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2 of America’s Largest Debt Collectors Will Refund $60 Million to Consumers

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Two of the nation’s largest debt collectors must refund nearly $60 million to consumers and stop trying to collect on another $128 million in debts, after an action filed by federal regulators Wednesday.

San Diego-based Encore Capital Group and Virginia-based Portfolio Recovery Associates are accused of pressuring consumers with false statements and churning out lawsuits using robo-signed court documents by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The two firms and their affiliates purchased a mammoth amount of debt resulting from unpaid bills — together, more than $200 billion in defaulted consumer debts on credit cards, phone bills and other accounts, according to the CFPB. Encore and Portfolio purchase the right to collect on the debts for pennies on the dollar, then attempt to collect the original amount from consumers.

The CFPB says both firms misled and harassed consumers. Encore is accused of calling debtors before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; Portfolio is accused of misleading consumers into consenting to receive robo-dialed calls to their cellphones.

Encore is also accused of telling consumers the burden of proof was on them to show a debt claim was invalid.

To settle the allegations, Encore must pay up to $42 million in consumer refunds and a $10 million penalty, and stop collection on over $125 million worth of debts. Portfolio must pay $19 million in consumer refunds and an $8 million penalty, and stop collecting on over $3 million worth of debts. Going forward, both firms are also barred from reselling debts to third parties.

“Encore and Portfolio Recovery Associates threatened and deceived consumers to collect on debts they should have known were inaccurate or had other problems,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Now, the two biggest debt buyers in the market must refund millions and overhaul their practices. We will continue to take action to protect consumers from illegal and obnoxious debt collection practices.”

In a statement, Encore said it disagreed with the CFPB’s findings, but agreed to the settlement to put the matter to rest.

“After rigorously and thoroughly scrutinizing seemingly countless aspects of our business for more than a year, the CFPB ultimately identified only two key issues warranting consumer refunds,” said Kenneth A. Vecchione, Encore’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we disagree with the CFPB’s positions on these two issues, we chose to agree to a settlement so we can move forward. We also believe the CFPB is imposing yet-to-be-adopted rules to past practices. This outcome is not about current law or rules already on the books, but instead about the CFPB subjecting companies to its own interpretations that have never been codified or adopted.”

Portfolio echoed Encore’s statement.

“It was time to end this drawn out process and eliminate the threat of litigation,” said Steve Fredrickson, chairman and chief executive officer of PRA Group, Inc., which operates Portfolio. “Given the circumstances, we went the extra mile to achieve closure, despite our objection to the CFPB’s characterization of PRA’s business practices…We remain confident that our business practices serve as a model for the industry, frequently going above and beyond applicable legal requirements.”

Cordray urged other debt collectors to be aware of the terms of the settlement, and another recent case filed against JPMorgan.

“These cases paint a broader picture about how (the CFPB) is working to clean up the debt collection industry,” Cordray said.

Allegations made by the CFPB against the two firms include:

