Read Time 5 Minutes, 20 Seconds

Dealing with PRA Group UK Limited might seem daunting. But here’s the twist, you might not end up paying them a penny in some instances. 

However, turning a blind eye towards their reach outs is not a viable solution either. It’s because your ignorance could lead to severe consequences with time. So, what should you do? Hang on. I’m about to reveal your options…

Charlie Walsh
Last updated on 09 August 2023
Fact Checked

Table of Contents

1. Who are PRA Group Debt Collectors?
2. Are PRA Group Debt Collectors legit?
3. Who are the Debtors of the PRA Group?
4. What is the Reason for Receiving a Debt Notice from PRA Group?
5. Can PRA Group Take You to Court?
6. PRA Group’s Uncollectible Debts
7. Is It Possible for PRA Group to Dispatch Bailiffs?
8. PRA Group Debt Collection Proved My Debt
9. Which Guidelines Does PRA Group UK Need to Adhere To?
10. How Do I Complain About PRA Group?
11. Threats and Harassment you may face from Debt Collection Companies like PRA Group.
12. Portfolio Recovery Feedback
13. How Do I Spot A Scam Debt Collector?
14. What are the things that PRA Group Allowed to Do?
15. Will Debt Collectors Like PRA Write Off Debt?
16. Is My Debt Statute-Barred?
17. Where Can I Get Free Debt Advice?
18. Contact Information for PRA Group’s Debt Recovery Service
19. Exploring Other Debt Collection Agencies
20. Key Points
21. FAQ


Keep in mind you are not the only person who got a debt letter from the PRA group stating you owe them. Yes, it might be a surprise for you if you are seeing this kind of debt letter from them for the first time. But don’t just get panic over it and take a quick action that you might regret in the future.

Who are PRA Group Debt Collectors?

Portfolio Recovery Associates Group Inc. in the short form known as PRA Group Uk. They are one of the largest and most reputed companies in the UK that provide debt collection services. 

The PRA Group usually buys defaulted debts from reputable high street banks and other institutions for a fraction of discounted price of total debt. This discount fraction range starts at 5% and can go up to 45% of the total debt.

Plus, according to their website, they promise not to charge interest or fees while you work with them on your accounts. But we all know sometimes things could go in sideways due to the uniqueness of the debt case. Therefore deal with them cautiously.

They began their debt collection operations in 1996 under the name Aktiv Kapital UK. But now it is a branch of USA PRA Group Inc which has a workforce spanning multiple continents.

In addition to that, PRA Group has memberships in both Credit Services Association (CSA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

These CSA and FCA memberships are necessary if a debt collection agency wishes to operate inside the UK. Hence, they must follow strict regulations and guidelines to secure their memberships in those institutes.

In fact, The PRA Group Debt Collectors is entirely unrelated to the Prudential Regulatory Authority.

Are PRA Group Debt Collectors legit?

Yes, PRA Group is a legitimate company. Below are some of the facts that may help you in verifying their legitimacy.

1. They have registered their business in the UK Companies House under the company name “PRA GROUP (UK) LIMITED” since 2001.
2. The Registered address of PRA Group – Level 11 Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London, England, SE1 9HA.
3. Company Registration No 04267803.
4. They are authorised and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under Reference no 718645.
5. Plus, They have a membership in Credit Services Association (CSA).

PRA Group UK and its collectors operate within the framework of FCA guidelines. They can purchase outstanding debts and, subsequently, work on collecting them. But they can’t impose unfair charges or intimidate you (their debtors). And they must abide by FCA regulations.

Who are the Debtors of the PRA Group?

The debtors of the PRA Group UK could be anyone with unpaid bills or outstanding loans. These debts might originate from various sources, including credit card companies, banks, and even utility firms

But PRA Group is known for focusing mainly on purchasing debts from leading banks and high street lending companies like credit card companies instead of collecting debts for other firms.

