Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, November 2013

Quick analysis:  November confirmed what has been fairly clear all year – FDCPA and FCRA litigation against debt collectors is declining, while TCPA is expanding. It looks like 2013 will end with FDCPA down around 10% over 2012 and FCRA down nominally, while TCPA continues its aggressive growth with near-70% growth over last year. Caveat… early 2014 will likely bring some adjustments that may tighten these stats up a bit (new years usually do). Even so, FDCPA is now in its second year in a row of significant decline, FCRA is still plateaued and TCPA is skyrocketing. There is currently no reason to believe 2014 will significantly change any of those trends.

On the CFPB complaint front, we saw complaints rise from 1197 in October to 1262 in November (a 6% increase). One big question that has been answered is whether the lag time between a consumer filing a complaint and the CFPB reporting a complaint was causing the statistics to be significantly inaccurate at our time of reporting. The answer is… no. While there were a few complaints (11, actually) that snuck into the database for October after we reported last month, it is not enough to cause concern. So last month’s big news of a plummet in reported complaints stands, and this month we saw some movement (slight as it is) to begin to close that gap. We still don’t know why the drop, but we do know it is accurate.

On to the data…

November 2013 Litigation Data (scroll down for CFPB data)

litigation-2013_11_nov

Litigation Statistics:

About 960 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in November 2013. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 684 FDCPA
  • 186 FCRA
  • 205 TCPA

Summary:

  • Of those cases, there were about 960 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 324, or (33.8%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1734 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 146 different US District Court branches.
  • About 759 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 62 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 36 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 34 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 32 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn
  • 28 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 25 Lawsuits: Hawaii District Court – Honolulu
  • 25 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 24 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 21 Lawsuits: Florida Southern District Court – Fort Lauderdale
  • 19 Lawsuits: Michigan Eastern District Court – Detroit

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 51 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 43 Consumers: Roger Y Dewa
  • Representing 22 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 16 Consumers: Tammy L Hussin
  • Representing 15 Consumers: Mark D Mailman
  • Representing 15 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 13 Consumers: Matthew Jon Militzok
  • Representing 11 Consumers: Shpetim Ademi
  • Representing 11 Consumers: John D Blythin
  • Representing 11 Consumers: Gary D Nitzkin

Statistics Year to Date:

11,092 total lawsuits for 2013, including:

  • 9560 FDCPA
  • 2048 FCRA
  • 1679 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs: 11,663 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 348 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 258 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 211 Consumers: Daniel A Edelman
  • Representing 197 Consumers: Craig Thor Kimmel
  • Representing 191 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 186 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 179 Consumers: Mary Elizabeth Philipps
  • Representing 163 Consumers: Gary D Nitzkin
  • Representing 159 Consumers: Cathleen M Combs
  • Representing 154 Consumers: James O Latturner

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

cfpb-2013_11_nov

There were 1262 complaints filed against debt collectors in November 2013.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 355

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 368 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (29.2%)
  • 290 Unknown (23%)
  • 254 Credit card (20.1%)
  • 120 Medical (9.5%)
  • 59 Payday loan (4.7%)
  • 46 Mortgage (3.6%)
  • 43 Federal student loan (3.4%)
  • 43 Non-federal student loan (3.4%)
  • 39 Auto (3.1%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 527 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (41.8%)
  • 260 Communication tactics (20.6%)
  • 190 Disclosure verification of debt (15.1%)
  • 108 Improper contact or sharing of info (8.6%)
  • 105 False statements or representation (8.3%)
  • 72 Taking/threatening an illegal action (5.7%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 349 Debt is not mine (27.7%)
  • 173 Frequent or repeated calls (13.7%)
  • 134 Not given enough info to verify debt (10.6%)
  • 122 Debt was paid (9.7%)
  • 79 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6.3%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 161 Complaints: CA
  • 105 Complaints: FL
  • 103 Complaints: TX
  • 79 Complaints: NY
  • 62 Complaints: GA
  • 51 Complaints: NJ
  • 47 Complaints: PA
  • 46 Complaints: OH
  • 42 Complaints: MD
  • 40 Complaints: VA

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

  • 812 Closed with explanation (64.3%)
  • 228 Closed with non-monetary relief (18.1%)
  • 157 In progress (12.4%)
  • 48 Closed (3.8%)
  • 17 Closed with monetary relief (1.3%)

This includes 1262 (100%) timely responses to complaints, and  (0%) untimely responses

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 1116 (88.4%) of them, and disputed 146 (11.6%) of them

The top five days for complaints were:81 Complaints: 11/13/2013

  • 72 Complaints: 11/25/2013
  • 72 Complaints: 11/05/2013
  • 66 Complaints: 11/14/2013
  • 64 Complaints: 11/19/2013