  • Attempts to collect on unsubstantiated or inaccurate debt: Encore and Portfolio Recovery Associates stated incorrect balances, interest rates, and payment due dates in attempting to collect debts from consumers. The companies purchased large portfolios of consumer debt with balances that sellers claimed were “approximate” or that otherwise did not reflect the correct amount owed by the consumer. Sellers also warned the companies that some of the debts they were buying may not have the most recent consumer payments deducted from the balance. Some sellers also represented that documents were not available for some of the accounts. The companies continued purchasing from these sellers and then collecting on that debt without first conducting any investigation to determine whether the debts were accurate and enforceable.
  • Misrepresentation of intention to prove debts they sued consumers over: Encore and Portfolio Recovery Associates regularly attempted to collect on debts by suing consumers in state courts across the country. In numerous cases, the companies had no intention of proving these debts. They placed tens of thousands of debts with law firms staffed by only a handful of attorneys and in many cases made no effort to obtain the documents to back up their claims. Instead, the companies relied on consumers not filing a defense and winning the lawsuits by default.
  • Reliance on misleading, robo-signed court filings to churn out lawsuits: Encore and Portfolio Recovery Associates filed affidavits that contained misleading statements in debt collection lawsuits across the country. For example, they both used affidavits that misrepresented that the affiants had reviewed original account-level documentation confirming the consumers’ debts when they had not. The companies also submitted affidavits with documents attached that they claimed were the consumers’ specific account contracts or records when they weren’t. These shortcuts allowed the companies to churn through lawsuits without doing the research and due diligence required to obtain a legitimate judgment.
  • Suing or threatening to sue consumers past the statute of limitations: From at least July 21, 2011, to March 31, 2013, Encore sent thousands of letters offering a time-limited opportunity to “settle” without revealing that the debt was too old for litigation. From January 2009 to March 2012, Portfolio Recovery Associates sent similar letters to consumers. Both of the companies also filed cases past the applicable statute of limitations.
  • Encore falsely told consumers the burden of proof was on them to disprove the debt: In sworn affidavits, Encore falsely told consumers and courts that the debt should be assumed to be valid because the consumer had not disputed it within a certain time period. In fact, Encore had the burden to first prove the debt was owed and accurate before the consumer had to challenge it.
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates falsely claimed an attorney had reviewed the file and a lawsuit was imminent: The company’s collectors, who identified themselves as from the “Litigation Department,” misrepresented to consumers that litigation against them was planned, imminent or even underway. In reality, in many cases, an attorney had not reviewed the account and the company had not decided whether to file suit.
  • Encore made harassing collection calls to consumers: Encore called consumers repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass them into paying. Encore’s subsidiary, Asset Acceptance, made thousands of calls to consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and called hundreds of consumers more than 20 times in a two-day period.
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates misled consumers into consenting to receive auto-dialed cell phone calls: For approximately a year, and ending in August 2013, Portfolio Recovery Associates told consumers that they could only prevent collection calls to their cell phones before 9 a.m. if they consented to receive calls on their cell phones from a dialer. The company penalized representatives who failed to adhere to this policy.

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  • Heather Johnson Hawn

    I would like to know how they are refunding money to the consumer’s that they harassed. Asset Acceptance harassed me for years on a debt that wasn’t even mine!

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

      • BearLester

        so if you didn’t pay them you would still be part of the settlement ? or only if you made a payment to them ? we did not pay them but they have tried for YEARS to get a debt settled but they could never provide any paperwork about when the debt was accrued or if my husband even signed the receipt or anything…we have another company that calls from texas when he lived there in 1984…little past statute of limitation I think….

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          The consent order says a ” ‘Restitution Eligible Consumer’ means any Consumer who made a
          payment, directly or indirectly, to Respondent.” So it does sounds like a payment must have been made to be eligible. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a private right of action under the FDCPA. If you do, you may be entitled to damages. It may be worth talking to a consumer protection attorney.

      • ALICE

        Why not publish the list in the newspaper. Lost funds
        publishes a list of names in all major newspapers.

    • BearLester

      so did you pay them ? they harassed us also but we never paid them because they could never prove what the debt was even for and it was for a store that is no longer open and my husband said he never even had a card for that store…but they have called and sent letters…still trying….

  • bbq

    Portfolio has done most of those to me in the past. Glad this is finally happening.



    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

  • Ne

    How do I obtain my settlement or refund from these sharks? Should we just hope they will contact us?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      The debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

  • aaron cooper

    how do i get rid of false debts or money back????

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

  • what?

    so how do I get my money back ?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

  • http://blog.credit.com/ Kali Geldis

    Great question — the debt collectors have agreed to send notification letters to all consumers owed a refund as part of the enforcement action from the CFPB. You should be getting one in the mail if you’re eligible under the CFPB’s agreement.

  • Dellis Murray

    Asset Acceptance and Portfolio has done to me repeatedly. I would even be almost to finish paying the debt and come to find out that the sold the debt to another company. The cycle would begin all over again! I am due some refund!

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Fingers crossed for you!

  • ML Walker

    I asked this question earlier but it disappeared (?) before I got an answer…..
    I see where it’s been stated 7 times that the debt collectors have agreed to send a letter out to people affected by this.
    My mailing address has changed since Portfolio did their money grab on me.
    Do I need to contact them or should I just hire a lawyer or is there a law firm/lawyer out there that’s handling this whole affair?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You’re supposed to get a letter but it doesn’t say what to do if your address has changed. We are researching your prior question. Stay tuned.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We reached out to the CFPB about your question and they told us you still would not have to do anything: our order requires PRA and Encore to “make reasonable attempts to obtain a current address for any Restitution Eligible Consumer whose Redress Notification Letter and/or restitution check is returned for any reason, using the National Change of Address System, and must promptly re-mail any all returned letters and/or restitution checks to current addresses, if any.”

