Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, April 2014

Quick analysis: Overall, it was a fairly strong month for consumer complaints. FDCPA litigation had a rare rally, with an 8% increase at 947 lawsuits (over 875 the previous month, which itself was a strong number). It was not enough to decrease the YTD decline over 2013, but that is primarily because April 2013 was also a very strong month with 1140 lawsuits filed. FCRA was a bit down, but TCPA dominated the month by officially overtaking FCRA as the #2 category in raw numbers, after FDCPA.

CFPB complaints were also strong, tracking just a bit lower (1%) than the previous month. However, if the pattern holds with CFPB complaint, that number will continue to rise over the coming weeks and will probably turn into an increase by this time next month.

Litigation Statistics:

3582 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1257 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in April 2014. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3582 CFPB Complaints
  • 947 FDCPA
  • 235 TCPA
  • 213 FCRA

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1257 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 453, or (36%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2289 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 167 different US District Court branches.
  • About 906 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 75 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 54 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 49 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 41 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 39 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis
  • 37 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 37 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 32 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn
  • 25 Lawsuits: Florida Southern District Court – Miami
  • 23 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 73 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 28 Consumers: John Thomas Steinkamp
  • Representing 27 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 27 Consumers: Michael Anthony Eades
  • Representing 23 Consumers: Robert Knox Tinkham
  • Representing 19 Consumers: Mark D Mailman
  • Representing 18 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 18 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 17 Consumers: Todd M Friedman
  • Representing 16 Consumers: Mario Kris Kasalo

Statistics Year to Date:
4111 total lawsuits for 2014, including:

  • 3294 FDCPA
  • 908 FCRA
  • 802 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs: 4339 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 254 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 101 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 75 Consumers: John Thomas Steinkamp
  • Representing 74 Consumers: Michael Anthony Eades
  • Representing 65 Consumers: Todd M Friedman
  • Representing 60 Consumers: Erikson M Davis
  • Representing 56 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 53 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 52 Consumers: Adam Jon Fishbein
  • Representing 46 Consumers: Joshua B Swigart

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3582 complaints filed against debt collectors in April 2014.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 741

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 994 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (27.7%)
  • 748 Credit card (20.9%)
  • 743 Unknown (20.7%)
  • 347 Medical (9.7%)
  • 304 Payday loan (8.5%)
  • 172 Mortgage (4.8%)
  • 104 Auto (2.9%)
  • 91 Non-federal student loan (2.5%)
  • 79 Federal student loan (2.2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1321 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (36.9%)
  • 714 Communication tactics (19.9%)
  • 637 Disclosure verification of debt (17.8%)
  • 332 False statements or representation (9.3%)
  • 300 Improper contact or sharing of info (8.4%)
  • 278 Taking/threatening an illegal action (7.8%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 802 Debt is not mine (22.4%)
  • 458 Not given enough info to verify debt (12.8%)
  • 440 Frequent or repeated calls (12.3%)
  • 392 Debt was paid (10.9%)
  • 256 Attempted to collect wrong amount (7.1%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 454 Complaints: CA
  • 359 Complaints: FL
  • 338 Complaints: TX
  • 241 Complaints: NY
  • 145 Complaints: OH
  • 134 Complaints: IL
  • 134 Complaints: NJ
  • 127 Complaints: PA
  • 122 Complaints: GA
  • 99 Complaints: VA

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

  • 2396 Closed with explanation (66.9%)
  • 582 Closed with non-monetary relief (16.2%)
  • 305 In progress (8.5%)
  • 130 Untimely response (3.6%)
  • 112 Closed (3.1%)
  • 57 Closed with monetary relief (1.6%)

This includes 3300 (92.1%) timely responses to complaints, and 282 (7.9%) untimely responses

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 3043 (85%) of them, and disputed 539 (15%) of them

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 184 Complaints: Wed, 04/23/2014
  • 176 Complaints: Tue, 04/29/2014
  • 166 Complaints: Thu, 04/10/2014
  • 164 Complaints: Thu, 04/17/2014
  • 164 Complaints: Mon, 04/07/2014