I Want to Dispute a Collection Account With Portfolio Recovery Associates

Question:

Dear Steve,

We are disputing a collections account with Portfolio Recovery Associates for just over $500. They bought the debt from Synchrony Bank in 2019 and have been reporting on it since. Unfortunately, the Synchrony account was apparently from 2017, so it’s past the SOL in our state.

The debt was from a one-day transaction at a distant retail store. We do not recognize it, but since it’s within drivable distance and a store we’ve shopped at in the past (at nearby locations), we requested validation of the debt.

PRA has provided all the requested documentation except for the original signed contract and proof they can legally collect on debts in our state. (We’ve recently had a different store account fraudulently opened in 2017 successfully removed from our credit file, so we’re very wary and suspect this may be another unfortunate occurrence).

In response to our second written request, PRA stated they’ve concluded their investigation (without providing the two items listed above) and have deemed the account verified.

They also state in their collection mailings that they do not intend to sue us regarding this debt due to its age. We, however, want the negative entry resolved, so it doesn’t adversely affect our credit rating.

How do you propose we proceed from here?

If they cannot provide a signed contract proving we were the account owners, isn’t the debt then invalid and should be removed from our credit reports?

How do we get the collections removed when PRA appears unwilling to do anything else with them?

Our initial direct dispute with the credit reporting agency returned as “verified,” and no changes were made to our credit profile.

Thank you so much for your time and input.

Nellie

Answer:

Dear Nellie,

These issues are challenging because it depends on how much time and effort you want to invest into this versus the reward.

Having one account from 2017 should carry little weight and have a marginal impact on your credit score. As accounts age, they count less and less.

It sounds as if you’ve done all the right things.

The obvious choices at this point are to sue Portfolio Recovery Associates. You can find an attorney in your state with credit report experience by clicking here.

But an initial step you might want to consider is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can click here to do that.

The CFPB complaint database currently has 10,183 complaints naming Portfolio Recovery Associates. You can see examples of complaints here, here, and here.

Sincerly,

You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach