Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, February 2014

Quick analysis: In February we are seeing some volatility in CFPB filings against debt collectors, with a fairly dramatic drop from 3121 in January (amended up about 5% from the 2975 complaints we were able to report last month) to 2513 in February. That is 19.5% lower. The three fewer days in February are not enough to explain the drop, though it is reasonable to expect that the final February total will rise a bit to further close the gap (but not enough to make this much less dramatic). This emulates a decrease in overall CFPB complaint filings across all categories last month with 9725 filed in February vs. 12,231 filed in January (a 25.7% drop).

In litigation, FDCPA lawsuits ticked up in February a bit over 10%, but is still down a considerable 21% over this time last year (keep in mind this is only two months of data…).  FCRA is down a bit (2.6%, not particularly significant) and TCPA is up a bit (6.7%, also not particularly significant). Both FCRA and TCPA are up YTD though, 20% and 35% respectively.

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Litigation Statistics:

2513 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1102 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in February 2014. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 2513 CFPB Complaints
  • 784 FDCPA
  • 186 FCRA
  • 222 TCPA

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1102 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 405, or (36.8%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1955 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 167 different US District Court branches.
  • About 798 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 73 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 43 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 36 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 35 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 34 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 33 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 27 Lawsuits: Michigan Eastern District Court – Detroit
  • 26 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 26 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 25 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 60 Consumers: Erikson M Davis
  • Representing 54 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 21 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 21 Consumers: Todd M Friedman
  • Representing 20 Consumers: Mark D Mailman
  • Representing 18 Consumers: John Thomas Steinkamp
  • Representing 18 Consumers: Michael Anthony Eades
  • Representing 14 Consumers: Adam Jon Fishbein
  • Representing 14 Consumers: Nicholas J Bontrager
  • Representing 13 Consumers: Bret Leon Lusskin

Statistics Year to Date: 1883 total lawsuits for 2014, including:

  • 1493 FDCPA
  • 377 FCRA
  • 430 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs: 2007 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 109 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 60 Consumers: Erikson M Davis
  • Representing 48 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 32 Consumers: Michael Anthony Eades
  • Representing 32 Consumers: John Thomas Steinkamp
  • Representing 28 Consumers: Todd M Friedman
  • Representing 27 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 25 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 24 Consumers: Matthew Jon Militzok
  • Representing 24 Consumers: Bret Leon Lusskin

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 2513 complaints filed against debt collectors in February 2014.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 548

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 682 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (27.1%)
  • 557 Credit card (22.2%)
  • 541 Unknown (21.5%)
  • 266 Medical (10.6%)
  • 183 Payday loan (7.3%)
  • 91 Mortgage (3.6%)
  • 67 Non-federal student loan (2.7%)
  • 65 Federal student loan (2.6%)
  • 61 Auto (2.4%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1033 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (41.1%)
  • 492 Communication tactics (19.6%)
  • 406 Disclosure verification of debt (16.2%)
  • 222 False statements or representation (8.8%)
  • 206 Improper contact or sharing of info (8.2%)
  • 154 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6.1%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 678 Debt is not mine (27%)
  • 311 Frequent or repeated calls (12.4%)
  • 287 Not given enough info to verify debt (11.4%)
  • 242 Debt was paid (9.6%)
  • 176 Attempted to collect wrong amount (7%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 354 Complaints: CA
  • 242 Complaints: TX
  • 220 Complaints: FL
  • 144 Complaints: NY
  • 103 Complaints: PA
  • 100 Complaints: OH
  • 94 Complaints: GA
  • 88 Complaints: NJ
  • 77 Complaints: VA
  • 75 Complaints: IL

The status of the month’s complaints are as follows:

  • 1679 Closed with explanation (66.8%)
  • 441 Closed with non-monetary relief (17.5%)
  • 261 In progress (10.4%)
  • 69 Closed (2.7%)
  • 37 Untimely response (1.5%)
  • 26 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 2457 (97.8%) timely responses to complaints, and 56 (2.2%) untimely responses

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 2156 (85.8%) of them, and disputed 357 (14.2%) of them

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 147 Complaints: Thu, 02/13/2014
  • 142 Complaints: Thu, 02/06/2014
  • 138 Complaints: Tue, 02/11/2014
  • 134 Complaints: Wed, 02/19/2014
  • 132 Complaints: Mon, 02/10/2014