If you’ve found the entity “portfolio rc” or a similar item on your credit report, you probably have a collection agency trying to claim an unpaid past debt. The abbreviation is short for Portfolio Recovery Associates — a third-party collection agency that acquires overdue debts that have been passed to them from other lenders and organizations.
A mark from a collection agency is something that should always be taken seriously. Even if the debt is eventually paid, if left unaddressed, the black mark on your credit report can linger for up to seven years.
While it’s wise to take care of the issue as soon as possible, it’s also a good idea to stay calm, cool, and collected as you do so. Though important, the situation must be handled both thoughtfully and carefully.
Review the following information and action steps before you do anything else. From there, you can effectively begin the process of protecting your credit from the long-term effects of a collection agency claim.
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Is Portfolio Recovery Associates a Real Company?
When you find a collection agency on your credit report, the first step should always be to confirm that the entity itself is not a fraudulent company. In the case of Portfolio Recovery Associates, the company does, indeed, exist.
The agency is a U.S.-based business headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, and has been in operation for a quarter of a century. It is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.
Portfolio Recovery Associates Phone Number
You can reach Portfolio Recovery Associates by phone at (866) 323-1218.
BBB Complaints About Portfolio Recovery Associates
While a good listing is encouraging, it’s also important to dig into the feedback that the BBB website has to offer. Portfolio Recovery Associates has a 1.4 out of five-star rating (low ratings are quite common for collection agencies).
In addition, it has closed 1,146 complaints in the last three years, 372 of which have been addressed within the last year.
At the time of this writing, there is an additional alert on the BBB account stating that the company has been “the subject of consumer complaints alleging inaccurate debt postings with credit reporting agencies, prompting requests for the removal of the inaccurate information.”
While this is a common occurrence for collection agencies, the presence of an alert of this nature is worthy of note.
What to Do if You See Portfolio Recovery Associates on Your Credit Reports
If you have a claim of unpaid debt from Portfolio Recovery Associates, the next step after certifying the company’s legitimacy is to address the allegation.
Verify That It’s Legitimate
It’s wise to start this next step by sending a debt validation letter. This kicks off the process by ensuring that the debt the agency is claiming is actually real and correct.
Even if the company exists, it’s possible for them to be claiming a fraudulent or inaccurate debt. The fact that they also had a notation on their BBB page specifically addressing inaccurate claims made in the past makes this step particularly important.
Pay Off Your Debt
If Portfolio Recovery Associates is able to confirm that the debt is real — this should always be done by snail mail, never over the phone or email — then you need to pay it off.
If possible, try to pay the debt directly back to the original lender. This opens up the possibility of getting the amount owed reduced or lowering the accumulated interest. One way or another, though, you must pay off the debt if you want to resolve the situation and have a shot at protecting your credit.
Consult With a Credit Counselor
If the process of confirming the debt and then paying it down is too overwhelming, consider hiring a professional to help you.
A good credit repair company or credit counselor can bring invaluable experience to bear on your situation. They can request to reduce the amount owed, fight to get claims removed from your credit report, and help you create a financial management plan for the future.
How to Remove Portfolio Recovery Associates From Your Credit Reports
Once you’ve validated the situation and paid down any real debts that are owed, the last step is to address your credit report itself.
If you found that the claim was inaccurate, all you have to do is send a dispute letter to challenge the accuracy of your credit report. Make sure to do this with all three credit bureaus, as they operate independently.
If the debt is legitimate, you can still send a good-faith letter to the original lender. This explains your situation and asks the lender if they might be willing to remove the claim from your report now that the debt has been paid.
Will You Be Sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates?
As a final note, if you’re wondering whether Portfolio Recovery Associates will sue you, chances are you can relax. It’s rare for a collection agency to sue someone over unpaid funds. The resources, time, and effort required are often not worth the effort.
Instead of worrying about the possibility of being sued, focus on confirming the claim and paying any debts you actually owe. This is actually in your control and can give you the best shot at preserving your credit over the next three-quarters of a decade.
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