    • Danny

      They should put the same due diligence in finding these consumers to harass them to pay them back their money. If they can find people that don’t want to be found after 10+ years they should have no problem finding people that would want their money back

    • Gildardo Villarruel

      Sounds very great any possibility in any future They might consider their own website or a new website to add youre info on a disclaimer for privacy and intentions as to only use that info to search their Databases to see if one is eligible for any return/debt clear etc immediately ? Kinda hopeful but worth asking?

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        I suspect that in the future there will be some process for consumers they couldn’t locate to find out if they are eligible. I’ve seen that in other settlements.

    • Michelle halstead

      Hello, they are still calling. They have not only called myself but as well as my family asking questions to them and trying to get money by giving them false amounts. Even so to the point they have called my work, cell, home and all three given different amounts.

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        Michelle – why don’t you talk with a consumer law attorney? You should be able to get a free consultation and if the attorney believes you have a good case they can represent you at no out of pocket cost to you. You may also be entitled to damages. If you are having trouble finding an attorney I suggest you use the search function on the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    According to the order, they are supposed to reach out to you directly if you are eligible.

  • scott

    what is the eligibility criteria?

  • Jeffery Surratt

    Sounds like a slap on the wrist, 207 million out of 200 Billion in bad debt that these two companies now own. The government should force original debt holders to collect their own accounts, period. That is what I have to do if someone owes me money.

    • Danny

      I agree. What seem pretty silly to me is that they allow the debt collectors to buy the debt for pennies on the dollar but yet won’t work with the debtor to resolve the issue. I am sure that many of the debtor wouldn’t have a problem settling on pennies on the dollar for owed money.

    • Serkan Golcukluoglu

      That’s the perfect solution.They should give the accounts back to the original creditors, with no payment due / refund to those 2 companies. DRA is [difficult] to deal with. The very last collection i have and only $53 balance left out of $308, but right before the last payment they said ohh we dont delete the accounts we just mark them paid, so i stopped paying it and i will file a charge back on my credit card just give them a little hard time.

  • Tired of being taken advantage

    These companies have been using this tactic for a very long time. When my husband was active duty and we were going through financial problems they threatened us daily and harassed us.

  • Riane Conner

    I have been dealing with Portfolio for a while, they keep changing the amount of what I “owe”, when disputed they’d removed it and repost it, they even tried to say my debt was pending a lawsuit. Am I able to get this collector removed from my credit report now?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Did you ever pay them anything? If not, then you may not be part of the group that automatically will get notification and relief. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue it. You can either try filing a complaint with the CFPB (be as specific as possible) or get a free consultation with a consumer law attorney who regularly helps consumers with debt collection problems. The attorney may be able to help you at no out of pocket cost to you.

  • Billboy35

    Now if we can just do something about Midland.

  • Tara

    Good. Profolio recovery had been trying to collect from my husband and I for some time. We hired (a law) firm and ended up getting the case dismissed. I hope everyone who paid them is able to get their money back.

  • Tim Mitchell

    Will they also removed any marks on my credit report ?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Yes if you are restitution eligible. The consent order states they must: “Request that the consumer reporting agencies amend, delete, or suppress information regarding any Time-Barred Debt Collection Lawsuits, and associated judgments, as applicable.”

  • Di Cervantes

    What will they do about the lawsuits that are now showing up on the credit reports?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you are eligible for restitution, the information will be removed. The consent order states they must: “Request that the consumer reporting agencies amend, delete, or suppress information regarding any Time-Barred Debt Collection Lawsuits, and associated judgments, as applicable.”

  • Denny Parkstone

    i saw that these companies were trying to collect past the statue of limitations.what is the statue of limitations?

  • Ruby Allen

    PRA has harassed my 87 yr old mom who has Alzheimer’s and End Stage Renal Disease, for over three years now. I told these rude people my mom condition and they just disregarded it and continued to call and sending harassing letters, talking about suing my mom and everything…I told these people my mom paid all her bills on time until she was unable to! But did they care? nope just kept on with the harassing…just received a call a few weeks ago to which i repeated this same thing…it’s terrible that people are train to do this to other people especially the elderly, diseased and disabled….They need to pay.. just for the grief that they are putting people through, terrible companies and the techniques they use…

  • Tonya

    What about the people with damage to their credit because Portfolio kept renewing the debt on their credit report? I made payments on an outdated bad debt for years just to get them off my back, then when I got the money to pay off the settlement, they renewed the collection on my credit report. Paying that debt dropped my credit score tremendously!

