, they must remove it from your credit record.
Remember that even if the debt is removed from your credit record, the collection agency can still pursue collection efforts.
Get Your FREE Credit Dispute Letter Template
Get our winning dispute letter, plus free tips to help you boost your credit
5. Settle With A Pay For Delete Agreement
While occasionally the collection debt isn’t yours, most of the time, it is. If that’s the case, a settlement is one way to resolve the situation.
Remember that debt collectors pay, on average, 4 cents for every dollar of debt that they buy. That gives you room to negotiate. A collector can accept less than you owe and still make a profit.
An article from U.S. News & World Report found that collection agencies will settle for between 40-60% of the balance – which could mean thousands of dollars saved.
You might offer 10% of your balance to see what they say.
They’ll probably ask for more, but don’t let them push you around. With a little negotiation, you can reach an agreement you’re comfortable with.
Pay for Delete
A collection agency may agree to remove your account from your credit record if you settle your debt. This is called a “pay for delete” arrangement.
When you discuss a settlement, ask the collection agency representative if they will delete your record if you pay. Send a formal “pay for delete letter” to confirm the arrangement and ask for a written commitment.
Remember that you cannot compel a credit bureau to remove a legitimate account from your record. It will be recorded as paid, but it may remain on your credit report for seven years from the date when the account first became delinquent.
A pay-for-delete arrangement is a gamble. It may not work, but it’s worth trying. If the settlement is accepted you will no longer have to deal with the collection agency, and that’s a big plus.
You’ll know if it works when your accounts are removed from your credit report like this account was removed from Equifax:
Be sure to get your Portfolio Recovery settlement offer in writing as there has been many complaints filed against them for saying one thing and doing the other.
Portfolio Recovery Complaints
Are you having trouble working with Portfolio Recovery?
I spend a lot of time in collections Facebook groups where people complain that PR is hard to deal with. The chief complaint is that they do not delete your negative item from your credit report after you pay!
Notice this exchange:
As you can see, the conversation is from 2017, so it’s a bit dated, but you’ll see two people who were able to successfully get their accounts deleted. The other two comments are Portfolio Recovery complaints that they will not budge on deleting the accounts, even with a PTD (pay to delete letter).
I should emphasize it is now PR’s practice (as stated on their site) that they automatically delete paid collections, so you shouldn’t have this trouble anymore.
Portfolio Recovery Lawsuit
PR has a long history of aggressively using any tactic necessary to collect their debt, including lawsuits.
If you find yourself in a Portfolio Recovery Associates Lawsuit it is essential to respond to the complaint.
Failure to respond to the Portfolio Recovery complaints or go to court will result in a summary judgment being levied against you. This judgment can be used to garnish your wages and even (in some states) seize your assets..
Important! Read up on what to do if you get sued by a debt collector to make sure you take all the right steps.
However, Portfolio Recovery LLC has had its own share of lawsuits filed against them for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
A Portfolio Recovery Associates class action lawsuit seems to be filed every couple of months in different states against them for TCPA violations.
The TCPA protects consumers from a laundry list of predatory practices, such as, continuing to make collection calls to someone who has requested all communications to be in writing.
Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC has lost multiple lawsuits in the past couple of years due to violations of the TCPA.
“Under the TCPA, business entities who call consumers without their consent can be liable for up to $1,500 per violation.” According to Top Class Actions.
Portfolio Recovery Associates Refund Check
If you have been involved in one of the many class action Portfolio Recovery lawsuits, then you may be expecting a refund check.
These checks are actually settlements from the Portfolio Recovery Associates lawsuit, technically they are not refunds.
Keep up with your member class on Facebook to find out when your Portfolio Recovery Associates refund check or settlement check will be in the mail.