Batman v. Superman… v. Wonder Woman? Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, Mar 2016

Quick analysis: Batman v Superman… v Wonder Woman?

March 2016 saw the big three statutes (FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA) battling for supremacy in a month where they could all be considered winners. Making, of course, the collection industry the big loser. This stinker of a month will earn bad reviews from everyone but the consumer bar.

Filings for all three statutes in March were up by double digits over February, with FDCPA up the most at 23.6%, FCRA next at 20.6% and TCPA bringing up the rear, up 16.6%.

By contrast, last month (February over January) was much more modest. While all were up, the increases were only 4.2% (FDCPA), .7% (FCRA), and 12.1% (TCPA)

For the year to date, FCRA and TCPA are both way up, 24.3% and 68.6% (!!) respectively. FDCPA is still down for the year (-7.6%), but by much less than it was last month (when it was down 13.9% over the previous month), meaning it gained significant ground with March’s strong showing. Another month like March, and FDCPA will be in easy striking distance of positive territory for the year again.

A special note for TCPA: It is evident from this month, more so than ever before, that TCPA is not finished evolving into the existential threat it is ultimately destined to be. TCPA is this report’s Batman. These numbers should strike fear into the hearts of everyone who dials for a living. Note the 84.8% increase in TCPA plaintiffs over the same month last year, in addition to the other impressive increases listed in this report.

CFPB complaints are still having trouble keeping up with 2015. While they are currently down a bit (-2.5%) from last month, when all of the complaints are counted it will probably more or less level out. However, that will do little to make up for the fact that CFPB complaints are running around 10% behind their numbers from 2015.

Fun Facts:

  • For March 2016, 36% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes.
  • About 1012 different companies were sued, down 4% over the 1053 last month. And 760 different debt collectors were complained about to the CFPB, about 1% higher than last month’s 752 (but remember the caveat about more data trickling in).
  • The percentage of suits filed as putative class actions were mixed, with 18.6% for FDCPA, 13% for TCPA and 8.4% for FCRA.
  • Georgia attorney Matthew Thomas Berry represented the most consumers for the month with 40, and California attorney Todd M. Friedman has represented the most consumers YTD with 100.
Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Mar 01, 2016
Mar 31, 2016
Feb 01, 2016
Feb 29, 2016
Mar 01, 2015
Mar 31, 2015
CFPB Complaints  3229 3241 -0.4% 3910 -17.4%
FDCPA lawsuits  1001 810 23.6% 960 4.3%
FCRA lawsuits  334 277 20.6% 257 30.0%
TCPA lawsuits  462 397 16.4% 250 84.8%
YTD CFPB Complaints  9436 10628 -11.2%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  2588 2802 -7.6%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  886 713 24.3%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  1213 720 68.5%

 

Complaint Statistics:

3229 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1472 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Mar 01, 2016 to Mar 31, 2016. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3229 CFPB Complaints
  • 1001 FDCPA, 186 Class Action (18.6%)
  • 462 TCPA, 60 Class Action (13.0%)
  • 334 FCRA, 28 Class Action (8.4%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1472 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 534, or (36%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2823 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 171 different US District Court branches.
  • About 1012 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 126 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 67 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 63 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 52 Lawsuits: Nevada District Court – Las Vegas
  • 49 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 44 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Newark
  • 41 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 41 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 39 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Southern Division – Santa Ana
  • 35 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 40 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 37 Consumers: PAUL JONATHAN SIEG
  • Representing 34 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 33 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 33 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 28 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN
  • Representing 25 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 22 Consumers: CATHLEEN M COMBS
  • Representing 22 Consumers: JAMES O LATTURNER
  • Representing 22 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN

Statistics Year to Date:
3927 total lawsuits for 2016, including:

  • 2588 FDCPA
  • 886 FCRA
  • 1213 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2016: 3801 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 100 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 90 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 87 Consumers: PAUL JONATHAN SIEG
  • Representing 84 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 78 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN
  • Representing 70 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 66 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 56 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 53 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 53 Consumers: ADRIAN ROBERT BACON

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3229 complaints filed against debt collectors from Mar 01, 2016 to Mar 31, 2016.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 767

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 1001 Other (i.e. phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 617 I do not know (19%)
  • 598 Credit card (19%)
  • 550 Medical (17%)
  • 142 Mortgage (4%)
  • 118 Payday loan (4%)
  • 83 Auto (3%)
  • 62 Federal student loan (2%)
  • 58 Non-federal student loan (2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1384 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (43%)
  • 685 Disclosure verification of debt (21%)
  • 508 Communication tactics (16%)
  • 261 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 203 Improper contact or sharing of info (6%)
  • 188 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 829 Debt is not mine (26%)
  • 463 Not given enough info to verify debt (14%)
  • 352 Debt was paid (11%)
  • 329 Frequent or repeated calls (10%)
  • 207 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 448 Complaints: CA
  • 323 Complaints: FL
  • 272 Complaints: TX
  • 174 Complaints: NY
  • 155 Complaints: GA
  • 123 Complaints: IL
  • 104 Complaints: VA
  • 95 Complaints: OH
  • 87 Complaints: TN
  • 84 Complaints: MD

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

  • 3229 (100%)

This includes 2979 (92%) timely responses to complaints, and 250 (8%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 2935 (91%) of them, disputed 294 (9%) of them, and 0 (%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 168 Complaints: Thu, 03/17/2016
  • 161 Complaints: Wed, 03/02/2016
  • 151 Complaints: Wed, 03/16/2016
  • 151 Complaints: Thu, 03/10/2016
  • 147 Complaints: Thu, 03/24/2016