Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) – Apothaker – Just Another Debt Collector?
I am a 37 yr old single disabled female collecting ssd, I currently force myself to work part time 20 hrs a wk to earn as close to the 1,000 a month that I am allowed by ssd. I own a home, inherited with no mortgage, and a car, but with the cost of my med bills, prescriptions, and property taxes, house hold costs ect. I am strapped to the last penny. I do all I can to keep my head a float. When I became ill and was waiting for my ssd to go to trial, I was living on savings,and household items I could sell, so long story short ,I had three charge cards that went deliquent. I havent made payments on any, hoping that I am nearing my seven year mark about 2015, and my credit damage is already done, and as I said prior there was no extra cash to do the settlements they were offering me by paper. (the total debt for all three cards is approx $5,000) $1,400, $1,600, & $2,000. Maurcies , Capital One, and Kohls. Kohls after I told them I was sick, I havent heard from them since. Maurices and Cap One, call daily and send letters monthly, ( they have also sold credit collectors more than once).Unfortunately, yesterday I recieved a letter from Apothaker & Associates out of Mount Laurel NJ. It states they are collecting for Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, Originally for World Financial Network Bank/Maurices.
It states they have been retained for the $1,438.92 as listed in the letter. It doesnt say I am being sued, It says it is a law firm engaged in Debt Collection. I know they want to scare me, but, I googled Apothaker & Associates and all of the results were horrible scary and resulted in lawsuits that needed legal representation. SO here we are four years later and I get this letter. The majority of their trials are dismissed because they apparently lie, or arent properly licensed. This is stress I dont need with my health.
Is it possible these guys are just another debt collector? Or will they be looking to sue me four years later? Also I have read I should mail them a certified letter asking for proof that the debt is mine, copys of transactiondates and amounts? Please advise what you think my best route is, if the safest way is a $10 a month plan I will do it, but if its just a collection firm, I dont mind trying to ride out the remaining three years. Thank you for your time in advance, I appreciate any help and advice you can provide for me. I know you hear sob stories all day, but I appreciate your help and time, Thank you!
Your WFNB account appears to have been sold to Portfolio Recovery Associates who has hired the debt collection law firm Apothaker and Associates, who is just another debt collector in what appears to be a long line of collection agencies you have been getting calls and letters from.
WFNB, Kohls and Capital One all assign or sell unpaid credit card debts.
The way your credit card debts have been tossed around from one debt collector to the next is pretty typical. The Kohls account falling off the grid is the only unusual part of the background info you provided (thanks for being so thorough with that).
Portfolio Recovery and associates is a debt buyer. They buy up bad debts with investment capital and take the risk that they will be able to get enough people to pay old debts in order to turn a profit. The fact that they have sent your account of to an attorney debt collection firm, Apothaker and Associates, does suggest that they are willing to sue you in order to collect on their investment.
Is Apothaker and Associates just another collection agency? Yes and no. Debt collection law firms sue as part of their collection activity. They also act just like a regular non attorney collection agency. This means they do not always sue. They just send debt collection letters and make collection calls to collect.
Sending a small amount of money each month to keep a debt collector at bay.
Paying a small amount of money each month on old debts like this is not a good idea. Especially with your hardship and financial situation. Here are my concerns for you:
- Paying 10 dollars a month would not likely even go to principal. Your paying each month but the amount owed grows anyway.
- Even if the 10 dollars was fully applied to the amount owed, you would pay that for about 12 years.
- Depending on laws in your state, making a payment, even a small one, to a debt buyer like Portfolio Recovery, could reset the clock for the statute of limitations (SOL) that may be nearing for you. If you can pass that SOL time line, you remove most of the risk you would be sued for the debt (they can sue but you could defend it with the fact the debt is now time barred from using the courts).
So, ten bucks is not going to cut it, and it does not sound like you can spare that amount anyway. Meds and household bills are more important anyway.
Sending a debt validation request to Apothaker and Associates collecting for Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA).
I would suggest you follow through with sending the validation request to Apothaker and Assoc. They are working for Portfolio Recovery who bought the debt from WFNB, or some other debt buyer. Debt buyers like PRA are having an increasingly difficult time proving their collection claims in court. The difficulty stems from the fact that they often do not purchase more than a couple of line items in an excel spread sheet. These spread sheets are terribly inadequate for proving a claim. They might as well say “you owe because I say so, and the amount I say you owe is valid because I said it is”. Courts are not letting that fly when these debt buyers and debt collectors are challenged correctly.
Sending the debt validation request now might prevent this from ever getting to court. Just like an excel spread sheet is insufficient to prove a debt buyer like Portfolio Recovery’s claim in court, it is often not going to have the details they need to meet verification requirements. That does not mean they wont try. Apothaker and Associates are skilled debt collectors. You may get a response to your request.
The debt collection pipeline for debt buyers relies on getting the “low hanging fruit” to pay.
Low hanging fruit when it comes to debt collection defines the 90 plus percent of debts that are not challenged. More often then not, debt collectors, and especially debt buyers and the collection agencies they rely on, are going to move on to productive collection files that do not challenge the debt. Because so few people do challenge debts being collected, or the practices used to collect debts, its better for the collectors bottom line to spend resources chasing revenue producing files. Most debt collectors do not spare time chasing the small percentage of people that don’t just roll over and pay.
Apothaker and Associates does sue to collect debt. It is highly likely that Portfolio Recovery authorized them to file suit in order to collect if Apothaker elects to. The amount that you referenced Apothaker said you owe in the collection letter is pretty small. If you send a debt validation request it may cause them to move on to other files, but then again it may not. I have seen ridiculous scenarios play out for collecting balances far smaller than yours.
Sending a validation request is simple. Be sure to send certified return receipt. Keep a copy of the letter you sent and the green return receipt card in a safe place. If you hear from them in response to your request, or do not get a response from them on the request, but continue to get collection calls and letters as if you sent no request, come back and post updates to this page in the comment section below.
I have a couple of questions for you. Your answers may help me provide more feedback.
What state do you live in?
Your reference to 7 years and 2015 read to me like you are referring to how long these negative items will stay on your credit report. Am I interpreting this correctly?
Anyone dealing with Portfolio Recovery, or Apothaker and Associates, can ask questions and get feedback by posting in the comments below.