Off to the Races…Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, Feb 2016

Quick analysis:

The horse race – while a little less interesting than that other horse race going on in American politics right now – is just starting to heat up for the year. There are few February surprises in consumer complaints, as the big picture trends are pretty much on track from January numbers.

There are exceptions, however. One exception to the above is TCPA litigation. While it is still moving in the same direction as January (up), it seems to be moving significantly more aggressively than everything else.

The other noteworthy exception is FCRA litigation. Down 32.5% in the January stats, it has fought its way back to positive territory with a 1.5% increase in the February. Despite the slow start, FCRA litigation is still way up over 2015.

In February, FDCPA is up 6.2% over January. FCRA is up 1.5%. And TCPA is up 16.5%.

Year to date, FDCPA is actually down 12.5% over 2015. FCRA is up 20.6%. And TCPA is running away from 2015 – up a whopping 55.2%.

CFPB complaints against debt collectors are up nominally in Feb over Jan, just .6%. YTD CFPB complaints against debt collectors are down 14.8%. As always, expect those to go up a bit in the weeks to come as the data continues to trickle in.

It is waaaay too early to call anything. But if I was forced to handicap this race, I would say TCPA litigation is in for another banner year while FDCPA fights to keep up with 2015 and FCRA coasts somewhere between those two.

Fun Facts:

  • For February 2016, 37% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes.
  • About 1053 different companies were sued, up 26.7% over the 831 last month. And 752 different debt collectors were complained about to the CFPB, practically identical to last month’s 748 (but remember the caveat about more data trickling in).
  • The percentage of suits filed as putative class actions were mixed, with 20.7% for FDCPA, 32.2% for TCPA and 15.2% for FCRA.
  • California attorney Todd M. Friedman represented the most consumers for the month with 51, and YTD with 80.
Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Feb 01, 2016
Feb 29, 2016
Jan 01, 2016
Jan 31, 2016
Feb 01, 2015
Mar 01, 2015
CFPB Complaints  2968 2949 0.6% 3483 -14.8%
FDCPA lawsuits  802 755 6.2% 913 -12.2%
FCRA lawsuits  277 273 1.5% 249 11.2%
TCPA lawsuits  395 339 16.5% 216 82.9%
YTD CFPB Complaints  5917 6763 -12.5%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  1557 1844 -15.6%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  550 456 20.6%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  734 473 55.2%

 

Complaint Statistics:

2968 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1276 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Feb 01, 2016 to Feb 29, 2016. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 2968 CFPB Complaints
  • 802 FDCPA, 166 Class Action (20.7%)
  • 395 TCPA, 127 Class Action (32.2%)
  • 277 FCRA, 42 Class Action (15.2%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1276 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 473, or (37%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2433 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 161 different US District Court branches.
  • About 1053 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 95 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 62 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 57 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 46 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 39 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 37 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis
  • 37 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn
  • 36 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Southern Division – Santa Ana
  • 34 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 32 Lawsuits: Arizona District Court – Phoenix

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 51 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 29 Consumers: PAUL JONATHAN SIEG
  • Representing 29 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 27 Consumers: ADRIAN ROBERT BACON
  • Representing 25 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 24 Consumers: ALAN J SASSON
  • Representing 22 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 22 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN
  • Representing 20 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 19 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN

Statistics Year to Date:
2404 total lawsuits for 2016, including:

  • 1557 FDCPA
  • 550 FCRA
  • 734 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2016: 2405 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 80 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 51 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 50 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN
  • Representing 50 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 50 Consumers: PAUL JONATHAN SIEG
  • Representing 44 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 44 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 44 Consumers: ADRIAN ROBERT BACON
  • Representing 34 Consumers: DENISE L MORRIS
  • Representing 34 Consumers: MARK A ELDRIDGE

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 2968 complaints filed against debt collectors from Feb 01, 2016 to Feb 29, 2016.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 752

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 921 Other (i.e. phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 549 Credit card (18%)
  • 544 I do not know (18%)
  • 514 Medical (17%)
  • 131 Payday loan (4%)
  • 112 Mortgage (4%)
  • 71 Auto (2%)
  • 67 Non-federal student loan (2%)
  • 59 Federal student loan (2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1229 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (41%)
  • 688 Disclosure verification of debt (23%)
  • 447 Communication tactics (15%)
  • 235 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 189 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6%)
  • 180 Improper contact or sharing of info (6%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 735 Debt is not mine (25%)
  • 455 Not given enough info to verify debt (15%)
  • 366 Debt was paid (12%)
  • 269 Frequent or repeated calls (9%)
  • 180 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 405 Complaints: CA
  • 295 Complaints: TX
  • 268 Complaints: FL
  • 195 Complaints: NY
  • 160 Complaints: GA
  • 107 Complaints: PA
  • 106 Complaints: NJ
  • 104 Complaints: VA
  • 83 Complaints: OH
  • 81 Complaints: IL

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

  • 2968 (100%)

This includes 2753 (93%) timely responses to complaints, and 215 (7%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 2560 (86%) of them, disputed 408 (14%) of them, and 0 (%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 199 Complaints: Wed, 02/17/2016
  • 174 Complaints: Thu, 02/11/2016
  • 157 Complaints: Tue, 02/02/2016
  • 149 Complaints: Tue, 02/23/2016
  • 145 Complaints: Thu, 02/18/2016