A disabled Tampa, FL consumer alleged that Portfolio Recovery Associates violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by calling her at least 1,050 times between August, 2008, and October, 2010.
The FDCPA complaint alleged that, during August, 2008, the consumer sent Portfolio Recovery a letter informing the collection agency that :
“I do not accept or reply to telephone messages delivered by a computer”.
“I am not well having suffered a brain injury plus multiple strokes and your constant calls are having a deleterious effect on my health.”
“My husband has recently had a liver transplant and requires rest and quiet which is disturbed by these calls.”
The consumer’s letter to Portfolio Recovery is hardly a model of an effective letter. In fact, the letter failed to articulate either basis which would require a collection agency such as Portfolio Recovery to stop calling the consumer.
The consumer requested that the debt collector “stop calling”. Consumers who wish for calls to stop should request that the debt collector cease all communication (including letters) unless they are requesting that the collector not call them at work or during inconvenient times.
The consumer even invited Portfolio Recovery to continue to write her :
“You have my address and are welcome to spend you time and money sending me letters (to which I shall not reply and which I shall dispose of without opening).”
Nor did the consumer refuse to pay Portfolio Recovery. The consumer left it ambiguous whether she was not paying because she was unable to pay or unwilling (refusing) to pay.
“As you can see, not only are you disturbing the essential peace and quiet of my home, you are also wasting both your time and money as, were I able and/or willing to pay this amount, I would have already done so.”
Debt collectors can continue to call consumers who are unable to pay. Debt collectors must cease communication with consumers who refuse to pay. The distinction between being unable to pay and being unwilling to pay may seem small or picky but such distinctions are often the type of facts that cases are won or lost on.
The consumer’s letter to Portfolio Recovery Associates collection agency alleged some additional sympathetic facts. The consumer stated that she had health insurance but the health care provider who Portfolio Recovery attempted to collect for failed to submit the bill to the correct source in a timely manner.
The consumer alleged that she also explained to Portfolio Recovery Associates that the health care facility that PRA was collecting for caused her brain injury. In light of such severe injuries allegedly caused by the health care provider that PRA was attempting to collect for, the consumer’s could be interpreted as a refuse to pay but the result is far from certain.
Regardless of the inadequacies of the he consumer’s letter to Portfolio Recovery, the consumer’s letter and the extreme volume of calls allegedly received by a consumer who apparently spoke with Portfolio Recovery at least several times, demonstrates how consumers’ expectations that collection agencies will consider hardship or even disability is usually unfounded.
The consumer’s complaint against Portfolio Recovery alleged that the collection agency called after being put on notice that the calls were inconvenient to the consumer. Because of the consumer’s (and her husband’s) severe medical conditions, this allegation may succeed under such highly unusual facts.
The consumer also alleged that Portfolio Recovery harassed her by causing the phone to ring repeatedly or continuously or engaged her in telephone conversations repeatedly or continuously, the natural consequences of which is to annoy, abuse, or harass her.
The facts alleged by the consumer are just that — alleged facts. Nor did Portfolio Recovery admit that it violated the law in the Offer of Judgment filed with the Court.
For more information concerning consumer lawsuits against Portfolio Recovery Associates collection agency, click on Portfolio Recovery Associates in this sentence.
If you are receiving robo-dialed calls from Portfolio Recovery or other collection agencies, you are welcome to contact me using the contact form in the right hand column of this page. If PRA is calling you attempting to collect zombie debts, I encourage you to call me.
If you are a Florida resident, you are also welcome to call my office. I will contact you to discuss your problem and how I may be able to help you.
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