Have you received a letter from Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) about an outstanding debt? Or did you notice their name on your credit report for an old debt that had been sitting with the creditor?
Either way, you want them to disappear from your credit report and your life. But first, you should know that they are one of the biggest debt collectors in the game. They’re also publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange with around 4,000 employees.
To turn a profit, they buy large chunks of debt from companies at a steep discount in hopes of collecting on it. Some of this debt may be past statute of limitations which means you’re no longer legally obligated to pay it. (This may not mean much to you at the moment, but it’ll come into play when we discuss “pay-for-delete agreements”).
So, what does it take to get Portfolio Recovery Associates off your credit report?
Want to Remove Portfolio Recovery from Your Credit Report?
What is Portfolio Recovery Associates?
They are a publicly-traded debt collection agency that purchases large blocks of debt from large lenders around the country. Large lending companies have ledgers of “bad debt” on their books they have been unable to collect.
Creditors have gone through all the procedures they have in place to collect from their customers on these overdue accounts, but have been unable to do so for a variety of reasons.
In order to collect something from this “bad debt”, they bundle hundreds or thousands of accounts and sell them for pennies on the dollar to other collection companies.
Step 1: Send Them a Debt Validation Letter
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the burden of proof lies on the collection agency. They must prove that the debt in question is accurate and they have a right to collect on it. And that’s where a debt validation letter comes into play.
It’s a written request that doesn’t get into the specific details about the debt. Instead, it requests that the creditor prove that the debt is yours and you have a legal obligation to repay it.
There’s a chance they won’t have the documentation to validate the debt since they aren’t the original creditor. And that’s good news for you as they’ll have to remove the negative information from your credit report.
There’s also a chance they won’t respond to your request within the 30-day window. In this case, the information would also have to be removed.
The downside is this letter must be submitted within 30-days of your initial notification by the credit bureaus for it to be effective (and they have 30 days to respond).
But if they do respond and it’s not quite the reply you were looking for, you still have a few more options.
Step 2: Request a “Pay for Delete”
Portfolio Recovery Associates is able to stay afloat and roll in the dough by purchasing debt for very cheap and collecting it from consumers when other debt collectors fail. (This explains why they’ve been around since 1996).
This is both good and bad news for you. Bad news first; they’re pretty good at what they do, so they probably won’t give up as easily as some collection agencies do.
Good news: since they didn’t pay much for your debt, there’s some wiggle room with regards to the amount they’re willing to accept.
A few tips when negotiating a “pay-for-delete” agreement:
Be prepared to negotiate.
Don’t accept the first offer they put out. In fact, you should start low and work your way up if needed.
Refrain from disclosing any personal information
They may insist that you provide your account information so they can deduct payments. But kindly deny their request and send a check, instead.
Conduct all negotiations in writing
You should also send all correspondence via certified mail with a return receipt so you’ll have a paper trail. It’s not uncommon for a debt collector to agree to something on the phone and not follow through.
This puts you in a tough situation if you follow through on the verbal agreement and the negative account still remains on your credit report once you’ve paid the balance in full. And you’ll have no recourse if the only backing you have is a phone conversation.
But what if you uphold your end of the bargain and they still don’t remove the negative item? Follow-up with a letter demanding that the item is removed, and threaten to pursue further legal action if they fail to comply.
Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC Contact Information
120 Corporate Boulevard
Norfolk, Virginia 23502
Phone number: (757) 519-9300
Step 3: Hire Professional Help
Perhaps you’re in a situation where you’re strapped for time and don’t have the bandwidth to work on your credit. Or maybe you’ve decided the process will be too overwhelming to embark upon on your own?
No worries. You can hire professionals to do the work for you. Well-respected credit repair companies, like Lexington Law, can get the ball rolling and utilize their knowledge to get other tough collection items that may be hurting your report removed.
If you decide to do nothing, the negative entry will stay on your report for seven years from the date of last activity. And if you pay the balance it later on down the without negotiating a pay for deletion, it will still remain for the same period of time and ding your score.
So, it’s worth the effort to either negotiate a “pay-for-delete” agreement or hire professional help. Your credit score will thank you.
Want to Remove Portfolio Recovery from Your Credit Report?
List of Debt Collection Agencies
Here’s a list of some of the nation’s most popular debt collectors that cause damage to your credit.
- Alliance One
- Allied Interstate
- Alltran Financial
- ARS National Services
- Cavalry Portfolio Services
- Credit Collection Services
- IC Systems
- LVNV Funding
- Midland Credit Management
- MRS Associates
- NCO Financial
- Portfolio Recovery Associates
- RJM Acquisitions
- Transworld Systems
- Zwicker & Associates