They buy these debts often in bulk for a fraction (ranging from 5% to 65%) of their face value and chase the debtor to recover the whole debt. As you can see, they acquire a huge profit for themselves just by recovering the debt.

Here are some of the lenders they have purchased debts from in the past:

  • Lloyds
  • MBNA
  • Instant Cash Loan
  • Barclaycard

What is the Reason for Receiving a Debt Notice from PRA Group?

There can be three reasons for debt collectors like PRA Group could reach out to you.

1. Your Original Creditor has hired PRA Group to chase after you to collect their debt.
2. Your Original Creditor has sold your debts to PRA Group as they are tired of reaching out to you to ask to settle the debt.
3. Simply it’s a mistake. We all are humans. Therefore mistakes can happen due to various reasons. You can call them and tell them about the mistake they have made.

But there is a high probability that PRA Group has also purchased your debts since they focus mainly on purchasing debt. Thus it’s highly unlikely to be the first reason for them to reach out to you.

Plus, there is a small chance for them to contact you by mistake only if the real debtor used to live in your place in the past. 

Therefore the first thing you should do is to collect all your credit history records and check whether you have outstanding debts from a company that the PRA Groups says they bought your debt from. 

Or you can directly reach out to PRA and ask them to prove the debt via a written document that includes your credit agreement with the Original Creditor. 

As you can see, This situation can be surprising, especially if you’re unaware of any outstanding debts. Therefore it’s essential to seek advice or validation before making any payment.

Can PRA Group Take You to Court?

Yes, PRA Group UK has the right to pursue legal action if all other methods of debt collection fail. However, threatening legal action when it’s unlikely to happen is against FCA guidelines.

Keep in mind that taking legal action will be the last resort they are going to use against you. Before that, they will surely come to an agreement on a payment plan if you accept their reach out and get into a reasonable and convincing discussion.

Below are some of the steps they will take if you ignore PRA Group

1. They will send you one last letter titled Letter Before Action (LBA) stating you will have to face in court if you do not respond to them or settle the debt before the due date mentioned in it.
2. Next, they will go to court to take County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you. And the court will grant CCJ if the debts are true.
  • You will be legally responsible for the debt with this CCJ conjugation. And it will last six years in your credit history if you don’t settle the debt before passing 30 days of CCJ receiving.
  • You will find hardships in getting new loans and Credit Cards in the future as this CCJ Conjugation affects your credit history negatively.

The decision to take your debt issue to court is highly likely depends on the amount you owe to them and the worth of going to court (including court charges). Thus every debt case will not end up in court.

PRA Group’s Uncollectible Debts

Your debt could become unenforceable due to various circumstances. It happens when PRA Group cannot secure a CCJ against you. But according to their own website, PRA Group might still try to collect the debt by sending letters or making phone calls even though the debt may be unenforceable.

It’s crucial to be aware that it can still affect your credit score Despite the debt being classified as unenforceable. Therefore, appropriately addressing the situation might be in your best interest. 

We strongly suggest you seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of unenforceable debt. And they will help you understand its potential impact on your financial standing

Remember that staying informed and proactive in managing your debts can help protect your 

1. Creditworthiness 
2. And financial well-being in the long run.

Is It Possible for PRA Group to Dispatch Bailiffs?

No, PRA Group cannot dispatch bailiffs directly as their collecting agents are not bailiffs. For that, They must first take legal action. Even then, they must exhaust all other collection methods before employing bailiffs.

The PRA Group will go to court again to take a warrant or a writ of conduct against you to use enforcement agents (bailiffs) to visit your home and seize your belongings. This could only happen if you ignore the CCJ conjugation that they took against you before.

The seized items of yours will be stored in a warehouse and eventually sold in an auction to recover the total debt and all bailiff’s charges.

PRA Group Debt Collection Proved My Debt

This could take some time, but PRA Group will reply to you via a letter containing documents, including a copy of the initial credit agreement to prove the debt. 

