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We are PRA, a global leader in the purchase, collection, and management of portfolios of nonperforming loans. In other words, we specialize in debts that are deemed unrecoverable. Assuming we'd acquired a twenty-year-old unpaid debt a week ago. As per our understanding, that particular account would be considered as if it were a one-week-old outstanding debt, and therefore it could be perceived as though it is retrievable. Should the debtor be John Smith, we shall attempt to contact any individual with the same name. In addition to some other subjects with similar names, such as Joan Smither, Jack Smythe and including Tom Smith. We may be unaware of your identity, but we firmly believe that you are the debtor in question. For this reason, feel free to disclose personal information with us. We have nothing but praise for our telecom operators, all of which shall remain nameless, every single one of those companies has been extremely accommodating to us thus far. To be frank, we truly value their services, as we've greatly benefited from their collaboration. We'd highly recommend them to any entity, legal or otherwise, that requires the use of a different phone number each week and needs to make thousands of calls per day. In anticipation of your cooperation, we'd like to say "Thank You", and we look forward to receiving your Payments. At your convenience, we do accept Major Credit Cards! To be totally honest, we could never have been in business for so long without customers such as yourself. So again "Thank You". And as a show of appreciation, we'd like to leave you with this: Debt happens. Celebrating twenty years of helping customers find an affordable way to become debt-free.
**Important Information Concerning Debt Collection Practices in Ontario**If you live in Ontario and this company (the PRA Group or any other debt collector) is attempting to contact you by phone and you have not received a letter from them – the company is breaking the law in Ontario. You can call or file a consumer complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario) at 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768. Tell Consumer Protection Ontario that you have not received a letter from the debt collector but are receiving harassing phone calls. If the debt collector has your phone number they have your address.Debt collectors are breaking the law when they:• Attempt to contact you by phone without first sending a written notice by regular mail one week in advance• Contact you on a Sunday, except between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.• Contact you on any other day of the week between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.• Contact you on a holiday• Use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language• Use undue, excessive or unreasonable pressure or harass you• Pretend to be the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) or claim the police will be involved• Charge you any feesIf any of these apply to your experience with the PRA Group (or any debt collector) – you can call or file a consumer complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario) at 416-326-8800 or 1-800-889-9768.The PRA Group are junk debt buyers who purchase very old debts that have been written off and/or covered by insurance. They buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of alleged junk debt in bulk packages from credit card companies, banks, financial institutions, retailers, creditors, other junk debt buyers etc. for fractions of a penny on the dollar. (It is important to remember that once the statute of limitations has passed on a debt, it is legally uncollectable, making the alleged debt worthless.) These junk debt buyers are literally trying to get something for nothing. For example, let’s say they paid 10 dollars for that alleged 10,000 dollar debt - even if they paid 100 dollars- the alleged debt is worthless because the statute of limitations has passed. It is important to understand the junk debt buyer is paying far less than 1% of the value they claim an alleged debt is worth. That’s a 99% plus discount on the commodity they buy. (Talk about moral turpitude and a complete negation of transparent and ethical business practices.) So, any monies they collect are basically pure profit. The PRA Group and other junk debt buyers are counting on you not knowing the law or your rights.All of the alleged debts the PRA Group buy are past the Statute of Limitations, meaning they cannot be collected by using any legal proceedings (i.e. they cannot take you to court once the Statute of Limitations has passed). The statute of limitations in Canada varies from province to province and range from 2 years in Ontario to 6 years in other provinces.The Federal and Provincial Governments have Limitation Acts which provide a limit on the time an unsecured debt can be pursued by legal proceedings. If an unsecured debt is not collected, or payments are not made on the unsecured debt within these time limits, then legal action cannot be taken by the creditor or a collection agency. Only admitting to the debt in writing OR making payments on a debt resets the statute of limitations.The debt collector’s goal is to reset the statute of limitations on these junk debts - so they can collect the debt in the full amount including years and years of interest. Do not get caught in this scam.Debt collectors will push the boundaries of the law (even breaking the law) and still try to collect by using simple harassment techniques like calling from many different phone numbers, over and over for long periods of time. They will make false threats gambling on the fact that less than 3% of individuals they call do not know the law or their rights. They seem to believe that by calling over and over that you will eventually give in and pay something even if you don’t owe any money. These behaviours are simply called harassment. It is illegal in Ontario for debt collectors to harass anyone. So, if you have been called many times from more than one number and not received a letter from the debt collector, received threats, or been told the police or the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) are going to be involved – you can report them to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario). Note: The Canada Revenue Agency will always send a letter. Police will never be involved because not paying a debt is not a crime.As of January 1, 2018, third-party collectors or anyone who has purchased overdue debts and is attempting to collect them, must follow, and are bound to the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act. The company must have a licence to collect debt in Ontario issued by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario). Also, any person working for a debt collection agency -such as the person calling you on the phone to collect debt - must also individually be registered by the province of Ontario to collect debt.Before a collection agency can contact you they