Everything is Broken: Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, Oct 2015

Quick analysis: Everything is broken. For the first time since Sept 2011, consumer litigation under all of the big three statutes (FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA) are up over the previous month AND up year-to-date. For the month, FDCPA is up +5.4%, TCPA is up +29.8% and FCRA is up +15.1%.

This year has been emblematic of an environment where litigation continues to evolve in lurches, keeping us guessing about where it is really headed.

2015 Pattern is set: FDCPA

With ten months of 2015 behind us, however, the patterns (if not the numbers) seem pretty well set for the year. For the first time in several years, overall consumer litigation is up dramatically.

This is thanks in no small part to FDCPA suits unexpectedly catching fire this year, up more than 1200 suits (+14.5%) over this time in 2014. For context, FDCPA was down compared to the previous year at this point in 2014 by -5.5%, in 2013 by -7.6% and in 2012 by -6.9%. The last time litigation under FDCPA’s grew, in 2011, there was a gain over 2010 of +12.2% at this point in the year.

FCRA

FCRA is doing its part as well, up nearly 800 suits which works out to a dramatic +39% increase over this time last year. It has been up at this point in each of the past four years, +7.5% in 2014, +.5% in 2013, +13.8% in 2012 and +41.8% in 2011. The last time it was down was in 2010, -5.0% at this point in time over the previous year.

TCPA

One statute we cannot give much credit to for the big increase is TCPA. In fact, for much of the year it looked like TCPA – after several years of strong growth – would actually decline. TCPA’s YTD numbers have recovered due to the combination of a strong October and a weak few months at the end of 2014. Now up almost 200 suits (+8.7%) over this time last year, TCPA seems to have avoided the likelihood of a decline.

For context, TCPA was up compared the previous year at this point in 2014 by +45.9%, in 2013 by +69.4%, in 2012 by +55.3%, in 2011 by +116.2% and in 2010 – the first year we have comprehensive numbers – it grew +618.9%. So this year’s +8.7% seems pretty anemic by comparison.

YTD Comparisons

If you add up all of the instances of litigation filed under the big three consumer statutes over the last five years, you’ll see how consistent the numbers have been (until now). At this point in each of the last several years, the total number of FDCPA, FCRA and TCPA allegations in litigation were in the mid-12,000’s (2011 had 12,574; 2012 had 12,408; 2013 had 12,304 and 2014 had 12,653). This year, we are more than 2200 suits above the highest prior year with 14,857.

YTD-Oct31_Total_Litigation-2001-2015

CFPB

CFPB complaints against debt collectors plummeted this month, dropping a whopping 19.9% in October. That brings us to a point where we are only 1.7% above last year’s complaint figure. As always, expect this number to go up a few points in the coming weeks as new complaints trickle into the public record, but even so this message seems clear: Barring significant changes in the process, CFPB complaints against debt collectors have leveled out.

Fun Facts: 

  • For October 2015, about 38% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes.
  • About 819 different companies were sued, and 703 different debt collectors were complained about to the CFPB.
  • Class actions were high across the board, with 19.1% for FDCPA, 26.1% for TCPA and a low 17.3% for FCRA.
  • The Illinois Northern District Court in Chicago once again had the most litigation filed in it, with 73 consumers represented in litigation there. California had the most CFPB complaints against debt collectors, with 355.
  • Attorneys Jeffrey Hyslip and David Menditto with law firm Hyslip & Taylor represented the most consumers for the month with 46, and attorney Craig Sanders has represented the most year to date, with 252

 

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Oct 01, 2015
Oct 31, 2015
Sep 01, 2015
Sep 30, 2015
Oct 01, 2014
Oct 31, 2014
CFPB Complaints  2535 3166 -19.9% 3233 -21.6%
FDCPA lawsuits  918 871 5.4% 964 -4.8%
FCRA lawsuits  382 332 15.1% 241 58.5%
TCPA lawsuits  314 242 29.8% 192 63.5%
YTD CFPB Complaints  34088 33512 1.7%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  9629 8410 14.5%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  2828 2035 39.0%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  2400 2208 8.7%

 

Complaint Statistics:

2535 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1313 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Oct 01, 2015 to Oct 31, 2015. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 2535 CFPB Complaints
  • 918 FDCPA, 175 Class Action (19.1%)
  • 314 TCPA, 82 Class Action (26.1%)
  • 382 FCRA, 66 Class Action (17.3%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1313 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 494, or (38%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1914 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 149 different US District Court branches.
  • About 819 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 73 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 64 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 52 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 48 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 43 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 42 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 40 Lawsuits: Arizona District Court – Phoenix
  • 33 Lawsuits: California Northern District Court – San Jose
  • 31 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Southern Division – Santa Ana
  • 31 Lawsuits: Nevada District Court – Las Vegas

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 46 Consumers: DAVID M MENDITTO
  • Representing 46 Consumers: JEFFREY HYSLIP
  • Representing 27 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN
  • Representing 27 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 27 Consumers: AHMAD TAYSEER SULAIMAN
  • Representing 20 Consumers: DENISE L MORRIS
  • Representing 20 Consumers: ELLIOT WAYNE GALE
  • Representing 19 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 19 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 18 Consumers: JAMES O LATTURNER

Statistics Year to Date:

12223 total lawsuits for 2015, including:

  • 9629 FDCPA
  • 2828 FCRA
  • 2400 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2015: 11488 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 252 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 199 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 172 Consumers: CRAIG THOR KIMMEL
  • Representing 167 Consumers: AMY LYNN BENNECOFF GINSBURG
  • Representing 165 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 164 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN
  • Representing 162 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 157 Consumers: DANIEL A EDELMAN
  • Representing 149 Consumers: AHMAD TAYSEER SULAIMAN
  • Representing 148 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 2535 complaints filed against debt collectors from Oct 01, 2015 to Oct 31, 2015.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 703

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 761 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (30%)
  • 519 Credit card (20%)
  • 494 Unknown (19%)
  • 386 Medical (15%)
  • 122 Payday loan (5%)
  • 89 Mortgage (4%)
  • 70 Non-federal student loan (3%)
  • 56 Auto (2%)
  • 38 Federal student loan (1%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1125 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (44%)
  • 475 Disclosure verification of debt (19%)
  • 416 Communication tactics (16%)
  • 197 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 169 Improper contact or sharing of info (7%)
  • 153 Taking/threatening an illegal action (6%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 698 Debt is not mine (28%)
  • 334 Not given enough info to verify debt (13%)
  • 294 Debt was paid (12%)
  • 242 Frequent or repeated calls (10%)
  • 142 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 355 Complaints: CA
  • 294 Complaints: TX
  • 230 Complaints: FL
  • 157 Complaints: NY
  • 114 Complaints: GA
  • 107 Complaints: NJ
  • 98 Complaints: PA
  • 92 Complaints: OH
  • 86 Complaints: IL
  • 78 Complaints: MD

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

  • 2535 (100%)

This includes 2368 (93%) timely responses to complaints, and 167 (7%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 0 (%) of them, disputed 245 (10%) of them, and 2290 (90%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 148 Complaints: Wed, 10/14/2015
  • 145 Complaints: Thu, 10/22/2015
  • 141 Complaints: Thu, 10/01/2015
  • 139 Complaints: Thu, 10/15/2015
  • 131 Complaints: Wed, 10/07/2015