Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, December 2013 & Year in Review

Quick analysis: Well, 2013 is over. And, as expected, FDCPA litigation has decreased for the second year in a row, down 10% over 2012 (which itself was down 7% over 2011). Also expected, TCPA litigation exploded this year, up 69% over 2012. The one surprise in the year-end numbers is that FCRA litigation eked out a small increase (just 1%, but still) over 2012, after spending most of the year down from 2012.

Meanwhile, CFPB complaints against debt collectors seem to have settled into a 1200’ish monthly rate, after exploding out of the gate over the summer. (The best explanation we can come up with for that, by the way, is pent-up demand.)

Our bold prediction for 2014 (don’t hold us to it, though…) is that FDCPA litigation has probably come close to bottoming out and will likely stabilize in the 9k-10k/year area. That assumes a minimum of around 750 lawsuits/month on average, which seems to be where we are now.

2013_12

Year-Over-Year Numbers

2013-year-over-year

Statistics for December 2013:

1254 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1026 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in December 2013. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 1254 CFPB Complaints
  • 767 FDCPA
  • 221 FCRA
  • 173 TCPA

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1026 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 371, or (36.2%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1896 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 144 different US District Court branches.
  • About 881 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 76 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 42 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 35 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 33 Lawsuits: New York Southern District Court – Foley Square
  • 33 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 25 Lawsuits: Florida Southern District Court – Fort Lauderdale
  • 24 Lawsuits: Hawaii District Court – Honolulu
  • 24 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 23 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Newark
  • 23 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 41 Consumers: Roger Y Dewa
  • Representing 40 Consumers: Craig Thor Kimmel
  • Representing 22 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 20 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 20 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 18 Consumers: N James Turner
  • Representing 17 Consumers: Mary Elizabeth Philipps
  • Representing 17 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 17 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 16 Consumers: Tammy L Hussin

Statistics Year to Date:

11962 total lawsuits for 2013, including:

  • 10320 FDCPA
  • 2276 FCRA
  • 1862 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs: 12,601 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 369 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 279 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 235 Consumers: Craig Thor Kimmel
  • Representing 225 Consumers: Daniel A Edelman
  • Representing 210 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 204 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 195 Consumers: Mary Elizabeth Philipps
  • Representing 171 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 171 Consumers: Gary D Nitzkin
  • Representing 169 Consumers: Cathleen M Combs

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 1254 complaints filed against debt collectors in December 2013.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 383

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 357 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (28.5%)
  • 275 Unknown (21.9%)
  • 255 Credit card (20.3%)
  • 156 Medical (12.4%)
  • 63 Payday loan (5%)
  • 42 Mortgage (3.3%)
  • 39 Auto (3.1%)
  • 36 Non-federal student loan (2.9%)
  • 31 Federal student loan (2.5%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 534 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (42.6%)
  • 246 Communication tactics (19.6%)
  • 214 Disclosure verification of debt (17.1%)
  • 97 Improper contact or sharing of info (7.7%)
  • 85 False statements or representation (6.8%)
  • 78 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6.2%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 324 Debt is not mine (25.8%)
  • 167 Frequent or repeated calls (13.3%)
  • 143 Debt was paid (11.4%)
  • 140 Not given enough info to verify debt (11.2%)
  • 63 Right to dispute notice not received (5%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 142 Complaints: CA
  • 119 Complaints: TX
  • 105 Complaints: FL
  • 100 Complaints: NY
  • 54 Complaints: NJ
  • 48 Complaints: PA
  • 44 Complaints: GA
  • 41 Complaints: IL
  • 37 Complaints: VA
  • 36 Complaints: MI

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

  • 815 Closed with explanation (65%)
  • 219 Closed with non-monetary relief (17.5%)
  • 158 In progress (12.6%)
  • 32 Closed (2.6%)
  • 23 Closed with monetary relief (1.8%)
  • 7 Untimely response (0.6%)

This includes 1246 (99.4%) timely responses to complaints, and 8 (0.6%) untimely responses

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 1106 (88.2%) of them, and disputed 148 (11.8%) of them

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 78 Complaints: Tue, 12/10/2013
  • 69 Complaints: Fri, 12/13/2013
  • 69 Complaints: Mon, 12/02/2013
  • 68 Complaints: Tue, 12/17/2013
  • 66 Complaints: Wed, 12/11/2013