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How to Win a Portfolio Recovery Associates Debt Lawsuit

George Simons | December 06, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: If you've been sued for a debt by Portfolio Recovery Associates, use SoloSuit to respond in just 15 minutes and win your lawsuit.

It's a terrible feeling to be served with a lawsuit from a debt collector. Yet, the worst thing you could do is ignore the lawsuit in the vain hope that it will all somehow go away. What you need to do if you receive a lawsuit from Portfolio Recovery Associates, or some other debt collector, is make them prove their case.

Why do that? Because, most times, debt collection companies like Portfolio Recovery Associates won't be able to prove their case at all.

It's true! You may assume that just because Portfolio Recovery Associates went through the trouble of filing a lawsuit they have the necessary paperwork to back up the suit -- think again.

More often than not, collectors like Portfolio Recovery Associates use a lawsuit as an intimidation tactic, but they lack the documentation to actually follow through with their case when someone calls them on it. Thus, even if you believe that you owe something, make sure that you respond to the lawsuit and demand proof of the amount they claim you owe.

In this article, we will talk a little about Portfolio Recovery Associates' track record. But, more importantly, we will tell you how you can easily respond to their lawsuit and demand proof for their claims. Fight back, and you will be able to beat Portfolio Recovery Associates at their own game. With the help of SoloSuit, you will have the information you need to demand that Portfolio Recovery Associates proves their case in court.

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Portfolio Recovery Associates is legit—here's their address and phone number to prove it

Portfolio Recovery Associates is a debt collection company based in Virginia with about 320 employees, and an annual revenue at about $56 million. It uses several business names in addition to Portfolio Recovery Associates, including PRA III, and Anchor Receivables Management.

If you are trying to reach Portfolio Recovery Associates, you can use the contact information below:

Address:
Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
120 Corporate Boulevard
Norfolk, VA 23502

Phone number:
1-800-772-1413

Website:
https://www.portfoliorecovery.com/prapay/help/contact-us

Portfolio Recovery Associates doesn't have great reviews

Portfolio Recovery Associates seems to fit the stereotype of a classic debt collection company. They are a legitimate business, yet they have thousands of complaints made against them related to aggressive, unscrupulous, and, in some cases, illegal tactics used to get debtors to pay. In fact, over the last three years alone, Portfolio Recovery has received nearly 1,500 consumer complaints on their profile with Better Business Bureau.

Further, Portfolio Recovery Associates does not originate loans or credit cards. Rather, they buy defaulted accounts from other banks and credit card companies. Thus, Portfolio Recovery Associates only buys a limited amount of information about your debt when they buy the defaulted account. The information they buy usually does not include the documentation needed to support a lawsuit against you in court.

Finally, Portfolio Recovery Associates has a reputation for filing lawsuits against debtors even when the debt is legally no longer recoverable, such as when the statute of limitations has already run on a particular debt.

Check the statute of limitations on your Portfolio Recovery debt

If your debt is so old that you've forgotten about it, there is a very good chance that it is past the statute of limitations on debt. The statute of limitations is the time frame that a collector, like Portfolio Recovery Associates, has to file a lawsuit to recover a debt. Let's explain.

A debt is past the statute of limitations if there has been no "activity" on the account for a certain amount of years. "Activity" can mean anything from making a payment to signing an payment agreement. Be careful: if you become active on an old account, you will restart the clock on the statute of limitations. Portfolio Recovery Associates knows this, and they will try to trick you into reactivating your old account by pressuring you to pay. For this reason, you should always check the last activity before paying anything.

The statute of limitations on debt is different in each state. This article lists the statute of limitations in each state.

Example: Joe lives in Texas and is being sued for an old credit card debt with Citibank. Portfolio Recovery Associates purchased the debt, and now they're coming after Joe to collect it. However, Joe hasn't purchased anything with his Citibank account or paid anything on it for more than 7 years. Since the statute of limitations on debt is 4 years in Texas, Portfolio Recovery Associates cannot take the case to court. In this example, Joe is basically off the hook. Joe can list this as an affirmative defense in his Answer to the lawsuit which will help him win the case.


You should investigate before you pay Portfolio Recovery Associates

Like we said, paying off an old debt can restart the clock on the statute of limitations. Additionally, the debt could be fradulent, or Portfolio Recovery might be claiming an incorrect amount. For these reasons, you should always investigate the debt before agreeing to make any payments.

