Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, April 2015

Quick analysis: It is really starting to look like FDCPA litigation is trending up again in 2015 (+10% over last month). One-third of the way into 2015, FDCPA is solidly up over the same point in time from 2014 (+12.5%) and 2012 (+1.5%). It is still below where it was in 2013 (-7%), a year that started strong then tapered down. It is too soon to predict if this year will be more like 2014/2012 or 2013, but it has definitely been a strong start for consumer litigation in 2015.

FCRA is also up quite a bit for the year (+16.6%) but down a bit from last month (-3.5%). TCPA suffered from a very weak January and February, but shows signs of a strong comeback the last couple of months (+23.9% over last month alone) and it is on the verge of overtaking its YTD position over 2014 (currently -1.7%) if the next month is solid.

Here is a Jan 1-April 30 breakdown for the last five years. 2011 was the last time FDCPA grew over the previous full year.

20150518_jan-apr-comps

If 2015 ends up being the first year that FDCPA litigation grows since 2011 and the FCRA/TCPA explosions continue, we will likely look back on April as the month that everything became clear.

CFPB complaints are down a bit from March (-18.7%), but their fluctuations usually have more to do with the pace of their release rather than the actual complaint filing trends. If the numbers hold, April may singlehandedly undo the strong gains we had seen just a month ago. As it stands today, we have gone from a YTD 3.1% increase through the end of March, to a YTD 1% decrease when you factor in April. My money says that when all of the April complaints work their way through the filters, we will be back in net gain territory though.

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Apr 01 – 30, 2015 Mar 01 – 31, 2015 Apr 01 – 30, 2014
CFPB Complaints  3182 3915 -18.7% 3698 -14.0%
FDCPA lawsuits  1026 933 10.0% 914 12.3%
FCRA lawsuits  249 258 -3.5% 205 21.5%
TCPA lawsuits  270 218 23.9% 241 12.0%
YTD CFPB Complaints  13817 13961 -1.0%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  3750 3333 12.5%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  964 827 16.6%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  905 921 -1.7%

 

Complaint Statistics:

3182 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1322 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in Apr 2015. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3182 CFPB Complaints
  • 1026 FDCPA, 144 Class Action (14.0%)
  • 270 TCPA, 50 Class Action (18.5%)
  • 249 FCRA, 24 Class Action (9.6%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1322 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 440, or (33%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2615 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 157 different US District Court branches.
  • About 1020 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 81 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 62 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 55 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 44 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 43 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 35 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 29 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Newark
  • 28 Lawsuits: Wisconsin Eastern District Court – Milwaukee
  • 27 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn
  • 26 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Trenton

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 35 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 21 Consumers: MARK A ELDRIDGE
  • Representing 20 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 20 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 19 Consumers: SHPETIM ADEMI
  • Representing 17 Consumers: SEYED ABBAS KAZEROUNIAN
  • Representing 16 Consumers: JOHN THOMAS STEINKAMP
  • Representing 16 Consumers: DAVID J PHILIPPS
  • Representing 16 Consumers: JOSHUA B SWIGART
  • Representing 15 Consumers: ANGIE K ROBERTSON

Statistics Year to Date:

4821 total lawsuits for 2015, including:

  • 3750 FDCPA
  • 964 FCRA
  • 905 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2015: 4738 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 98 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 76 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 75 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 67 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 63 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 60 Consumers: MARK A ELDRIDGE
  • Representing 60 Consumers: JAMES O LATTURNER
  • Representing 59 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 58 Consumers: SHPETIM ADEMI
  • Representing 58 Consumers: CATHLEEN M COMBS

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3182 complaints filed against debt collectors in Apr 2015.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 787

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 974 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 700 Unknown (22%)
  • 619 Credit card (19%)
  • 431 Medical (14%)
  • 168 Payday loan (5%)
  • 90 Mortgage (3%)
  • 74 Auto (2%)
  • 70 Non-federal student loan (2%)
  • 56 Federal student loan (2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1355 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (43%)
  • 587 Disclosure verification of debt (18%)
  • 551 Communication tactics (17%)
  • 268 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 214 Taking/threatening an illegal action (7%)
  • 207 Improper contact or sharing of info (7%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 858 Debt is not mine (27%)
  • 368 Not given enough info to verify debt (12%)
  • 336 Debt was paid (11%)
  • 323 Frequent or repeated calls (10%)
  • 188 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 418 Complaints: CA
  • 285 Complaints: TX
  • 284 Complaints: FL
  • 191 Complaints: NY
  • 140 Complaints: GA
  • 131 Complaints: PA
  • 115 Complaints: VA
  • 100 Complaints: MD
  • 93 Complaints: WA
  • 92 Complaints: NJ

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

  • 2066 Closed with explanation (65%)
  • 555 Closed with non-monetary relief (17%)
  • 248 In progress (8%)
  • 170 Untimely response (5%)
  • 116 Closed (4%)
  • 27 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 2947 (93%) timely responses to complaints, and 235 (7%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 0 (%) of them, disputed 302 (9%) of them, and 2880 (91%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 165 Complaints: Thu, 04/16/2015
  • 162 Complaints: Tue, 04/21/2015
  • 157 Complaints: Mon, 04/20/2015
  • 152 Complaints: Tue, 04/14/2015
  • 145 Complaints: Mon, 04/06/2015