Now it’s a matter of time till you end up settling the debt with them. It’s because they have a higher chance of winning if things get escalated to a court matter due to your ignorance of their reach outs. Thus we strongly suggest you reach out to them. And find out together what your options are in solving this matter.

The easiest way to settle this matter is by paying off the debt and getting done with it. Only then the PRA agents will let you live alone. 

Otherwise, you can discuss with them to get acceptance to the payment plan if your financial situation is not good. Try to speak with them in a way they get convinced enough about how bad your current financial situation is by showing proof. You will surely you will gain acceptance to a good payment plan if you do that.

Keep in mind payment plan is not the only way out of this debt. There are a number of Debt Solutions available in the UK that you can use to get relief in case you were unable to get an affordable plan with them. 

Or you can seek advice from charity debt organisations if you are unable to manage this debt issue. We have mentioned some of those institutes in the later part of this article. Thus keep reading.

Which Guidelines Does PRA Group UK Need to Adhere To?

As a member of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), PRA Group UK is bound by the FCA rules and guidelines to follow when conducting debt collection operations. 

Occasionally, debt collection agencies may exploit debtors’ lack of knowledge to employ prohibited tactics in their efforts to retrieve the money owed.

Here are some fundamental rules in the debt collection industry that you should be aware of:

1. They must allow you sufficient time to seek debt advice and assess your options.
2. They must not engage in frequent or persistent phone calls if you only requested communication through letters.
3. They are prohibited from misrepresenting themselves as bailiffs or having the same authority as bailiffs.
4. They should demonstrate an understanding of your financial difficulties and consider this understanding while proposing suitable repayment plans.
5. They must not intentionally use confusing terminology to deceive you into entering an agreement.

How Do I Complain About PRA Group?

You have the right to lodge a complaint if you believe that PRA Group has acted unreasonably or inappropriately. Similarly, you can file a complaint if you suspect they have violated any of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidelines.

In the first instance, it is advisable to make your complaint to PRA Group headquarters. It will allow them to give an opportunity to address the issue internally. You can escalate the situation if they have not taken your complaint seriously or failed to resolve the matter adequately.

Next, you can approach the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you believe the PRA group has not resolved your complaint. They will conduct an investigation. PRA Group may face fines and may even be forced to give you compensation if your complaint is upheld.

Threats and Harassment you may face from Debt Collection Companies like PRA Group.

Below are some of the unethical practices of Debt Collection Companies like PRA Group have been accused of doing over the past years.

Staff with Incentives and Aggressive Behavior

At times, employees working for debt collection agencies may be driven by additional incentives tied to successfully recovering debts or securing payment plans.

This culture of incentivisation can frequently result in aggressive behaviours displayed by call centre staff. Their aggression may escalate if you decline to make payments or agree to payment plans. They practice these unethical acts to increase the conversion rate of recovering debt. And it increases the potential to earn more money.

Frequent and Harassing Calls

Callers from debt collection agencies can display aggression. And in some instances, they may resort to intimidating tactics like silent calls. The frequency of calls can escalate to the point of harassment. It is considered a criminal offence. 

You should know that it’s entirely unlawful if you are experiencing numerous calls or silent calls that amount to harassment.

To counter this situation, you can take action by sending a letter to PRA Group Debt Collection, explicitly stating that you wish to communicate solely through the mail. 

Once you convey this preference, they are bound by law to respect your decision and must refrain from calling you on certain numbers or at specific times of the day. 

This measure can help reduce unwanted calls and alleviate the stress caused by aggressive or intimidating communication practices held by their agents.

Privacy Laws

There are instances where PRA Group debt collection agents got accused of breaking privacy laws. You can verify this fact by just researching the forum conversations and reviews they have received online. 

Their privacy law violation practices highly include,  

  • Sharing details about your debt 
  • Or disclosing to another individual the fact that you owe them money

Suppose they disclose your PRA debts to family, friends, or colleagues at your workplace. 