A great way to investigate the debt is by sending a Debt Validation Letter to Portfolio Recovery Associates. Upon receiving this letter, Portfolio Recovery must provide you with debt an official debt verification statement that contains the following information:

  • The amount of the debt.
  • The name of the creditor.
  • The collector will assume the debt is valid unless the consumer sends them a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days.
  • If you send the collector a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you validation of the debt.
  • If you send them a Debt Validation Letter they will need to mail you the name and address of the original creditor.

When Portfolio Recovery Associates cannot validate a debt, it is illegal for them to continue collection efforts. Since Portfolio Recovery Associates is usually not the original owner of a debt, they probably don't have the necessary documentation to prove the debt is valid. This is why the Debt Validation Letter is such a powerful tool. In fact, many debt collection agencies give up after receiving such a letter. You can draft your own Debt Validation Letter with SoloSuit. To learn more about making a Debt Validation Letter, watch this video:

Example: Portfolio Recovery Associates keeps calling and emailing Maria about a credit card debt she owed with US Bank. They claim that Maria owes more than $15,000 on her account, but Maria doesn't remember using the card enough to owe that much. After some digging, Maria finds her old credit card statements and realizes that the correct amount was only around $1,500. Portfolio Recovery Associates mistakenly (or maybe intentionally) added a 0 to the debt amount. Maria can send a Debt Validation Letter to Portfolio Recovery Associates to get them to verify the exact amount with documentation as proof. It turns out that Portfolio Recovery doesn't have the contracts and other documnets needed to prove the debt is valid, so they stop collection efforts.


Now, how do you beat Portfolio Recovery Associates in court?

You may not have had time to request a debt validation before Portfolio Recovery Associates filed a lawsuit against you. If this is the case, we've still got you covered. As noted, the key to beating Portfolio Recovery Associates is to respond to the lawsuit. And the way you respond is by filing a document called an “Answer.” We'll discuss this later, but first, here are a few common mistakes you should avoid:

  • Waiting Until the Last Minute. You typically have only 10 to 30 days to file an Answer to a lawsuit, depending upon the State in which you reside. So, make sure that you respond quickly. A failure to respond means that Portfolio Recovery Associates will be able to get a legal judgment against you.
  • Saying Too Much. Your Answer to Portfolio Recovery Associates' Complaint should be short. All you need to do is “admit” or “deny” the facts stated in the Complaint. You do not want to write a narrative about your financial situation, or provide more information than is requested.
  • Responding to the Debt Collector By Phone. Never communicate with a debt collector on the phone. Every communication must be in writing so you can protect yourself.
  • Continuing to Pay. It happens frequently that a debt collector will file a lawsuit -- even though you are already on a payment plan for that debt. Not cool. If you are in that situation, then stop making payments, and write a letter to the debt collector stating the reason why -- because they sued you.
  • Admitting the Amount You Owe. Do not be so quick to assume that the debt collector's claim for a certain amount of money is the correct amount. When it comes to the amount listed in Complaint, make sure that you “deny” that paragraph, unless you are 100% certain that they are stating the correct amount. If you don't know, then you should “deny” the paragraph anyway.
  • Forgetting to Demand Proof. This is the biggest mistake. You don't know if Portfolio Recovery Associates is bluffing. Given their track record, that is highly likely. So, somewhere in your Answer, you need to demand verification for the amount they say you owe.

Respond to a Portfolio Recovery Associates lawsuit

If Portfolio Recovery has already filed a lawsuit against you, you should have received a court Summons and Complaint notifying you of the suit and listing all the specific claims against you. The first step to responding to a Portfolio Recovery Services lawsuit is to file a written Answer with the court.