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      That isn’t specifically mentioned in the settlement but that doesn’t mean you don’t have recourse. What do you mean by “renewed the collection on my credit report”? Collection accounts may only be reported for seven years plus 180 days from the original date of delinquency. Perhaps you mean they updated the date of last activity? If so, we wrote about that here: The Most Important Dates on Your Credit Report

  • Charles Vlcek

    Good news that they are being punished i was constantly being harrased and called at all different hours by porfolio on debts that were over 4yrs old and threatened legal action and that i would be arrested if i didnt pay they also stated that i would have to apear in court of course i just kept blocking their numbers and ignoring them

  • Kmiller

    I just paid two debts with Portfolio who requested they verify the balance and the stated that it was correct. What can I do in light of this action to make sure I was not fraud ed into paying this debt???

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you are covered by this settlement you should be automatically notified. If you think you may have been misled into paying a debt you didn’t owe (or an incorrect amount) you may also want to contact a consumer law attorney for advice. You may have a private right of action.

  • teebone

    I have a few items from Portfolio Recovery on my credit report that’s appearing as derogatory! How do I go about getting those marks off of my 3 credit reports?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you are eligible then you should be identified and it should be removed. We’re working on another article on this topic but in the meantime, if you want to read the consent order you’ll see the eligible groups listed as “restitution eligible consumer” on page 5. You’ll find the
      PRA Consent Order here.

  • mike drake

    portfolio recovery has a debt on my credit report that the amount is false I disputed the debt can portfolio recovery get off of my credit report now after this investigation please help

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Have you made a payment to them? The restitution applies to consumers who made payments only. If you didn’t make a payment and you believe they are reporting false information, talk with a consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection and credit reporting. (Visit the National Association of Consumer Advocates for help finding one.) You may have a private right of action and may be entitled to damages.

      • mike drake

        no maam ive haven’t but I want it removed off my credit report I keep disputing the amount Equifax is the last one

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          It doesn’t sound like you are in the restitution eligible class, but I can’t say for sure. If you have disputed it with the credit reporting agency and they didn’t fix it then your next steps are to pursue Step 5 or Step 6 in this article: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes.

  • francine70

    Both of these companies have contacted me. Every time I send a verification letter they never seem to be able to provide the information. Have not heard back from either one in several years.

  • Whitman

    Portfolio Recovery has called me no less than 10 to 15 times a day over a bill I had more than 15 years ago for $85 dollars; Obvioulsy it is gone from my credit report but if you talk to them about it or pay it the 7 to 10 year clock resets. These people need to be sued.

    • Steven Short

      They were sued. That is the whole point of this article.

  • Kelly Pyles

    I had to hire my own attorney to protect us but it still cost me money wonder if I will get my money back.

  • Struggling Sally

    I had two outstanding debts left over as part of a divorce settlement, one of which has been paid in full, the other I am still paying on, chipping away at with a payment plan but it is still negatively affecting my credit. One of the companies is NCO Financial, and the other is MB-ROI. How do I find out if they are subsidiaries of the two companies mentioned in the article? Internet searches did not provide much definitive information.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      NCO is a very large collection agency – separate from these. I haven’t heard of MB-ROI but from what I can tell it looks like they are different agencies.

      • Struggling Sally

        Thank you.

  • kjdjr

    I still get calls from portfolio to this day about identity theft from 2004, this article says from and up to 2013. I still get calls, last one was Friday. As I was not foolish enough to pay them any money, are their monies available for the continued harassment ?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Probably not through this settlement but have you talked with a consumer law attorney? When debt collectors break the law consumers may be entitled to damages and the collector has to pay attorney’s fees.

  • leslie hudson

    What infuriated me was that I received calls stating I owed a credit card balance( for a card I never even had ) and even though I disputed it as such, they STILL sold my non-existent debt to one of these vulture agencies.

  • DarkUnderbellyoftheHumanSoul

    CFPB’s a new federal agency, and has a mandate to rapidly establish itself as a no nonsense, take no prisoners consumer advocate against debt collection agencies. Debt collection agencies know when they’re licked, and that they can’t even begin to match the CFPB’s unlimited federal government resources.

