Debt recovery is the process of pursuing payments of debts that are owed by individuals to either health insurance companies, banks, credit card companies, or any other creditor.
Most debt collection companies operate as agents of the creditors, and they collect debts for a fee or a percentage of the total amount owed. Some go a step further and buy the debt at a subsidized rate, then, later on, collect the debt and make a profit.
The process of debt collection is not a pleasant one, as you must spend time on the phone calling client after client, begging them to pay up what they owe.
Sometimes, these calls tend to be aggressive in a way that the client on the other end will not appreciate, and may end up in court if they feel that their rights as consumers have been violated, and they have been treated with disrespect.
This review seeks to delve deep into the debt recovery process. I shall tell you how the company operates, what you should do when you receive that first phone call from Performant Recovery, how you should proceed, and most importantly, your rights as a consumer.
There are laws which have been put in place to help protect you from harassing phone calls from debt collectors. It essential for you to know what these laws are and how to get out of a bad situation in case you find yourself in one.
Let’s get started.
Is Performant Recovery a legit company?
Yes. It is a legitimate debt collection company.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Performant Financial Corporation is a legit collection agency that was founded and incorporated in California in 1976. They, however, started operations in 1981, so they have been in the business close to 38 years.
Their headquarters is located in Livermore, CA.
According to Buzzfile, the company has at least five affiliates that operate under them. Performant Financial Corporation which is one of its affiliates is listed as a management series company with an estimated revenue of $159.4 million, which makes it one of the most successful debt recovery companies in the country.
Performant Recovery Inc. has a revenue of $31.5 million.
Performant Technologies Inc. has a revenue of $36.6 million.
These are all business names that Performant operates under. The company can call you using any of these alternate names. They all refer to the same company, and the information above shows just how successful they are.
All the businesses are located at their Livermore headquarters. The company has 671 employees working for them.
Their mission statement on their company website says, “They want to be the best in maximizing revenue, quality and cost integrity for the clients they serve.”
Performant offers healthcare division and debt collection for clinical audits, fraud analytics, and data mining.
Their commercial division features a first and third-party collection service and customer care call center outsourcing. They also have a government division that focuses on delinquent student loans and other tax obligations.
How many complaints have been made against Performant Recovery?
The BBB has closed more than 245 complaints that have been lodged against Performant Financial Corporation in the last three years. 36 of these cases were closed in the last 12 months, and most of the complaints have been made against the company in regards to advertising and sales.
The remainder is mostly split between collections and billing.
As of March 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has managed to close more than 105 complaints against Performant, and Justia lists at least five civil litigation cases that name Performant as the defendant.
Performant Financial Corporation:
333 North Canyons Pkwy,
Suite 100 Livermore, CA 94551
Tel: (866) 256-0057
Are you receiving harassing phone calls from Performant Recovery Inc.?
If you have been receiving persistent phone calls from this company, you need to understand that there are federal laws to protect you. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed by congress to regulate the behavior of collections agencies and to prohibit actions such as the following:
Receiving calls before 8 am or after 9 pm, or any other time you have explicitly told them not to call you.
Talking to others about you.
Calling your place of work when you had advised them not to do so.
Use of profane language or any other harassing or abusive language.
Threatening you with violence, arrest, or a lawsuit.
Attempting to collect more than you owe.
Threatening you with a negative credit reporting.
Use of automated robocalls on your phone in an attempt to collect from you.
If the company has violated your rights by use of any of the above methods to collect from you, you may have a case and can sue for damages.
Furthermore, the FDCPA regulates how the collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to the reporting agencies, and they have stipulated rules and regulations on how they are supposed to act when they contact you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a legislation that was passed by Congress to regulate the debt collection industry. This act consists of laws and guidelines that all debt collections agencies must follow to ensure that they do not violate the rights of the consumer.
Here are some of their rules on debt collectors:
They prohibit the use of harmful and unfair tactics when trying to collect a debt.
They should not contact anybody who is not the main person that owes the debt.
They shouldn’t threaten you with referral to an attorney, wage garnishment, or harm your credit without an actual intent or act on the threat.
They should not call you at unreasonable times, such as before 8 am, or after 9 pm.
They should not contact you at your place of work if you have specifically asked them not to do so.
They should not place calls to inform on you to your employer or disclose any aspect of your debt to others.