need to send you a written notice through regular mail (email doesn’t count).This notice must include:• the name of the person or business that says you owe them money (known as the creditor)• the amount of money that the creditor says you owe• the name of the collection agency and a statement that the creditor has asked them to collect the debtAfter sending the notice, the agency must wait 6 days before they can contact you in person or by phone.Again, if you are receiving calls from a debt collector without first receiving a letter, please consider contacting the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario) and filing a grievance.After the debt collectors’ first conversation with you, an agency cannot contact you more than 3 times in a 7-day period without your consent.Do NOT pay the company (or give them any personal information) as it can result in a resetting of the statute of limitations. Paying a collection agency will make the debt worse by extending the statute of limitation and increasing the time a debt is on your credit report. Never just pay a collection agency.It is important to note that statute of limitation can be reset. Limitations begin when a cause of action arises, this is typical the date of last activity or the date of last payment, therefore if you have a bad debt and you start making payments, the statute of limitations resets.So what can you do?• You can just not answer your phone. However, they will keep calling. They may give up, sell or trade the debt with other junk debt buyers.• You can block the calls, although they will just call from a new number again and again.• You can help others in the community by listing numbers they have called from (on forums like this) for others to add to their phone block lists.• Because they can only call three times a week, answer the call and say, “that’s call number one”, and hang up. They will most likely call back right away. Answer the next call and say, “that’s call number two” and hang up. The next time they call; inform them, “This your third call this week. If you call back before the 7 days have passed, I will report you to Consumer Protection Ontario.” Take pictures of you call history as evidence to send to Consumer Protection Ontario.• Call them back and ask for their name and Ontario registration number to collect debt. Then ask them “how they feel about being harassed and being called repeatedly.”Hang up and call back again. Do this repeatedly until they block your number.• Try to record the phone conversation so you can play the recording for Consumer Protection Ontario.You can fight back:Any unsecured debt that is past the Provincial Statute of Limitation is not collectable. Tell the collector that you are ‘disputing the debt” and to not contact you over the phone again.If they have not sent a letter, ask for:• the address of the business (the collector), and contact phone number(s)• the business’ licence number issued by the province of Ontario to collect debt• the name of the person contacting you and their Ontario Registration Number to collect debt (this is a different number from the business licence)• The debt collectors account number of the alleged debt associated with you – the debtor. (Get this so when you dispute the debt - the debt collector cannot use the excuse they contacted you by mistake.)• Send a registered “cease and desist” letter stating that you “dispute the debt” and suggest that the matter be taken to court. Include the name of the business and any individual collector(s) and their registration number(s) you spoke to over the phone in the letter. Since the debt is past the statute of limitations, they will have to leave you alone. (*Make sure the Statue of Limitations has passed.)If a debt collector ignores you, makes threats or continues phone harassment, then file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario). Include copies of any relevant documents and pictures of phone numbers from your call display or call history. Consumer Protection Ontario can fine and/or revoke the debt collector’s licence.If, for some reason, you really want to understand the debt further, send them a debt verification letter. This is a letter that basically asks:1. what the total debt amount is, identifying “the principle” amount separately from the “interest”2. A detailed calculation as to how that debt was incurred, including detailed interest calculations3. Provide a copy of the documented signatory evidence (the original contract with your signature) of your commitment to this obligation, with the complete contract, indicating the section or clause stating the debt was allowed to be sold to a third party4. Prove they have the authority to collect the debt5. Prove they are licensed to collect the debt6. Provide a copy of any judgment if any7. Identify the original creditor.8. Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired.9. Give them 30 days to reply10. Advise them to send all future communication in writing11. Advise them that any unqualified action may result in legal consequences for which you will use all remedies available at law to protect yourself.12. If they cannot verify the debt, they are obligated to clear your record, and inform all three credit bureaus to remove any delinquent or negative reports pertaining to said account.13. The above is consistent with the provincial and federal law.14. Include: THIS LETTER IS FOR VERIFICATION PURPOSES. I AM NOT AKNOWLEDGING NOR; DENYING ANY DEBT UNTIL I AM SATISFIED I AM LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO PROVIDE PAYMENT. THIS INCLUDES SATSIFACTION OF ALL LIMITATION PERIODS.It will show them you are serious, and want to understand the debt before you are obligated to pay.Check your credit report to see if they have looked at it without your consent. Companies MUST have your consent to check your credit report. If they have checked your credit report without your consent they have broken the law and you can pursue legal action by taking them to small claims court. After you file in small claims court, just show up in court with a copy of your credit report, show the judge and you win. You may also contact the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario) and inform them or the collectors’ illegal activities.This letter is intended for informative and educational purposes only. Learn your rights and understand the laws in your province. It is ultimately up to you to educate and protect yourself!Note: You are not alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of people in Ontario are being illegally harassed, and threatened daily by junk debt collectors. Never just pay a debt collector. Fight back and notify the authorities of their illegal behaviour. The more people that call and file complaints with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Ontario (Consumer Protection Ontario) about junk debt collector’s non-compliance with the law, the sooner the law will be applied to junk debt collectors.**Please copy and repost this information anywhere you think it can help others**