  • Gildardo Villarruel


  • Andrew

    They garnished my wages in 2013 and I didn’t know I could dispute since it was a fraudulent account I sent them all paper work and ftc report and police report and they said that the judgment had been satisfied so that I can get my money back anymore what can I do

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am not sure if you are eligible but if you are, you will be notified in the mail and you’ll get a refund as well as get it removed from your credit reports. Fingers crossed for you! (It’s not easy reading but you can review the PRA Consent Order to see if you are eligible.)

  • Kim

    I actually paid them an old debt during that time. Wonder if I am on the lust.

  • Li Hernandez

    Midland bought my account at credit one bank and I have been paying them $100 a month for a $1000 settlement . I still have three months to pay. And Portfolio Recovery bought my Capital One account and I also am still paying them $55 a month . Should I still continue paying the two after the decision made by CFPB?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Nothing in the consent order indicates you should stop paying a legitimate debt you owe. But the agencies must change their collection practices going forward, so if you had a legitimate dispute (debt is too old, they misrepresented the debt etc.) there may be some relief. It depends on the facts and circumstances of the situation.

      • Li Hernandez

        Portfolio Recovery has been calling my sister’s number and making threats that I will be deported thinking that I have been in the country illegally. Finally Portfolio sent me a letter in the mail so I called them and started paying them. So am I covered ? Will they stop collection on this debt? The debt is actually 3yrs .


        38,000 consumers who paid and received a call from a Portfolio representative claiming to be from the “litigation department” when the firm allegedly hadn’t initiated legal action — are eligible for part of an $18.2 million fund. That’s an average of $479 per person.

        837 consumers who paid a time-barred debt are eligible for part of an $861,000 fund, averaging $1,029 per consumer

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          Li – This settlement did not discuss those specific kinds of threats. But you need to talk with a consumer protection attorney. It may be illegal to threaten deportation to collect a debt and you may be entitled to statutory damages. A consumer law attorney that regularly works with consumers who have debt collection harassment cases should offer a free evaluation and may be able to help you with no out of pocket cost to you. If you need help finding one, use the search function on the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • anAmericanMom

    I would really like to know how soon the removal of repeatedly disputed SOL and obsolete reporting by Midland will be reflected i our Credit reports? Also Portfolio who lost to my motion for summary judgement as their alleged proof was defeated, yet still reports that as a collection? Removal is the big thing to most individuals of their easily defeated claims in a court . It is in fact hard to get past whatever the CRA’s use to allegedly find bad accounts verifiable?

    Especially Transunion maintaining a Literal Court Error a fully documented and provided vacated judgement Remains. Transunion is the ONLY CRA maintaining it is accurate. while the court and the court Documents provided the direct refute

    lets stop being the judge and jury trans-union? Your record has hurt every chance at obtaining viable employment has cost me more for what little credit I can obtain I am broke more then in the black.. your lack of any degree of actually looking at the proof and admitting to your error or releasing who is telling you something that TRUMPS the court record?Your faulty system is harming my entire family.

    I hope you get with the program and smarten up. I see major legal issues going forward.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Removal of credit report information for those who are restitution-eligible is part of the consent order. It’s a 60-page document and we are working on a follow up story with more information.

      Portfolio Recovery Associates and Encore are the two collection agencies involved. If you have complaints about others, including a credit reporting agency. I’d suggest you file a complaint with the CFPB.

      I am not sure if you’ve confused us with either, but we aren’t a credit bureau or collection agency — we’re a consumer information website.

  • anAmericanMom

    Moderator feel free to edit this but why try and hide what is happening?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am not sure what you mean by hiding what is happening but we’ve been flooded with comments and questions since this came out. Some questions haven’t been posted yet because we are researching answers and others may have been deleted for profanity. But trying to keep up! This story has clearly struck a nerve.

  • anAmericanMom

    Gerri, thank you for taking to time to respond I am sorry if I appear anxious about this but. I am not alone..

    at the bottom of page 1. The beginning of page 2 of the document put out by the CFPB has what I am concerned with. The violations of the fair credit reporting act.

    “and 623(b) of the Fair Credit Reporting
    Page 1 of63

    2015-CFPB-0022 Document 1 Filed 09/09/2015 Page 2 of 63
    Act (“FCRA”),

    15 U.S.C. §§ 1681s-2(a)(8)(E) and 1681s-2(b). Under sections 1053 and
    1055 of the CFPA, 12 U.S.C. §§ 5563,5565, the Bureau issues this Consent Order (Consent

    I read this through and it basically states they must remove reports they should have known were unverifiable and/or false especially when consumers disputed them with viable documentation.