In that case, it is essential to take immediate action and complain about this misconduct to both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service

They will investigate the matter and take appropriate actions to address the breach of privacy. And they will ensure your rights are protected.

Pretending to have legal powers they actually do not have

There can be some instances where debt collection agents of PRA Group will visit your home and take possession of your valuable items. But keep in mind debt collection agents are not bailiffs. Thus they do not have legal powers to force entry into your home or possess your belongings.

Even bailiffs need to have a warrant or a writ of conduct when entering a debtor’s home and seizing their personal belongings. Since PRA Group does not have registered bailiffs, they have to outsource bailiffs from another registered bailiffs company. 

Nice Face – Good Cop Bad Cop tactic

There can be instances where you might receive a friendly call from PRA debt collection agents and then suddenly turns to an evil-like aggressive conversation from their end if they feel like you are not up to paying them.

They think to add pressure on you to pay the debt by speaking to you aggressively, as people get scared and end up paying them in some instances. 

Portfolio Recovery Feedback

The PRA Group has been known to take a scattergun approach in their collection attempts. This can feel overwhelming, but remember, you have rights and can report any perceived misbehaviour.

How Do I Spot A Scam Debt Collector?

Keep in mind not every debt-collecting institutes who get in touch with are scammers. But it is always good to be on alert for potential scamming efforts.

Below are some of the general things you could do to verify whether anyone is trying to scam you by stating you owe them.

1. Check whether you really have debts.
2. Check whether you have debts for the Original Creditor that the debt collection agency says you do.
3. Ask the debt collection agency to provide you with the Reference Number of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that their company is registered.
a. They should provide you with this information to verify who they are since all debt collection agencies are authorised and regulated by FCA.
4. Check on the debt letter or ask the caller for the below information when dealing with a debt collection agency.
a. Ask them to identify themselves and about the debt collection agency and the reason for calling,
b. The debt collection company’s formal information,
c. Name of the original creditor,
d. Check how much you owe them,
e. Check how old your debts are.

What are the things that PRA Group Allowed to Do?

As per FCA regulations, PRA Group UK has the right to,

1. Contact you about your debt,
  • They can use communication methods like phone calls, emails, letters and possible home visits in extreme instances where you are not reachable with other reach-out methods.
  • But they are not allowed to enter your home and seize items unless they are not bailiffs with a warrant or a writ of conduct in hand.
2. Offer repayment plans,
  • But you have the option to reject the repayment plan they are suggesting if you cannot afford it.
  • You can seek out other debt solutions available inside the UK if the payment plan they are suggesting is unbearable for you with your current financial status.
3. And take legal action in certain circumstances.
  • We have discussed further about this procedure via a separate subheading above.

However, they cannot impose unfair charges, harass, or threaten you.

Will Debt Collectors Like PRA Write Off Debt?

Yes, there are debt solutions in the UK that you could use to write off your debt fully or partially, which you owe to PRA Group. But you have to fulfil unique conditions in each option to get acceptance for it. 

Below are some of those options that you could try on to get relief. We have in-depth explained articles on each option. Click on the links to learn about them.

Is My Debt Statute-Barred?

Your debts can get a Statute-Barred excuse if the following conditions are met at the same time.

1. Your debts are older than 6 years (5 years in Scotland) since the last day you made a payment.
2. You have not done any provable communication with the PRA Group Debt collection agency within that 6 years period.
3. You have not received any court order about this debt issue within the 6 years mentioned above.

Your debts will not be enforceable in court if your debts fulfil the above three conditions simultaneously. These types of debts are sorted under the Statute-Barred category. Thus, you are not legally responsible for paying this debt if you.

