A weird experience

Received a letter in my mailbox to someone today. The return address was

Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC
PO Box 12914
Norfolk, VA 23541

The letter was clearly written to someone with a very similar name who also studies at the University of Nebraska. The address on the enelope was a combination of his address and mine (I’ve received junk mail for him before) and, being a good guy, I called up the kind people are PRA at 1-800-772-1413 at about 10:30 AM today (Portfolio Recovery Associates, so I am informed, is affiliated to Anchor Receivables Management by common ownership). I believe they were contracted by HSBC / Ameritech.

The first person I talked to, Curtis, was rude, hostile, and threatening. He asked me if it was a crime to receive someone else’s mail (?), and demanded to know my Social Security number. I asked to talk to his “supervisor,” who I assume is another worker on the floor. The second person was more straight forward. He asked to know the last four digits of my SSN, which I refused to give (?). He then read me the addressee’s last four digits, and asked if I that was my number (I responded “no”). I informed him of the error, and how Nebraska has sorted mail wrong in the past, and he thanked me for his time.

3 thoughts on “A weird experience”

  1. I had the same problem once. In my case, they kept calling and mailing me thought, even after I informed them it wasn't me they were looking for.

    So, I called their regional VP for operations, whose information I found on D&B's Million Dollar Database. She thanked me for the information, told me she was deeply concerned with the behavior of the call center, and promised that I would not be disturbed again. She made good on her promise.

    Now, imagine if you were actually the person they were looking for. People have been known to kill themselves after being hounded (and in some cases even threatened) by collectors. This is why congress passed laws to protect us from that kind of harassment. But still, these unethical practices continue (though no where near the same extent).

  2. That's why I hate calling credit card companies and even my health insurance group … the representatives on the phone often don't understand (or refuse to understand?) the fact that I'm not going to say my SSN over the phone.

  3. Having worked in collections, I'm sympathetic to people who are regularly lied to by dead beats… but breaking the law — all to intimidate someone who called up to help! — isn't a moral way to do business.

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