  • Lowell Bushey

    Despite their full knowledge that the tactics of many, if not most, collection agencies are illegal and/or unethical, the credit reporting agencies are allowed to deal with them with impunity. That seems unconscionable and unacceptable to me!

  • Christine

    I have over 24 different phone numbers that PRA has used to called me and my family. Most of the time no messages are left but when they do, they mention legal action, going to jail and going after family members once incarcerated! I don’t even answer my phone anymore if I don’t know who is calling. Keep blocking the number once I know it’s them, but the reverse look up isn’t always available. Today they tried a different tactic, called my husband and left a message that a package wasnt able to be delivered, and he should call them. The package was for me but they want him to call… smh, I don’t owe them money, but out of spite if I did, they wouldn’t see a dime!

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Have you talked with an attorney? A consumer protection attorney who regularly represents consumers in debt collection actions can tell you if you have a good case, and if so, can represent you at no out of pocket cost to you. I can’t comment specifically on your situation but the courts don’t look kindly on collectors who pretend to be someone/something they are not in order to collect…

  • raquila47

    These two Corp. should be out of business. All these heartless telmarketers should all be in jail and fined every commission made. These entities caused millions into bankruptcy in some cases for one debt by using the fear factor.

  • phil rowland

    I was served by Portfolio Recovery for an old medical debt (I have Leukemia) which was on the squeaky edge of statute of limitations…and it looks like they enhanced the amount. I tried to explain my situation but they were heartless and pursued me even harder. They finally got me into a court that was so far from my residence I couldn’t get to it. They got their default as is their MO. I haven’t payed on this yet…how do I get this cleared?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Phil – Reading the consent order I am not sure if you will be identified as covered or not. This new article discusses who is covered:
      2 of America’s Largest Debt Collectors Will Refund $60 Million to Consumers

      If you are not, it may still be worth talking to a consumer law attorney or filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you don’t, and you don’t pay the judgment debt, the collector may be able to go after your wages, bank accounts etc. depending on state law.

  • Charity Dillman

    Maybe they should look at Penn credit now….2 weeks ago my credit report had portfolio recovery on it due to a bill my ex had put in my name …he defaulted and moved in 2008…portfolio recovery had put on credit it was from 2010…I just saw this on credit report…looked at it today…all of sudden it says it’s to Penn credit…so either portfolio hurried and sold accounts…or Penn credit is part of…if not Penn credit fault..m.then maybe portfolio should be in bigger mess for selling accounts with wrong info prior to settlement?

  • Charity Dillman

    And curious….how many others all of a sudden…owe Penn credit?

  • theshawn

    Oohhh noooo, you mean they have to pay less than a 1/10th of 1% fine on their total debt purchased?!?!? Omg!! They are sooo not going to do things unethically now!!!……wonder how much various law firms made in the whole thing??? Jussayin….

  • anon234324

    Ironic, sounds like the words of their victims. “It was time to end this drawn out process and eliminate the threat of litigation,” That’s what goes through your mind every time you give up and pay off the same debt that you paid off to someone else last year.

  • Raquelle

    I’m not sure if I qualify. Portfolio has called and harassed me on several occasions prior to changing my phone number despite request to discontinue. But I also had a lien placed on an account. When I appeared before the court there were false documents presented to the court stating I was notified via certified mail when I actually was not and that also a male member of my household received the documents. There are no men in my household. The judge ordered that I pay it but they never were able to prove that I actually owed the money.

    So how do I know if I qualify. I also still have about 3 other accounts in collections that are under Portfolio. I am currently in the process of trying to reconcile these accounts. Should I contact Portfolio or wait until this is figured out?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      To be on the safe side, you may want to also consult a consumer protection attorney who regularly represents consumers in debt collection cases. Most will offer an initial evaluation for free. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates if you need help locating one in your area.

  • RealNameNoGimmicks

    Not sure if anyone is able to assist me here, but I have a dilemma. I have two accounts stemming from a debt w/ Bank of America several years back (after losing a couple of jobs in the same calendar year), which was sold to Portfolio Recovery (Forster Garbus and Garbus LLC). Over the past year, I have made payment arrangements with Forster Garbus and Garbus after receiving “judgment notices” for both accounts claiming that it was coming from my County’s court. Naturally, I panicked and found a way to scrap up a few dollars to begin making payments. The debts of the two accounts total to about $10 grand.

