This article was written by Lemberg Law staff, and reviewed by Sergei Lemberg, the managing attorney of Lemberg Law.
Pioneer Credit Recovery or PCR is a third-party collection agency based in New York that specializes in collecting debts for government agencies and student loan providers. PCR has received consumer complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including improper sharing of information and making false statements. If you have been contacted by PCR, make sure you understand your rights before responding.
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They’re legit. There are three notices of government action on the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) profile page for Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc. According to the BBB, PCR is a legitimate collection agency founded in 1985 and incorporated in 2001. The BBB established PCR’s profile page in 1988. PCR is listed as a collection agency and credit service. The BBB lists 11 alternate phone numbers for PCR. Buzzfile estimates PCR’s annual revenue at $77.5 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 1,100 employees.
According to its website, PCR“is a national leader in the collection industry providing collection services on defaulted debt.”Pioneer Credit Recovery is owned by Navient Corporation, a financial corporation that specializes in servicing student loans issued by the federal government. PCR handles “billions in portfolios…and recovers a broad spectrum of debt for all levels of government: from federal agencies, to cities, to hundreds of counties.”
PCR’s “collection methodology utilizes focused and proven skip-tracing, account segmentation and calling strategies on…clients’ portfolios.” PCR’s “sophisticated portfolio analysis strategies, effective negotiation techniques, and… mission alignment” help them collect “the most money for their collection partners in the shortest time possible.”
Pioneer Credit Recovery provides collection services to three major shareholders: federal, state, and city government agencies; delinquent debt accounts for the court system; and tax amnesty. PCR’s government division “is a leading provider of collection services…across the nation and…has a wealth of experience in non-tax government collections.” Their court debt division “offers superior collection performance to county and municipal governments for the collection of court fines and fees.” PCR’s tax amnesty division “has led several tax amnesty efforts by states to increase tax collection.”
PCR’s Quality Control page indicates adherence “to the highest ethical standards” and the use of “multiple layers of accountability and risk management across all departments of the organization.” However, their website does not provide any links or references to consumer protection resources, laws, or enforcement agencies.
Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm
Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of collection harassment and abuse. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. We’ve helped more than 15,000 consumers stop harassment and recover money from debt collectors. Harassed? Abused? Misled by a collector? Call our Helpline today! There is no charge unless we win.
The BBB has posted 3 separate notices of government action against Pioneer Credit Recovery. There is also a statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to cancel their contract with PCR due to allegations they “weren’t engaging in fair and straightforward practices in compliance with Federal and State laws.” In addition, the BBB has closed 261 complaints against PCR in the preceding 3 years, with 42 complaints closed in the past 12 months. The majority of these complaints alleged problems with customer service, with 85 of the complaints alleging problems with billing and collections. Since March 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has received 68 complaints about PCR. Justia lists at least 20 cases of civil litigation involving PCR.
Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc.
26 Edward St.
Arcade, NY 14009
Telephone: (800) 836-2442
It is illegal for a debt collector to make empty threats to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely PCR would sue you for a debt you may not owe or they cannot validate. However, debt collection agencies are known to have summoned debtors to court and garnish wages after a default judgement. Contacting an attorney BEFORE this could possibly happen would be a smart move. We’ve helped thousands of consumers fight back against unscrupulous debt collection harassers. Find out if we can help you too today!
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Unlawful Debt Harassment? Learn the Law & Sue the Collector.
Absolutely. You can sue a debt collector. Here is a Sample Case Filed in Federal Court:
Currently, there are three pending actions of civil litigation against PCR “formally brought by a government agency … that have not yet been resolved.”
Two cases were brought by the State Attorneys General of Illinois and Washington. The third case was brought by the CFPB on behalf of the federal government. In January 2017, the Illinois Attorney General “filed a lawsuit against Navient Corporation, its subsidiaries Navient Solutions Inc., Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc., and General Revenue Corporation and Sallie Mae Bank, over widespread abuses across all aspects of its business, including student lending, student loan servicing, and student loan debt collection.” Also in January 2017, the Washington State Attorney General filed a lawsuit claiming the “business is in violation of state law prohibiting violations of the Consumer Protection Act, relating to the origination, servicing and collection of student loans. (Those practices included improperly steering financially distressed students toward short-term for bearances, engaging in aggressive and misleading collection tactics, and more.)” In response, PCR alleges all the charges are “unfounded, and that the timing of these lawsuits—at midnight…on the eve of a new administration—reflects their political motivations.”
The third action was filed by the CFPB. In a 66-page indictment, the CFPB has alleged widespread fraud and abuses by Navient and its subsidiaries, including violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA); the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Charges include allegations that Navient and its subsidiaries routinely steered borrowers to repayment plans they knew would result in higher costs to borrowers; deliberate misadministration of payment processing and repayment program enrollment; deliberate misreporting of credit information to the credit reporting agencies; deliberately misinforming borrowers about credit reporting practices and collection fees; routine payment processing errors; and other deceptive and unfair practices that often resulted in financial gain to Navient and its subsidiaries. PCR posted a response to this action that also denied wrongdoing and accused the CFPB of being motivated by politics.
Details of these complaints, including the entire 66-page indictment from the CFPB, can be found under the Alerts & Actions tab on the profile page for Pioneer Credit Recovery on the BBB website.
Here are some past Press Releases of Lawsuits Brought On By Lemberg Law in Federal Court
October 10, 2015. On behalf of our client, Lemberg Law recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The case, against Pioneer Credit Recovery, charges the debt collection agency with violating federal law and asks for $1,000 in statutory damages, plus other relief.
It can be unnerving to be on the receiving end of collection calls. But when the debt isn’t one that you incurred, having a debt collection company call you is simply wrong. Our client says that PCR started calling his cell phone to try and collect a debt supposedly owed by his wife. More than once, our client explained that he wasn’t responsible for the debt and asked them to stop calling his cell phone. PCR didn’t honor his request, and kept calling anyway.
The lawsuit charges that Pioneer Credit Recovery violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; and by using unfair and unconscionable means to collect a debt.
Federal laws protect you. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates the behavior of collection agencies by prohibiting actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; harassment; or the use of false or misleading information to collect a debt. The FCRA regulates how collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).
Consumers have reported this agency harassing them from the following numbers:
Can I sue PCR for harassment?
Yes. If you want to enforce your rights, or recover money for violations — you need to sue. Federal laws provide individuals like you with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers who have been violated to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
You may have a case, if…
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies.
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are receiving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
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