They should not use profane or obscene language during their calls.
They should not send collection letters which appear to be from a government office or a court.
They should not threaten to arrest you if the debt remains unpaid.
In short, it says debt collectors are required to be honest, up-front, and not deceptive. Additionally, it says debt collectors are supposed to treat you with that modicum of respect and dignity that every human being deserves. And yes, the FDCPA is violated just about as often as our drug laws in this country.
What to do when Performant Recovery Company contacts you
Do not pay
The first contact they make with clients is through sending one or more threatening letters. As debt collectors, they use all sorts of sneaky and shady tactics to get in touch with people they believe owe their creditors money.
Now, here’s the thing; when you receive a letter from Performant Recovery, it may not belong to you at all. These debt collection agencies scour the internet, online databases, and phone books looking for addresses of everyone with the same name as you, and then they start sending them threatening letters. They send these to everyone!
So, just because you have received a letter from a collection agency, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a valid claim against you, and it may be completely erroneous.
Remember that they usually purchase debt from other companies, and they can easily get mixed up. They may not have proper documentation either, or they may be contacting the wrong person altogether.
So what should you do?
You should request for a debt validation.
This simply means that they should be able to prove that the debt belongs to you.
A debt verification letter is a letter that you send after the collector has sent you a debt validation letter.
If you are uncertain about the debt you are being asked to pay, you can send them a debt verification letter which should request them to provide you with more information. This option is best when you are planning to pay off the debt.
Once Performant Recovery Inc., receives your verification request, they are required to provide you with the information you need and any accompanying documentation within 30 days. This documentation should contain your signature, to verify that you owe the money indeed; otherwise, you shall not be liable to pay the debt.
The document they should send to you is the debt validation letter.
This is a letter that proves to you that the debt is valid. They should include all documents, paperwork, and evidence that proves this debt is yours. This paperwork will also show you all the details about the account, including who the original lender or creditor was, the dates of account activity, the total balance, and much more.
If they fail to validate your debt, then in compliance with the FDCPA, you’re no longer legally responsible for payment, which means that this debt is legally forgiven. Further, they’re supposed to contact all three credit bureaus to have them remove collections from credit report files, concerning this account.
How long do you have?
If Performant Recovery is successful in validating your debt, you should the take time to review the paperwork in great details. This will include looking for your last date of account activity and ensure that you are not legally responsible for repayment forever.
The state law regulates the exact amount of time you are legally responsible for repaying a debt. This is called a statute of limitations. It does vary state by state, and if you want to know the full details of your law, then you need to check out your local legislation.
Generally, the required length of time is seven years from the last activity on that account. Once this time window runs out, then following the statute rules, the debt is legally forgiven. In other words, what we are saying is that your responsibility on the debt ends there.
This is also the time in which the debt is removed from your credit report.
If your account has been validated, and it is within the statute of limitations, the next step you should take is to negotiate for a settlement agreement directly with Performant Recovery. It is advisable to do this in writing in two parts;
First: you will need to negotiate to pay less than the total debt balance. Often, you shall be able to pay as little as 15% or up to 45% of the debt balance. The exact amount will depend on the type of debt you have in collections and how old it is.
Second: The second part of the agreement is extremely critical. In exchange for your payment, Performant Recovery must agree to stop reporting the account to the credit bureaus, to ensure that it doesn’t appear on your credit report and mess up your credit score.
Deleting the negative entry from your credit report
This is the dispute step that I had mentioned earlier. For the negative item to be removed entirely from your credit report, you must engage some dispute procedures which will lead to a cleanup of your report.
To do this, we’ll need to exercise more of your consumer rights, this time, those granted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Here are some blog posts I have written before on this topic.
Finding the right way to deal with debt collectors is better than engaging in a cat and mouse chase which you will most definitely lose, especially if they have enough evidence to prove that you are indeed the owner of the debt.
Making use of the above repair companies is a wise decision, as they will do the job for you, which involves negotiations and coming to an understanding with the debt collectors.
Ensure to keep your finances updated, which includes paying up your debts as soon as they become due, as this will help protect you from the nasty business of debt collections, which leaves most consumers with a bitter taste in their mouth.
Finally, try as much as you can to live within your means, to ensure that you do not enter into debt because this is a situation that is very easy to get into and quite challenging to get out of.
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