    With the recent events, I am wondering whether I should continue making payments through the agency, or do I discontinue and find a way to make payments through Bank of America’s collection process or I do nothing at all? (considering these accounts have long been on my credit report). I highly doubt that I’d be able to make payments through Bank of America, considering both accounts were defaulted roughly 5 years ago. Since making payments, the SOL has now reset to 2014-2015 (instead of the original year of default) so I would no longer be able to wait until the SOL for my state approaches. Since the news broke, I haven’t made a single payment to Porfolio/Forster Garbus and Garbus and they are certainly looking for it. Any ideas? I’d very much appreciate it.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Is there actually a judgment (or two) against you? Have you checked your credit reports to find out? Or are you saying that you felt you were tricked into making payments with bogus judgment notices?

      • RealNameNoGimmicks

        Thank you for the reply. Well I haven’t necessarily been sued. I believe they were in the early stages of the judgment process. The documents APPEARED to be legit, with each showing a Docket #/Portfolio Recovery listed as the Plaintiff, with your standard attorney language in the body of the letter (Forster Garbus listed as the attorneys). So I quickly acted, finally setting up some type of payment plan with Forster Garbus. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be able to tell a ‘real’ judgment to a ‘fake’ one, especially since I owe the two debts, but this could have easily been a scare tactic used on the part of Forster Garbus. Who knows.

        What I find most disturbing is that both Portfolio Recovery AND Forster Garbus appear on my credit report for the same two debts with Bank of America. So to the blind eye, it appears as if I owe four debts instead of two.

        I began making payments of $150/month and have been up until recent (when this news broke). Whenever I get a notice in the mail from FG, Portfolio Recovery is still mentioned in the ‘Re:’ portion of the letter so I assume they are still collecting on the accounts. I’m just not sure what to do at this point. That would be my biggest concern rather than the refund.

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          A judgment only comes after a lawsuit makes it to court but it sounds like you believe they may have misled you about legal action in the first place. And if that did happen, it would be prohibited under the FDCPA.

          You may turn out to be part of the affected class here but nothing in the settlement indicated that consumers could or should stop making payments on debts they owe.

          If I were in your shoes, I’d at least talk with a consumer law attorney to find out what your rights are here. If a debt collector breaks the law, they have to pay attorney’s fees and the consumer is entitled to damages so the attorney may be able to help you at no out of pocket cost. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates for a referral.

          As for the fact that two collection accounts are appearing for the same debt, you should be able to fix that too. We’ve written about that in two places: Credit Report Double Jeopardy Means Double Damage and Why Kicking Debt Collectors Off of Your Credit Report Just Got Easier

          • RealNameNoGimmicks

            Thank you Gerri for your feedback. I think I’ll continue making payments for the time being with hopes that I’ll be included on a future refund. I asked a representative at Forster Garbus if they were aware of the impending refunds from Portfolio and he quickly dismissed it, saying that he was unaware of any news. In the meantime, I will attempt to rid my credit report of the double jeopardy charge. Not sure how successful I’ll be or how willing they’ll be to rectify the matter but I know it needs to done.

          • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

            Give the dispute a shot and let us know what happens!

  • Scropiodeee

    What can I do if I either of these companies has an account currently showing on my credit report? Paid or not . Can I have it removed, or will they just sell it to someone else?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      This settlement doesn’t mean that these companies can no longer report debts, so it depends on what your concern is.

      Do you believe you owe the debt? How old is it? And paid or not does make a difference – is it paid or unpaid?

      If you can clarify your concern it will be helpful.

  • http://billcollectorshateme.com/ Bill Collectors Hate Me

    We need more of this type of swift justice against illegal debt collectors!

    • Bc Davis

      I would like to see the validation that they actually Paid the fine. I would not be surprised if it is just pure PR window dressing. Sallie mae screwed over troops a year ago and supposedly paid a fine as well. I have sent a (certified) information request to Dept of Ed asking for proof that sallie may has paid fines and have been ignored. So before one jumps for joy , how can we be sure they actully pay these fines?? Debt collection industry is after already universally distrusted and has been for decades now.

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