Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, March 2015

Quick analysis: March litigation against debt collectors built on a growth trend from the previous month, with all three statutes increasing their month-over-month numbers (FDCPA +3.9%, TCPA +15.5% and FCRA +3.3%) and, except for TCPA, year-over-year (FDCPA +3.2%, TCPA -9.2% and FCRA +6.8%).

Year to date, FDCPA is up 11.9% and FCRA is up 13.8%. TCPA is still a bit down from this time last year, though the difference has narrowed quite a bit over the last month (down 7.4% YTD from 39.9% YTD the previous month) and it appears at this rate TCPA numbers will surge ahead of YTD comps in the next month or two.

Class actions were strong for all three statutes (FDCPA 18.7%, TCPA 11.6% and FCRA +13.8%). Repeat filers represented about 30% of all March litigation.

On to CFPB complaints against debt collectors. As of publication, 3865 complaints were filed against 911 different debt collectors in March. That is up 12.6% over February and 7.2% over the same period last year. These numbers will likely continue to edge up as more complaints go public.

Fun fact: We surpassed 10,000 CFPB complaints against debt collectors YTD on March 26, 2015, versus hitting that milestone on March 28 last year.

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Mar 01 – 31, 2015 Feb 01 – 28, 2015 Mar 01 – 31, 2014
CFPB Complaints  3865 3431 12.6% 3607 7.2%
FDCPA lawsuits  927 892 3.9% 898 3.2%
FCRA lawsuits  253 245 3.3% 237 6.8%
TCPA lawsuits  216 187 15.5% 238 -9.2%
YTD CFPB Complaints  10578 10263 3.1%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  2707 2419 11.9%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  708 622 13.8%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  630 680 -7.4%

Complaint Statistics:

3865 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1272 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in Mar 2015. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3865 CFPB Complaints
  • 927 FDCPA, 173 Class Action (18.7%)
  • 216 TCPA, 25 Class Action (11.6%)
  • 253 FCRA, 35 Class Action (13.8%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1272 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 378, or (30%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1476 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 168 different US District Court branches.
  • About 1029 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 88 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 86 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 41 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 37 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 32 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 29 Lawsuits: Missouri Eastern District Court – St. Louis – Eastern Division
  • 29 Lawsuits: Michigan Eastern District Court – Detroit
  • 28 Lawsuits: Nevada District Court – Las Vegas
  • 25 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Newark
  • 25 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 34 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 25 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 21 Consumers: RICHARD A VOYTAS JR
  • Representing 19 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 19 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 18 Consumers: DANIEL JOHN MCGARRY
  • Representing 18 Consumers: AHMAD TAYSEER SULAIMAN
  • Representing 17 Consumers: DANNY HOREN
  • Representing 16 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 16 Consumers: SHIREEN HORMOZDI

Statistics Year to Date:

3519 total lawsuits for 2015, including:

  • 2707 FDCPA
  • 708 FCRA
  • 630 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2015: 3509 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 94 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 71 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 59 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 56 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 52 Consumers: CATHLEEN M COMBS
  • Representing 52 Consumers: JAMES O LATTURNER
  • Representing 51 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 41 Consumers: DANNY HOREN
  • Representing 39 Consumers: MARK A ELDRIDGE
  • Representing 39 Consumers: SHPETIM ADEMI

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3865 complaints filed against debt collectors in Mar 2015.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 911

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 1188 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 894 Unknown (23%)
  • 675 Credit card (17%)
  • 495 Medical (13%)
  • 244 Payday loan (6%)
  • 113 Mortgage (3%)
  • 105 Auto (3%)
  • 81 Non-federal student loan (2%)
  • 70 Federal student loan (2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1704 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (44%)
  • 713 Communication tactics (18%)
  • 645 Disclosure verification of debt (17%)
  • 335 False statements or representation (9%)
  • 241 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6%)
  • 227 Improper contact or sharing of info (6%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 1086 Debt is not mine (28%)
  • 440 Not given enough info to verify debt (11%)
  • 428 Debt was paid (11%)
  • 416 Frequent or repeated calls (11%)
  • 264 Attempted to collect wrong amount (7%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 506 Complaints: CA
  • 369 Complaints: TX
  • 361 Complaints: FL
  • 215 Complaints: NY
  • 190 Complaints: GA
  • 150 Complaints: OH
  • 133 Complaints: IL
  • 130 Complaints: PA
  • 122 Complaints: NJ
  • 116 Complaints: MD

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

  • 2566 Closed with explanation (66%)
  • 670 Closed with non-monetary relief (17%)
  • 236 In progress (6%)
  • 203 Closed (5%)
  • 157 Untimely response (4%)
  • 33 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 3580 (93%) timely responses to complaints, and 285 (7%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 0 (%) of them, disputed 381 (10%) of them, and 3484 (90%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 194 Complaints: Mon, 03/23/2015
  • 192 Complaints: Tue, 03/24/2015
  • 183 Complaints: Thu, 03/26/2015
  • 180 Complaints: Mon, 03/02/2015
  • 170 Complaints: Tue, 03/10/2015