Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, October 2013

Note: Starting this month, we are offering CFPB complaint statistics against debt collectors.

Quick analysis: This month, we begin including statistics from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s database on complaints filed about debt collectors. And the lead story is…. consumer complaints plummeted in October, after steadily increasing over the first three months. Scroll down to see the data. As for an explanation, well, we don’t have one yet. Since this is the first data we have seen, we’ll have to keep watching to spot the trends. It may be as simple as the lag time between complaints being filed and responded to before they are reported. We should be a little smarter in time for next month’s statistics.

As for litigation, the trend continues with FDCPA and FCRA filings on the decline, (8% YTD and 2% YTD, respectively). In a rare departure from the trends, TCPA also declined this period, though it is still up 66% over this time last year.

 

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Litigation Statistics:

About 983 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in October 2013. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 800 FDCPA
  • 207 FCRA
  • 162 TCPA

Summary:

  • Of those cases, there were about 1088 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 356, or (32.7%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1854 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 141 different US District Court branches.
  • About 841 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 60 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 44 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 37 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 37 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 35 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis
  • 30 Lawsuits: Michigan Eastern District Court – Detroit
  • 30 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 27 Lawsuits: Minnesota District Court – Dmn
  • 26 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 24 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 43 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 28 Consumers: John Thomas Steinkamp
  • Representing 28 Consumers: Michael Anthony Eades
  • Representing 26 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 21 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 18 Consumers: Daniel A Edelman
  • Representing 15 Consumers: Angie K Robertson
  • Representing 15 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 15 Consumers: Mary Elizabeth Philipps
  • Representing 14 Consumers: David J Syrios

Statistics Year to Date:

10285 total lawsuits for 2013, including:

  • 8914 FDCPA
  • 1873 FCRA
  • 1483 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs: 10856 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 296 Consumers: Sergei Lemberg
  • Representing 245 Consumers: David Michael Larson
  • Representing 201 Consumers: Daniel A Edelman
  • Representing 195 Consumers: Craig Thor Kimmel
  • Representing 178 Consumers: David J Philipps
  • Representing 171 Consumers: Mary Elizabeth Philipps
  • Representing 169 Consumers: Jody Berke Burton
  • Representing 152 Consumers: Cathleen M Combs
  • Representing 152 Consumers: Gary D Nitzkin
  • Representing 147 Consumers: James O Latturner

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

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There were 1186 complaints filed against debt collectors in October 2013.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 346

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 378 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (31.9%)
  • 275 Unknown (23.2%)
  • 259 Credit card (21.8%)
  • 127 Medical (10.7%)
  • 51 Mortgage (4.3%)
  • 34 Non-federal student loan (2.9%)
  • 30 Auto (2.5%)
  • 30 Federal student loan (2.5%)
  • 2 Payday loan (0.2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 485 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (40.9%)
  • 244 Communication tactics (20.6%)
  • 233 Disclosure verification of debt (19.6%)
  • 82 False statements or representation (6.9%)
  • 80 Improper contact or sharing of info (6.7%)
  • 62 Taking/threatening an illegal action (5.2%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 322 Debt is not mine (27.2%)
  • 181 Not given enough info to verify debt (15.3%)
  • 156 Frequent or repeated calls (13.2%)
  • 125 Debt was paid (10.5%)
  • 61 Attempted to collect wrong amount (5.1%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 163 Complaints: CA
  • 104 Complaints: TX
  • 98 Complaints: FL
  • 92 Complaints: NY
  • 47 Complaints: NJ
  • 46 Complaints: AZ
  • 45 Complaints: GA
  • 41 Complaints: PA
  • 34 Complaints: VA
  • 31 Complaints: SC

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

  • 751 Closed with explanation (63.3%)
  • 241 Closed with non-monetary relief (20.3%)
  • 127 In progress (10.7%)
  • 29 Closed with monetary relief (2.4%)
  • 25 Closed (2.1%)
  • 13 Untimely response (1.1%)

This includes 1156 (97.5%) timely responses to complaints, and 30 (2.5%) untimely responses

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 1022 (86.2%) of them, and disputed 164 (13.8%) of them

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 78 Complaints: 10/22/2013
  • 74 Complaints: 10/31/2013
  • 72 Complaints: 10/17/2013
  • 71 Complaints: 10/18/2013
  • 58 Complaints: 10/29/2013