PRA Group will pay more than $24 million in fines and restitution to consumers as part of a consent order announced yesterday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for violating the terms of a 2015 enforcement order by engaging in a number of prohibited collection-related actions.
A copy of the complaint in the case of CFPB v. Portfolio Recovery Associates can be accessed by clicking here. A copy of the proposed consent order can be accessed by clicking here.
The 2015 order prohibited the collector from a number of activities, including collecting debts without a reasonable basis, selling debt, threatening to file or filing collection lawsuits without an intent to prove the debt, filing false or misleading affidavits, making false or misleading representations, and suing after the statute of limitations had expired. The order was in effect for five years. During that time, the CFPB alleged that the company made representations about unsubstantiated debts, threatened consumers with legal action or pursed collection lawsuits without offering or possessing the required documentation, misrepresenting that it would provide certain documents in a timely manner, collecting on time-barred debt without making the proper disclosures, and suing to collect on time-barred debt.
The company was also accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not resolving direct disputes in a timely manner, not properly responding to disputes that it deemed to be frivolous, and not conducting reasonable investigations of disputes.
Under the terms of the order, the company will pay a civil money penalty of $12 million and pay $12.18 million in redress to consumers.
“Our company was founded on the principles of treating customers with fairness and respect, and we have prided ourselves in upholding these values for more than 27 years,” PRA Group President and Chief Executive Kevin Stevenson said in a statement. “Although we have admitted to no wrongdoing as part of the resolution, and we continue to disagree with the CFPB’s characterization of our conduct, we are pleased to have this matter resolved and behind us, allowing us to return our full attention to our impactful work with consumers, promoting their journey toward financial recovery.”