WebRecon Stats for Dec 2018: 2018 Ends With A Whimper

Quick analysis: Well, 2018 ended pretty much along the trajectory it spent much of the year on. FDCPA and TCPA complaints dropped (-7.8% and -13.2% respectively), and FCRA, BBB and CFPB complaints all increased (+4.3%, +11.5% and +5.9% respectively)

FDCPA complaints are at their lowest point since 2008, when there were 6117 lawsuits.

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TCPA’s journey has been fairly symmetrical, rising every year since the beginning of the century through 2016 where it peaked at 4639 lawsuits. It has dropped each of the last two years in spite of easing regulation. Who know’s where it will end up in 2019?FCRA has been the big winner in recent years, rising every year since 2011. It is now the only consumer statute that has continued to increase in suits filed.CFPB complaints have been robust, growing every year since the agency began tracking complaints. The last two years have seen pretty significant jumps in the volume of complaints filed against creditors and debt collectors.BBB is perhaps the most surprising stat after what some might describe as the bottom falling out from under TCPA. While we only have three solid years of data, they are showing very solid growth and a trajectory that might make debt collectors think about beefing up their BBB complaint response policies. Keep in mind, the BBB’s monthly numbers take a longer time than the other categories to fill in, so look for December’s BBB complaints to at least double, bringing the full year number closer to 68k.

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against serial litigants? Read more Here!

The BBB and CFPB numbers are still trickling in for the month so December numbers are tentative. But we don’t need to see the full numbers to recognize the dramatic growth in non-litigious complaints filed by consumers against debt collectors and creditors.

For the month of December, every category was down from the previous month and from the previous year’s December (except FCRA suits).

In other news, putative class actions were mixed last month with 19.5% of FDCPA, 20.2% of TCPA and 7.8% of FCRA lawsuits filed that way.

About 32% of all plaintiffs who filed suit last month had filed at least once before.

And finally, Chicago attorney Nathan Volheim represented more consumers than anyone else in December (38) while New York attorney Craig Sanders has represented more consumers than any other attorney all year (456), retaining the title of most active consumer attorney of the year. Incidentally. Mr. Volheim is second on that list, having represented 427 consumer YTD.

Current Month: Previous Month: Previous
Year:
Year to Date: Year to
Date Comp:
Dec 01, 2018
Dec 31, 2018
Nov 01, 2018
Nov 30, 2018
Dec 01, 2017
Dec 31, 2017
Jan 01, 2018
Dec 31, 2018
Jan 01, 2017
Dec 31, 2017
BBB  1551 3301 -53.0% 4281 -63.8% 66596 59729 11.5%
BCFP  3159 3368 -6.2% 3939 -19.8% 51631 48753 5.9%
FDCPA  570 679 -16.1% 719 -20.7% 9009 9767 -7.8%
FCRA  320 380 -15.8% 299 7.0% 4531 4343 4.3%
TCPA  223 285 -21.8% 285 -21.8% 3803 4380 -13.2%

 

Complaint Statistics:

1551 consumers filed BBB complaints, 3159 consumers filed BCFP complaints, and about 984 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Dec 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018.

  • 1551 BBB Complaints
  • 3159 BCFP Complaints
  • 570 FDCPA, 111 Class Action (19.5%)
  • 223 TCPA, 45 Class Action (20.2%)
  • 320 FCRA, 25 Class Action (7.8%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for BBB and BCFP data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 984 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 313, or (32%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1961 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 152 different US District Court branches.
  • About 678 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 77 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 53 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 36 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Western Division – Los Angeles
  • 30 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 27 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 24 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis
  • 23 Lawsuits: Nevada District Court – Las Vegas
  • 22 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Central Islip
  • 22 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 21 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 38 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 28 Consumers: TAXIARCHIS HATZIDIMITRIADIS
  • Representing 21 Consumers: JASON E CAUSEY
  • Representing 21 Consumers: JAMES G BORDAS
  • Representing 21 Consumers: ANTRANIG N GARIBIAN
  • Representing 17 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 16 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 15 Consumers: JOSEPH Y BALISOK
  • Representing 15 Consumers: DAVID W HEMMINGER
  • Representing 15 Consumers: MICHAEL JACOB WOOD

Statistics Year to Date:
14344 total lawsuits for 2018, including:

  • 9009 FDCPA
  • 4531 FCRA
  • 3803 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2018: 13714 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 456 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 427 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 388 Consumers: TAXIARCHIS HATZIDIMITRIADIS
  • Representing 292 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN
  • Representing 286 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 221 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 213 Consumers: ANTRANIG N GARIBIAN
  • Representing 212 Consumers: ELLIOT GALE
  • Representing 200 Consumers: OMAR TAYSEER SULAIMAN
  • Representing 199 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN

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BBB Complaint Statistics:

There were a total of 1551 BBB complaints from Dec 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018. That is down -53.0% from last month.

The types of companies being complained about were:

  • 766 banks (49%)
  • 672 collections-agencies (43%)
  • 113 credit+reporting (7%)

The categories of complaints filed were:

  • 872 Billing/Collection Issues (56%)
  • 606 Problems with Product/Service (39%)
  • 41 Advertising/Sales Issues (3%)
  • 25 Delivery Issues (2%)
  • 7 Guarantee/Warranty Issues (0%)

The dispositions of these complaints are:

  • 1085 The business addressed the issues within the complaint, but the consumer either a) did not accept the response, OR b) did not notify BBB as to their satisfaction. (70%)
  • 367 The complainant verified the issue was resolved to their satisfaction. (24%)
  • 78 The business failed to respond to the dispute. (5%)
  • 13 BBB is unable to locate the business. (1%)
  • 8 The business responded to the dispute but failed to make a good faith effort to resolve it. (1%)

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BCFP Complaint Statistics:

There were 3159 complaints filed against debt collectors from Dec 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 699

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 917 Other debt (29%)
  • 724 Credit card debt (23%)
  • 707 I do not know (22%)
  • 461 Medical debt (15%)
  • 123 Auto debt (4%)
  • 67 Federal student loan debt (2%)
  • 65 Payday loan debt (2%)
  • 53 Mortgage debt (2%)
  • 42 Private student loan debt (1%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1513 Attempts to collect debt not owed (48%)
  • 721 Written notification about debt (23%)
  • 347 Communication tactics (11%)
  • 252 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 252 Took or threatened to take negative or legal action (8%)
  • 74 Threatened to contact someone or share information improperly (2%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 737 Debt is not yours (23%)
  • 506 Didnt receive enough information to verify debt (16%)
  • 485 Debt was result of identity theft (15%)
  • 253 Debt was paid (8%)
  • 202 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 415 Complaints: TX
  • 365 Complaints: CA
  • 311 Complaints: FL
  • 251 Complaints: NY
  • 162 Complaints: IL
  • 157 Complaints: GA
  • 119 Complaints: OH
  • 110 Complaints: NC
  • 88 Complaints: PA
  • 77 Complaints: NJ

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

  • 2413 Closed with explanation (76%)
  • 358 In progress (11%)
  • 314 Closed with non-monetary relief (10%)
  • 55 Untimely response (2%)
  • 19 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 3058 (97%) timely responses to complaints, and 101 (3%) untimely responses.