Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
On September 9, 2015, the Bureau issued an order against Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, one of the two largest debt buyers in the country. As a debt buyer, Portfolio Recovery Associates purchases delinquent or charged-off accounts for a fraction of the value of the debt, yet it has the right to collect the full amount claimed by the seller. The Bureau found that Portfolio Recovery Associates bought debts that were potentially inaccurate, lacking documentation, or unenforceable. Without substantiating the debt, Portfolio Recovery Associates collected payments by pressuring consumers with false statements and churning out lawsuits using robo-signed court documents. The Bureau ordered Portfolio Recovery Associates to stop collections on $3 million worth of judgments, halt collection of future debts that could not be verified, and pay $19 million in consumer relief and an $8 million civil monetary penalty. The order also prohibited Portfolio Recovery Associates from (1) representing the amount or validity of a debt unless substantiated; (2) selling debt; (3) threatening or filing collection lawsuits without an intent to prove the debt; (4) filing false or misleading affidavits in debt-collection actions; (5) making false or misleading representations; and (6) suing on time-barred debt or otherwise collecting time-barred debt unless it complied with specified disclosure requirements.