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resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Pioneer Credit Recovery — not willing to help
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Just received a letter that this outfit has attached my tax refund using the Federal Management System in Birmingham, AL. Suspected a defaulted SBA loan from 7 years ago on a business that went bad. We paid off all our bills save two, one a credit card that was written off by the credit card company (my wife took the points hit), and the SBA loan, which we got half paid off, ran out of money, and they sent us a letter saying it was zeroed out. 5.5 years go by. Eighteen months ago we did a dance with NCO Collections out of NJ trying to recollect on the credit card, and after some letters, (all certified, return receipt required), and presentation of a notarized copy of the write off letter from the credit card company along with a cease and desist letter, we prevailed.
These PCR guys are a whole different level. We are not lushes, we went out and borrowed as much as we could and paid off our debts, (took 5 years), but when SBA sent us a zeroed letter 7 years ago we figured OK, we'll take the credit hit and let's move on. Apparently not so...
My wife called PCR once, she is a professional debt collector herself for over 6 years now. She was floored at their immediate vilolations. All they wanted was our full SSN numbers. Not a chance. She held her ground only giving the last four and a name, they put on the "supervisor" (usually at the call center there is a floating higher level collector with more years experience - not a supervisor - they call it a twinteam), and he came on and they did the dance four more times and he terminated the call. The letter we got doesn't even say what the debt is, just that it has been attached to my tax refund. It was mailed from Alabama. Calls to the Federal Management System in Birmingham does no good, they give out PCR info and tell you to call them.
Pioneer is NOT a part of any federal agency, they have a contract with some, Dept of Ed, SBA, and a couple others. They are hired to collect for them. These are not government employees, they are just another collection house that is currently doing pretty well.
After talking to my Accountant, we did the following: Pull your credit report. We had not in a year, so I went to www.annualcreditreport.com, the government free reporting service. It took about 25 minutes to get all three, using their easy prompts. In my case, the SBA loan does not even show up, but a couple account inquiries do on collections. This knowledge is power. PCR has not been one of them so they are simply running on a case number presented by the FMS in Birmingham. My Accountant also suggested that we pull both of ours, so we will do my wife's this week, although the letter from PCR only shows my name.
Their insistance on getting my full SSN from my wife shows us that they have basically case numbers, which Federal Management Systems in Birmingham said to use the same number as what was on the letter. That letter was sent by FMS in Alabama, NOT from PCR. So they need the SSN to get to your full information. My next event will be to send a registered/return receipt required letter demanding PCR disclose the information they claim to have. They will have 30 days to respond. There is a chance they do not, since they were so adamant at getting their hands on my SSN. Their agreement may include a provision that the Federal Management System in Birmingham puts on the attachment. But any reasonable collection agency can work with the last four digits of an SSN and a name. This tells me that these guys are not fully informed and are working a contract with the Feds. They may be given a case file, an amount and type of loan, and maybe a name. The government cannot just willy-nilly give out all your information to anyone, unless the entire PCR corporation has undergone background checks with the feds. Somehow I doubt it.
If you have an SBA loan you have defaulted on, unless you can prove they zeroed it, you are in for a ride. PCR says they attach the tax return, but my letter came from a federal agency in Birmingham who attached. It did not have the name of PCR on it, I had to call Birmingham to get the name of PCR. But know that you need to stay with letters, certified, return receipt required, and do not do anything by phone. My wife and I thought that doing the dance with NCO Collections was a trip - PCR is a whole 'nother league. That's why they are currently the number one collector for the Feds, an astounding 33%, where others are often around 13%. And remember that knowledge is power, and if you can, pay off the damn debt. In my case, they won't even tell me how much it is, even if I wanted to write them a check today. I simply refuse to give my full SSN over a phone. All I am asking for is a reasonable conversation where I can make arrangements. Not this prison-like, mushroom treatment where I am kept in the dark. That is the path to a treadmill. Well, fine. I will use the power of the Fair Credit Act and the USPS, Certified, Return Receipt Required.