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Why is there a Portfolio Recovery Associates lawsuit against me?

Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC (which also goes by PRA Group, Inc., its parent company) is one of the biggest “debt buyers” in the entire United States. The first time you hear about them may be when they’re trying to collect a debt from you, and you might be wondering who they even are. Their business is to buy up debts from other companies in large volumes and try to collect the debts themselves. This has become pretty common in the debt collection industry, and your debt can get sold over and over again to different companies that then try to collect.

You might be getting calls, you might be getting letters, or you might just have gotten a lawsuit out of nowhere. That’s a common tactic, and the reason debt collectors use it is because most people don’t even show up to respond, let alone talk to a lawyer.

If Portfolio Recovery Associates is trying to collect a debt against you—whether through a lawsuit or even just calling you or sending a letter informally—you might actually have a legal claim against them.

Portfolio Recovery Associates has repeatedly been accused of breaking federal and state laws in its debt collection efforts. For example, the Attorney General of New York sued them for bringing lawsuits against consumers improperly, allegedly resulting in default judgments they never should have gotten. And a federal agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau forced them to pay restitution for various different debt collection practices they were engaged in.

We use a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, along with other state laws that depend on where our clients live, to countersue debt collectors. Many of them break the law routinely.

If Portfolio Recovery Associates is suing you or demanding money from you, call us at 657-845-3100, or e-mail us at contact@kneuppercovey.com. We’re happy to evaluate your case for free to see if there have been any legal violations. If there have, we may be able to represent you on a contingency fee basis. And The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows a $1,000 statutory penalty, as well as any damages you’ve suffered.

Should I pay Portfolio Recovery Associates?

Not without checking with a lawyer first. We often see people get sued by various debt collectors who don’t even owe a debt. Sometimes people get sued because they have a similar name as the person who owes it, or somethings the debt is so old that they can’t be legally sued because the statute of limitations has passed.

If a debt collector is sending you communications like letters or calls, they may have violated the law there as well. They may have misrepresented the amount you owed or tried to charge fees they legally couldn’t under the contract. Remember, a company like Portfolio Recovery Associates is a “debt buyer”—they buy large amounts of debt from other people. And like a lot of other debt buyers, they’re collecting in volume. That can create plenty of mistakes. An example we’ve seen with other debt collectors is filing a lawsuit saying that the client owed attorneys’ fees to them under the contract—when the contract said nothing about that. That’s a violation of federal law. But many debt buyers don’t take the time to actually read the contract and see what you owe whoever they bought the debt from. They buy from too many places with too many contracts, so many debt buyers just hope nobody catches them or bothers to talk to a lawyer about it.

Why is Portfolio Recovery Associates calling me when I have no debt?

That’s the problem with debt buyers. There’s often a lot of automation involved at many of these companies, and mistakes like that are common. If they’re trying to collect a debt you don’t owe, that’s a violation of federal law. On the other hand, they may have bought the debt from someone you did owe it to—but an attorney can help you analyze whether you have the right to sue them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If a debt collector is suing you or harassing you, call Kneupper & Covey PC at 657-845-3100, or e-mail us at contact@kneuppercovey.com. We’ll review your case and we don’t charge for an evaluation. We’ll then let you know if we’re able to represent you or if you might have a claim, and in most cases we work on contingency (our fees come out of whatever we win).

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    If you have fallen victim to shady claims and advertising tactics contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.​