But keep in mind that,

  • Just because your debts are sorted under this category doesn’t mean your credit history will be cleared as well. Getting a statute-barred excuse will impact your credit history negatively. And you will find difficulties in getting new loans and Credit cards in the future if you do not clear your older debts.
  • Not all debts are sorted under the Statute-Barred category. Debts like HMRC Debts will stay enforceable for years to come (decades).
  • Plus, any debt that has a CCJ conjugation within a 5 to 6-year time gap will always be enforceable.

Where Can I Get Free Debt Advice?

It’s better to seek help from debt charity organisations if you are experiencing hardship in dealing with debt collection companies like PRA Group alone. 

Below are some of the reputed debt charity organisations that do their operations inside the UK for individuals like you. 

1. StepChange
2. National Debtline
3. Citizens Advice
4. Debt Advice Foundation.

Their agents will help in finding the best solution to solve your unique debt issue matching your current financial situation.

Contact Information for PRA Group’s Debt Recovery Service

Their contact details are freely available online. Use this information to communicate any disputes, ask questions, or negotiate settlements

Company Name: PRA Group (UK) Limited
Other Names: PRA UK Ltd, PRA Group, Aktiv Kapital, Aktiv Kapital UK Ltd
Numbers they call from 03300 663 689

02033 683 062

02033 683 174

08008 772 772

Phone: 0808 196 5550
Available times:
  • Monday-Thursday: 8 am – 8 pm
  • Friday: 9 am – 5 pm,
  • Saturday: 8 am – 2 pm
SMS: 07860 094994
Email: enquiries@pragroup.co.uk
Website:  www.pragroup.co.uk 

Exploring Other Debt Collection Agencies

PRA Group UK isn’t the only debt collector out there. You might also come across Lowell and Cabot Financial. Therefore make a habit of regularly checking your credit report to ensure you’re aware of all outstanding debts.

Key Points

  • PRA Group UK Limited operates as a legitimate debt collection agency. They purchase debts from major UK banks and lenders often at reduced values. And then pursues total debt from the relevant debtors.
  • There is potential for individuals in the UK to lawfully write off portions of their debt.
  • Upon receiving a letter from PRA Group, it’s advised to request them via a letter to send you written proofs that show you really owe them.  And you have the right to challenge them in court if they are unable to provide proof but keep requesting to pay.
  • PRA Group has the ability to initiate legal action. It could potentially result in receiving a County Court Judgement (CCJ). And ignoring the CCJ could lead to the involvement of bailiffs to reclaim assets through another warrant taken from the court.
  • Resolving debts with PRA Group can be approached through settlement offers,  Debt Relief Orders, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), or asserting a debt as statute-barred if it’s at least six years old.


Is PRA Group a Debt Collector?

Yes, the PRA Group is indeed a debt collector based in the UK. Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PRA Group in the USA. 

Is PRA Group a Debt Management Plan?

It’s easy to confuse the terms, but the PRA Group isn’t a debt management plan. It’s a legitimate debt recovery company. They’re authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the primary independent regulator of financial services companies in the UK.

What does PRA Group doing on your Credit Report?

You might not recognise PRA Group on your credit report. It’s because they buy and collect other companies’ debts. Thus it’s a possibility that your original creditor has sold your debt to PRA Group, which means now you owe PRA Group instead of your original creditor.

What does PRA Group doing on your Credit Report?

You might not recognise PRA Group on your credit report. It’s because they buy and collect other companies’ debts. Thus it’s a possibility that your original creditor has sold your debt to PRA Group, which means now you owe PRA Group instead of your original creditor.
PRA Group bulk buys “bad debts” from finance companies and collects defaulted accounts on behalf of major institutions like MBNA, Barclays, Barclaycard and others.

How Does PRA Group Make Money?

PRA Group Debt Collection purchases debts from other businesses for less than their value. They then pursue the individuals who owe money to pay the total debt back. This is how they turn a profit.

What is PRA in Banking?

Don’t confuse PRA in banking with PRA Group. In banking, PRA refers to the Prudential Regulation Authority. The Bank of England prudentially regulates and supervises financial services firms through this entity.

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