Has Debt Collector Portfolio Recovery Associates Left Prerecorded Messages on your Cell Phone? If so, read this...

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My friend and fellow consumer advocate, John Watts, attorney with Watts Law Group has recently posted an article about Portfolio Recovery Associates, a debt collector they are suing for repeatedly (and illegally) calling their client's cell phone while using an auto dialer and/or prerecorded message. As John points out, this practice is illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
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Apparently Portfolio Recovery Associates is claiming they do not use an auto dialer -but John and his client have reason to believe differently.

If you have experienced an auto dialer from PRA (or if you have clients that have) please contact John Watts (205-879-2447) and let him know.

For more info on the use of auto-dialers and cell phones and your rights concerning fair debt collection practices, see the below article by Watts Law Group P.C. & M. Stan Herring P.C

Use Of An Auto-Dialer Against Our Cell Phones Is Normally Illegal

Auto-dialers or predictive dialers are the computer generated calls that have a recording on it that greets you when you answer the phone.  Or sometimes the call is disconnected.  Here's the deal.  Collectors use to manually make the calls.  That is inefficient so collectors normally have a computer make the calls.  You are greeted with an automated message until a human collector is available.  Some of these systems will hang up if a human collector is not immediately available.  Others say "Please hold for an important message."

If you gave permission to the collection agency or the original creditor to call your cell phone, then it may be that this is appropriate to use auto-dialers against you.  But if you did not give permission then using an auto dialer violates federal law.

Sometimes when we sue collectors for doing this the defense lawyers will say "Your client must have given her permission or else how would we have her cell number?"  When I have responded that collection agencies can find cell phone numbers the lawyers act shocked that this information is available.  They claim no one can find your cell phone number.  Considering that collectors can find out the name of your neighbor's dog (ok - a slight exaggeration) - it is no problem using the many resources out there to find your cell phone number.

Revoke Any Permission You May Have Given To Call Your Cell Phone

If you think you may have given permission to call your cell phone, revoke that permission immediately.  We suggest sending a letter that sets forth your cell phone number and tells the collector they can call it with a human being but not with a computer or auto dialer.  Send all letters certified mail, return receipt requested.

Save And Document All Voice mails

As with any calls or voicemails, carefully document who called and when and what was said.  Save all voicemails!  Having the voicemail saved gives you proof that the collector actually did call you and leave a voicemail.

If The Law Was Violated, Sue!

If you have received illegal autodialer calls, you may be entitled to $500 or $1500 per call under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  If the voicemail was threatening, revealed the debt to a third party, or did not contain the required mini-miranda disclosure ("this is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector") then the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has likely been violated.

Feel free to contact us for a free consultation on your rights to sue these abusive bill collectors who break the law with no shame - they don't mind if the illegal message is recorded!  Call or email us now for help.

An Analysis Of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Section 1692

We want to give you the text of the FDCPA and our analysis of this important piece of consumer protection litigation which is one of the primary weapons we have to fight back against abusive debt collectors to make them stop abusing us.

This will be a series of posts and the format will be our analysis and then we'll put the actual text of the particular section we are discussing below. We hope you will find this helpful and we look forward to hearing from you.

Here's a few short excerpts:

Often when we sue abusive collection agencies, debt buyers, or collection lawyers, they claim that the industry has no problems and they certainly have no problems. Congress found, however, that the problem was so bad that this law was needed.

The next argument from collectors is that "OK so we broke the law - but abusive debt collection tactics don't really hurt anyone." Well, Congress disagrees because it says that these abusive, deceptive and unfair tactics "contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy."

That is a very serious list of problems that often result from illegal debt collection.

Do you value your privacy? Do companies value their privacy? Sure. We have security measures (locks on doors, companies have badges to get access to the building, etc) to protect our privacy. For someone to go through our file cabinet at home is a horrible invasion of privacy. Or for someone to post our medical records on the internet would be an invasion of our privacy. But Congress found that the "abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices" contributes "to invasions of individual privacy. This is often done through the rampant problem of illegal third party contacts.

So when debt collectors dismiss violations of this federal law as "no big deal" remember that Congress said that these violations result in:

1. Personal bankruptcies;
2. Marital instability;
3. Loss of jobs; and
4. Invasions of personal privacy.

OK, well why did Congress have to step in? Why not just allow the state laws to protect consumers around the country? Because in subsection (b) Congress found "Existing laws and procedures for redressing these injuries are inadequate to protect consumers." So, the FDCPA is absolutely necessary to prevent abuses that result in those four negative effects (bankruptcies, marital instability, loss of jobs, and invasions of privacy) as the existing state laws (including Alabama) were and are inadequate.

Well, collectors will say (with a straight face somehow) that if they are not allowed to abuse consumers then they will not be able to collect debts and the whole economy will come crashing down. Is this true?
Find out that answer, when you read this article  in its entirety.

Follow the series at AlabamaConsumerLawBlog.com  

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After several months of this company constantly(5-7 times daily and YES with autodialer) trying to contact us through work, they will not give up. But,currently a internet loan company has contacted a third party and revealed our whole loan details including that she was also going to be charged in the legal matter of a fraud investigation through the court of law. I am completely embarrassed I can not even bare to talk to my friend any longer. I contacted an attorney and he stated that because it was the actual company and not another collection company that they have the right to say what they want and the law eliminates these companies.

An abusive and unfair debt collection practice should not be tolerated at all, and complaint must be made against such debt collectors.


Was it ever determined that Portfolio Recovery Associates uses an auto-dialer? It strains credulity to think they have humans manually dialing each number.

One day while I was at home this Port Recovery
company called my house 8 times in one day.
Calling from different numbers, but this name
came up on caller ID every time. I do not know
what to do about this. I will try to call my
phone company to see if I can get a new telephone

I was in an accident in 1991. The fault was established to be the other driver who had his license taken away because of old age. Somehow I never got two of the bills. Now 21 years later I start getting calls from Portfolio Recovery Associates. They don't seem to be auto dialer calls but I'm not sure if they were or not. When they called the first time, I told them to call my lawyer and hung up. I found out from the hospital that were from my accident. I offered to pay the hospital but they said they could not accept payment since the bills were sold to Portfolio. The Florida Statute of Limitations for collecting debt is 4 years or 5 at the most. I plan on sending them a cease and desist letter. Are these types of continued calls to me allowed after so many years? Since a settlement was agreed upon and I received an award from the insurance company can they legally persue collection from me?

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