On March 23, 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a complaint and proposed stipulated final judgment and order to resolve the Bureau’s claims against Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (PRA), one of the largest debt collectors in the United States.
On September 9, 2015, the CFPB issued an order against PRA (2015 Order) to address the Bureau’s findings that PRA violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in connection with PRA’s debt collection practices.
The CFPB alleges that PRA violated the 2015 Order, the CFPA, the FDCPA, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its implementing Regulation V. Specifically, the CFPB alleges that PRA violated the CFPA and, in some instances, the FDCPA, when it violated multiple conduct provisions from the 2015 Order, including prohibitions on:
- Representing the amount or validity of unsubstantiated debt;
- Collecting on debt without offering to provide necessary documentation to consumers;
- Misrepresenting that it would provide the offered documents within thirty days;
- Collecting on time-barred debt without making required disclosures;
- Initiating debt collection lawsuits without possessing required documentation; and
- Suing to collect time-barred debt.
The CFPB also alleges that several of PRA’s practices for resolving disputes about information it furnished to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) violated FCRA, Regulation V, and the CFPA. Specifically, the CFPB claims that PRA failed to:
- Timely resolve disputes submitted by consumers directly to PRA;
- Properly respond to disputes that PRA deemed frivolous;
- Conduct reasonable investigations of consumer’s disputes; and
- Maintain reasonable policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of consumer information that it furnished to CRAs.
The CFPB alleges that PRA illegally collected millions of dollars through its unlawful conduct, and that its illegal dispute resolution practices impacted at least tens of thousands of consumers. If entered by the court, the proposed order would require PRA to pay at least $12.18 million in redress to harmed consumers and a $12 million civil money penalty. It would also impose broad injunctive relief designed to prevent PRA from violating the law in the future.