Debt collection services are always high on demand, especially in the times we’re facing right now. People who are in debt are sinking more into it, and a huge number of debts are yet to be collected. This has resulted in a tremendous loss to many big and small creditors. They don’t have many options to recover the money they’ve lost.
The best and only viable one would perhaps be to sell their debts to a company that buys them. Since there are no other good options, they sell these debts at less than half of their value.
When a company buys these, they acquire the right to collect the amount from the debtor. They gain the same legal power to claim the debt that your original debt had. Now the thing is, they generally buy these bad debts in huge amounts. So, they will be making quite a profit just by collecting even half of them.
That is exactly what companies like the PRA group UK do. If you owe them and have been contacted by them, there are some things you might want to know.
Who is this PRA group UK?
Unlike many other debt collecting companies in the UK, the Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) group is based in the USA. It was founded in 1996 in Virginia, where its headquarters is located. They expanded to the UK in the year 2001, which makes them a relatively new entry as compared to other such companies.
In the US, they are one of the largest debt-buying companies. They buy debts from various companies in the UK and also collect council taxes.
What approach do they have towards Collecting Debts?
The PRA group UK follows the same procedure for debt collection that other companies in the UK do. They register the details of the people who owe them. As soon as they buy your debt, your name is entered into it.
Then, it’s only a matter of time before they reach out to you. It all starts with a simple letter that tells you the amount you owe and who the original creditor was. They would request you to pay the entire amount within a time of seven days.
There won’t be any threat of legal action in the initial letters. Those will come later if you ignore the requests. They might ask you to pay some additional charges in the first reminder itself.
If you ignore it, there will be more charges added. If you keep ignoring the reminders, they’ll send one of their field agents to visit you, after notifying you. They usually take legal action when all other options have failed.
What can a PRA group agent do?
First, there is no reason to get worried when you’re notified of the agent’s visit. The agents from the PRA group UK, or any debt collecting company for that matter, have very limited power.
They cannot visit you at any odd hour of the day. If you refuse to let them in, they are bound to leave. They are not authorized to use any kind of force to enter your residence, under any circumstances.
Also, they have no right to harass or make unreasonable threats. If you let them in, they can only request you to make the payment or make a payment plan. Unlike bailiffs, they can’t take any of your goods. Though, the PRA group can take control of your goods through legal action.
Can they take control of your Home?
This is one of the biggest concerns that you might have while dealing with debt collectors. To be precise, the PRA group UK can start a legal proceeding to secure their debt against some of your property. If they win, they can sell your home to recover the amount you owe them.
But fortunately, they can do this only as a last resort. They’ll give you quite a few options before they decide to proceed with this one. So, you are advised not to let things reach this point. If you want to secure your home and your reputation, against legal action, an IVA would be helpful. Provided that you’re eligible for it, you must carefully consider the benefits and risks before deciding.
How do you make sure that you owe them?
It is very much possible for even a big company, like the PRA group UK, to make mistakes. So, if you have any doubts about whether you owe them, or you are sure that you don’t, it is better to clear the matter with them. It might also be that you find the amount they’re demanding to be too high.
As a debtor, you have the right to demand proof that you owe them the money that they’re asking for. You can do this simply through a letter or an e-mail. If you share your doubts or concerns with them, they are bound to reply. Only after you get the assurance about the debt amount, proceed with the repayment.
What to do when you can’t repay?
As it appears, the PRA group is simply not the one to easily give up on chasing a debt. They can be very determined in their pursuit. If you’re deliberately refusing to pay them, you are advised not to do so. It would only get you deeper into trouble. After all, the easiest way to make them stop chasing you is by paying what you owe.
If you’re unable to pay due to a financial problem, there are some additional options available to you. If you let them know about your situation, they might grant you some time. Also, you can get into a payment arrangement.
But, don’t settle for it unless you’re sure you can afford it. As an alternative, you can try getting a debt relief order, though everyone is not eligible for it. If your total debt is more than £5,000, you can also get an IVA. Whatever options you choose, you must never try to avoid paying the debt.