The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined debt collection agency Portfolio Recovery Associates $24 million for illegal debt collection policies and for violating a 2015 settlement with the regulatory agency.
On March 23, the CFPB filed a proposed court order that requested the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Court of Virginia require the company to pay more than $12 million to consumers impacted by its debt collection practices along with another $12 million fine into the CFPB’s relief fund.
That same day, PRA Group President and CEO Kevin Stevenson announced that the case was settled. “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,” he said.
In September 2015, the CFPB fined the company more than $27 million and found that it had “collected on unsubstantiated debt, filed misleading affidavits in debt-collection actions, misrepresented that it intended to prove debts if consumers contested them and misrepresented that the company had legally enforceable claims to debts outside of the applicable statutes of limitations.”
According to the CFPB, the company violated its 2015 order by collecting both unsubstantiated debt and collecting debt without providing necessary documentation and disclosures to consumers. The CFPB alleged that Portfolio Recovery Associates sued or threatened legal action against consumers without possessing or offering required documentation and sued to collect debt expired under the statute of limitations.
“After getting caught red-handed in 2015, Portfolio Recovery Associates continued violating the law through intimidation, deception and illegal debt collection tactics and lawsuits,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “CFPB orders are not suggestions, and companies cannot ignore them simply because they are large or dominant in the market.”