You might think you have to hire an attorney to help you draft and file your Answer, but that's simply not true. Represent yourself with SoloSuit's help and make a free Answer in less than 15 minutes! Here are some tips for drafting a strong Answer (to learn more about these tips, check out the video below):

  1. The Answer isn't the place to tell your side of the story in detail: At this point in the case, the burden of proof is on Portfolio Recovery Associates' shoulders—not yours. You don't have to give an elaborate explanation of your side of the story in your Answer. In fact, doing so can actually weaken your case. All you have to do is briefly respond to each claim listed in the Complaint and watch Portfolio Recovery squirm to prove their side.
  2. Deny Deny Deny: Most attorneys recommend that you deny as many allegations as possible. This makes the burden of proof heavier for Portfolio Recovery Associates, and it makes them have to do more work to prove their case.
  3. Include defenses: Include a section for affirmative defenses in your Answer. An affirmative defense is any reason that Portfolio doesn't have a case (i.e. the debt is past the statute of limitations, the amount listed in the suit is incorrect, Portfolio harrassed you to get you pay, etc).
  4. Use standard formatting or “style”: Your Answer should look clean and professional, with standard margins and font size. It should be typed in black and white. It should also include a caption (kind of like a header) that has the court information, case title, and case number.
  5. Include certificate of service: This is a small statement at the end of the Answer document that declares you have sent a copy of the Answer to Portfolio Recovery's attorney. It should include the address of the court and the attorney that you sent everything to.
  6. Sign it: The court will reject your Answer if it doesn't have a signature on it. Some courts require a wet signature (not an electronic signature). SoloSuit can help you determine what type of signatures your court will accept.

After you've drafted your Answer and filed it with the court, make sure to print a copy and send it to Portfolio Recovery's attorney. Failing to do so can cost you big time (it might even result in a default judgment against you).

Example: Jimmy is sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates for debt in the California Superior Court. Even though Jimmy receives the court documents, he quickly realizes that he's being sued in a different county than the one in which he resides. Jimmy has 30 days to respond, otherwise Portfolio Recovery Associates can request that a defautl judgment be entered against him. Jimmy uses SoloSuit to prepare his Answer. He responds to the 18 allegations listed in the Complaint, making sure to deny each one. Jimmy also includes some powerful affirmative defenses (improper venue: he's being sued in the wrong county), and signs the document. SoloSuit files the Answer for him and sends a copy to Portfolio Recovery's attorneys with a certificate of service. Two months later, Jimmy finds out that Portfolio Recovery Associates is dismissing the case.


You can learn more about the Debt Validation Letter by watching this video:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an 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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Reach a settlement with Portfolio Recovery for a percentage of the original amount

You can reach out to Portfolio Recovery Associates to discuss settling at any time: before, during, even after the lawsuit. That being said, if you've already been sued, you should file your Answer before negotiating a settlement. Here's why.

It's pretty common for consumers to reach out to debt collection agencies like Portfolio Recovery Associates to try and reach a settlement after they've been sued. Collectors might negotiate and agree on a settlement, and you might think you're in the clear. This isn't always true. Some collectors are sneaky and agree to settlement, then file a default judgment against you when you don't respond in court. Because of this, you should always file your Answer in court before reaching a settlement.

That being said, reaching a settlement for a percentage of the original amount is very likely. Since Portfolio Recovery likely purchased your debt for less than 8% of its original values, they would still profit if you settled to a pay a percentage of the cost. Most debt collection agencies are will settle for 1%–60% of the original debt amount.

You can start the settlement negotiation process with Portfolio Recovery Associates by sending them a Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter. To learn more about negotiating a settlement, SoloSuit's founder explains the process in this video:

Example: Jenny owed $3,000 on her Citibank credit card from 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic affected Jenny and her family hugely, and she fell behind on her payments. Almost three years later, Portfolio Recovery Associates has purchased the debt from Citibank for just $300 or 10% of the original amount. When Portfolio Recovery Associates comes after Jenny for the $3,000 debt, she isn't in a position to pay it back in full. They take her to court, and Jenny reaches out to negotiate a settlement offer. She offers to pay half the original amount at $1,500. Portfolio Recovery Associates accepts and makes a $1,200 profit off the debt. Jenny pays what she can afford, and Portfolio Recovery Associates still makes their money. It's a somewhat decent compromise.


Send Portfolio Recovery an email

You can reach Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC via email at pracustomercare@portfoliorecovery.com or by calling their toll-free number, 1-800-772-1413.

If you decide to send a Debt Validation Letter to Portfolio Recovery Associates, here's their address:

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
120 Corporate Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23502

Portfolio Recovery files lawsuits in Texas

Portfolio Recovery Associates frequently files debt lawsuits throughout the state of Texas (and all other states in the US). If you're being sued by Portfolio Recovery in Texas, beat them by filing a response in court and sending a Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter

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