Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit? — How to Win

George Simons

August 17, 2020

If you are the swimmer, and Portfolio Recovery Associates is the gator, then SoloSuit is the Elbow-Drop Guy.

Summary: Sued for a debt by Portfolio Recovery Associates? This guide is for you. Use SoloSuit to respond in 15 minutes.

Receiving repeated phone calls and threatening letters from a debt collection company like Portfolio Recovery Associates likely means you are feeling stressed out and anxious about your financial future. This is understandable. Most people do not expect to receive harassing phone calls and letters from an intimidating and overly aggressive debt collection company.

If you find yourself in this situation, do not succumb to the harassment. It is important to remember that you have legal rights and protections when it comes to dealing with a debt collector like Portfolio Recovery Associates. There are also certain defenses you can raise if Portfolio Recovery Associates has sued you to try and collect on an alleged delinquent debt. These affirmative defenses could position you to prevail over the debt collector in court.

What is Portfolio Recovery Associates and Why are They Suing Me?

Many people are taken aback when they are served with a collections lawsuit and see the plaintiff listed as “Portfolio Recovery Associates.” The surprise is likely based on the fact that they have never heard of this debt collection company and have no memory of making a purchase or taking out a loan with Portfolio Recovery Associates. If you have no idea who or what Portfolio Recovery Associates is, you are not alone. Many delinquent debts are packaged, sold and resold to multiple third parties, including purchasers of delinquent debts like Portfolio Recovery Services. To help provide some insight into this debt collection company, here is some general info on their operation:

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC was formed almost 25 years ago, specifically in 1996 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They are one of the largest debt collection companies in the United States and also collect debts under alternate business names like “PRA III, LLC” and “Anchor Receivables Management.”

Since it was formed in 1996, Portfolio Recovery Associates has developed a reputation as an aggressive debt collection company that routinely deploys questionable and unethical collection practices. For example, many consumers have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleging serious violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). For example, consumers have highlighted the use of false or misleading information in an effort to collect on delinquent debts and Portfolio Recovery Services neglecting to provide written verification of the outstanding debt that is being pursued.

Questionable Debt Collection Tactics Commonly Used by Portfolio Recovery Associates

Below is a general overview of some of the highly questionable and troubling tactics used by debt collectors working on behalf Portfolio Recovery Associates when contacting consumers:

  • Using inappropriate and profane language during phone calls
  • Calling consumers prior to 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
  • Making baseless threats such as claiming they can “destroy” your credit or that they can arrest you for breaking the law
  • Calling consumers at their place of work
  • Contacting consumers multiple times per day or per week

If you were contacted by Portfolio Recovery Associates and were subjected to some, or all, of these questionable tactics, you may be able to take legal action against the company and obtain monetary damages.

You Have Rights and Protections Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

As mentioned earlier, consumers have the ability to turn the proverbial table and take legal action against a debt collector. The statutory mechanism affording consumers the ability to initiate legal action is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal law enacted in 1977 with the objective of protecting consumers from being harassed and threatened by debt collectors who were using abusive and unethical tactics to try and extract payments for delinquent debts. Under the FDCPA, a consumer possesses the following rights and legal protections:

  • Dispute a debt and request no further contact from a collection agency
  • Tell the debt collector not to call them at work if such calls are not permitted by the employer
  • Request proof that a debt exists and the collector is authorized to request payment
  • Be represented by an attorney in a debt resolution case

Advice for Beating Portfolio Recovery Associates in Court

If you are sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates, you probably want insight and advice on how to prevail in court. Fortunately, there are certain actions you can take to position yourself for victory in court. For example, simply responding to the Complaint will set you apart from most consumers.

Debt collection lawsuits generally begin when the debt collector (i.e. Portfolio Recovery Associates) filing a formal Summons and Complaint alleging you owe a specific amount of money (i.e. the unpaid debt). The vast majority of consumers opt to ignore the Complaint and do nothing. This is a big mistake since it means Portfolio Recovery Associates will simply file a motion requesting the Court enter a default judgment against you. If the Court grants the default judgment, Portfolio Recovery Associates will be empowered to take the following actions against you:

  • Garnish your wages
  • Take money from your checking account
  • Place a lien on your personal property (e.g., car)

SoloSuit makes it simple to respond to a debt lawsuit the right way.

Do not let this happen to you. Take action and file a formal response to the Complaint. In your response, take the time to highlight some of the glaring deficiencies and shortcomings in Portfolio Recovery Associates's lawsuit. For example, you should request that Portfolio Recovery Associates produce evidence (e.g., documents) showing the following basic information:

  1. You are the person in fact responsible for repaying the alleged debt;
  2. Portfolio Recovery Associates possesses the right to take legal action against you; and
  3. You owe the specific amount listed in the Complaint

Requesting evidence to establish these basic facts is important because it is not uncommon for these large debt collection companies to sue the wrong person or to lack basic financial documents that show you actually owe the alleged debt.

If applicable, you should also consider the expiration of the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. The statute of limitations is essentially the amount of time someone has to take legal action against another person or company. If the facts of your case indicate that Portfolio Recovery Associates filed a lawsuit after the expiration of the statute of limitations, you could file a motion to have the debt collection lawsuit dismissed. SoloSuit can help you navigate this process and in completing the necessary documents that should be filed with the court.

With SoloSuit you can make the right affirmative defenses the right way.

Need Help? Use SoloSuit

SoloSuit helps demystify the process of responding to a debt collection lawsuit, including lawsuits filed by Portfolio Recovery Associates. Here is how it typically works - you access SoloSuit, which is a dynamic, step-by-step web-app. When you are in the app, you will be asked specific questions. Once you answer these questions, you can either print the completed legal documents and mail the hard copies to the court or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

If you or a loved one need help responding to a debt collection lawsuit, including a lawsuit filed by Portfolio Recovery Associates, utilize the services available through SoloSuit. What is SoloSuit? Take a moment to review these FAQs to learn more.

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Overview of What You Should Do If You are Taken to Court by Portfolio Recovery Associates

Here is a general summary of what to do if you are sued by a debt collection company like Portfolio Recovery Associates:

  • Do not admit liability for the alleged debt since the burden is on the debt collector to establish that you in fact are responsible for the amount owed.
  • Be sure you file your Answer to the Complaint within the time period provided by the Court (in debt collection cases, you typically have between 20 and 30 days to file a response).
  • In your Answer responding to the Complaint, make sure you raise any applicable affirmative defenses (e.g., the statute of limitations) and demand that the debt collection company prove that you are responsible for the specific amount owed. These are examples of the types of strategies you can use to defeat Portfolio Recovery Associates in court.

Good Luck!

More Resources to Help You Understand Debt Collection and the Litigation Process

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