Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, May 2015

Quick analysis: Consumer litigation is definitely shaking things up this year. And TCPA is having a really bad year.

All year the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has alternated between lagging behind last year’s numbers and plummeting from them. It has just not been able to catch up to the explosive growth from 2014, and now in May 2015, it is standing at a total of 1067 cases for the year to date, down nearly 10% from 1175 at the same point last year.

So where did that 10% go? Let’s take a look at Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) litigation which – against all odds – is up nearly 12% over last year with 4683 cases over 2014’s 4192 cases at this point. Other than a slight bump in 2013 (which disappeared in subsequent months), FDCPA has been on a downward trend since 2011 (until now, that is…).

To round things out, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) litigation is growing slowly but steadily over last year’s record numbers. With 1212 suits filed through the end of May, it is up nearly 15% over 2014’s 1056 at this point.

Here is a chart that shows the progression of each of the three statutes over the last five years, for Jan 1 – May 31.

jan-may-fdcpa-fcra-tcpa-comparison

On Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints, the number appears to be down a bit from the previous month, but up a bit from this time last year. We usually see around a 2% bump in CFPB complaints in the weeks ahead as the rest of them make their way through the system and become public.

For May 2015, about 37% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes. Class actions were relatively high, with 15.9% for FDCPA, 10% for TCPA and 16.4% for FCRA.

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
May 01 – 31, 2015 Apr 01 – 30, 2015 May 01 – 31, 2014
CFPB Complaints  3279 3392 -3.3% 3210 2.1%
FDCPA lawsuits  917 1037 -11.6% 821 11.7%
FCRA lawsuits  238 254 -6.3% 218 9.2%
TCPA lawsuits  160 271 -41.0% 226 -29.2%
YTD CFPB Complaints  17317 17171 0.9%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  4683 4192 11.7%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  1212 1056 14.8%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  1067 1175 -9.2%

 

Complaint Statistics:

3279 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1091 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in May 2015. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3279 CFPB Complaints
  • 917 FDCPA, 146 Class Action (15.9%)
  • 160 TCPA, 16 Class Action (10.0%)
  • 238 FCRA, 39 Class Action (16.4%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1091 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 404, or (37%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2196 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 136 different US District Court branches.
  • About 735 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 75 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 56 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 55 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 51 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Central Islip
  • 48 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Newark
  • 41 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 39 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 39 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 31 Lawsuits: New Jersey District Court – Trenton
  • 29 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 57 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 33 Consumers: AMY LYNN BENNECOFF GINSBURG
  • Representing 26 Consumers: DAVID M BARSHAY
  • Representing 22 Consumers: ARI HILLEL MARCUS
  • Representing 22 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 21 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN
  • Representing 19 Consumers: MARK T LAVERY
  • Representing 17 Consumers: DANNY HOREN
  • Representing 17 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 17 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER

Statistics Year to Date:

5931 total lawsuits for 2015, including:

  • 4683 FDCPA
  • 1212 FCRA
  • 1067 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2015: 5720 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 108 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 93 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 92 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 91 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 80 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 79 Consumers: AMY LYNN BENNECOFF GINSBURG
  • Representing 75 Consumers: MARK A ELDRIDGE
  • Representing 75 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 73 Consumers: JOHN D BLYTHIN
  • Representing 71 Consumers: ARI HILLEL MARCUS

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3279 complaints filed against debt collectors in May 2015.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 799

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 1015 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 665 Unknown (20%)
  • 617 Credit card (19%)
  • 533 Medical (16%)
  • 181 Payday loan (6%)
  • 103 Mortgage (3%)
  • 81 Auto (2%)
  • 42 Non-federal student loan (1%)
  • 42 Federal student loan (1%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1377 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (42%)
  • 644 Disclosure verification of debt (20%)
  • 544 Communication tactics (17%)
  • 272 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 225 Improper contact or sharing of info (7%)
  • 217 Taking/threatening an illegal action (7%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 842 Debt is not mine (26%)
  • 427 Not given enough info to verify debt (13%)
  • 415 Debt was paid (13%)
  • 327 Frequent or repeated calls (10%)
  • 195 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 417 Complaints: CA
  • 325 Complaints: TX
  • 308 Complaints: FL
  • 175 Complaints: NY
  • 136 Complaints: GA
  • 123 Complaints: IL
  • 109 Complaints: OH
  • 99 Complaints: VA
  • 98 Complaints: PA
  • 93 Complaints: NJ

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

  • 2222 Closed with explanation (68%)
  • 512 Closed with non-monetary relief (16%)
  • 228 In progress (7%)
  • 163 Untimely response (5%)
  • 124 Closed (4%)
  • 30 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 3032 (92%) timely responses to complaints, and 247 (8%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 0 (%) of them, disputed 327 (10%) of them, and 2952 (90%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 209 Complaints: Tue, 05/19/2015
  • 197 Complaints: Wed, 05/20/2015
  • 171 Complaints: Tue, 05/12/2015
  • 164 Complaints: Thu, 05/14/2015
  • 158 Complaints: Wed, 05/27/2015