Quick analysis: Happy Thanksgiving! Amid an unremarkable month, we are prepared to make some official predictions about the final numbers for the year. But first, the month.
CFPB complaints (+4.8%), FCRA suits (+11.4%) and TCPA suits (+2.9%) were all up this month, while FDCPA suits (-5.2%) were down. Similar trending is in place for all of those categories YTD.
In other news, putative class actions represented 16.8% of FDCPA, 45.8% of TCPA and 3.7% of FCRA lawsuits filed last month.
About 35% of all plaintiffs who filed suit last month had filed at least once before.
And finally, California attorney Todd M. Friedman stays at the top of the list representing more consumers than anyone else in the month with 35 and New York’s Craig B. Sanders stays at the top of the list for having filed the most of the year with 279. That YTD stat excludes attorneys Nicole Rochelle Lewis and Rebecca Evans who crammed hundreds of plaintiffs into a few TCPA lawsuits earlier this year.
Now, on the the 2020 projections…
Based on the first ten months of the year, plus projected Nov/Dec numbers based on patterns from Nov/Dec of the last three years (on average about a 15% drop over the rest of the year’s average numbers in those last two months), we are coming up with a slight increase in FCRA, a fairly significant drop in FDCPA, and TCPA holding steady with a statistical tie from 2019.
FCRA is the only statute to have grown in the number of filings every year in recent history, and will be ending 2020 at a projected 5190 suits, up from 4959 in 2019.
FDCPA continues its steady decline and will be ending 2020 at a projected 6980, down a whopping 1361 filings from 2019’s total of 8341.
TCPA had a dramatic rise in the teen years but spent the last couple of years on a downward trend. 2020 looks like it will end in an essential tie with 2019’s 3414 filings, landing at a projected 3417. It is relevant to point out here that this number is a bit skewed by some suits early in the year that crammed many plaintiffs into a few filings, as we count these numbers by plaintiffs represented. So the real number is lower, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it.
Additionally, CFPB complaints seem to have more than recovered from a big drop last year and look to end the year at their highest projected number yet of 52,116 complaints against debt collectors, vs. 2019’s 46,397 complaints and 2018’s 51,175 complaints.
*** Important Note About CFPB Data ***
We had a bug in our algorithm for tracking CFPB complaints that unintentionally inflated the previous year comparison numbers for the last few months (July, Aug and Sept). This had the unfortunate effect of making it look like CFPB complaints were dramatically lower this year in comparison, when in fact they were not. We deeply regret the error and apologize to the CFPB, ACA and other organizations who rely on our data to analyze the market conditions. The problem has been fixed and we are grateful to the CFPB for working with us to identify the issue.
Finally, we are pleased to reintroduce periodic BBB complaint tracking this month. The big challenge with reporting BBB complaints is that they trickle out much more slowly than lawsuits and CFPB complaints, so this will not be a monthly feature. BBB complaints look like they have dropped precipitously over the last couple of years, but that is exaggerated by an outlier year in 2018 with a remarkable 116,404 complaints recorded. We are projecting 2020 to end quite a bit up over 2017’s 79,250 complaints and 2019’s 84,643 complaints, with around 100,000 complaints filed against debt collectors and creditors. That is a significant increase in consumer complaint activity, but still down from 2018’s high mark. That takes into account several thousand complaints we still expect to see for each month going back as far as June, so the graph below is not particularly helpful on this one. We will make it a point to come back mid-2021 with better numbers for the full year and how it compares to prior years.
Whew. That was a lot. Go eat some turkey!
|Current Month:||Previous Month:||Previous |
|Year to Date:||Year to |
|Oct 01, 2020 |
Oct 31, 2020
|Sep 01, 2020 |
Sep 30, 2020
|Oct 01, 2019 |
Oct 31, 2019
|Jan 01, 2020 |
Oct 31, 2020
|Jan 01, 2019 |
Oct 31, 2019
4955 consumers filed CFPB complaints, and about 1125 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Oct 01, 2020 to Oct 31, 2020.
- 4955 CFPB Complaints
- 548 FDCPA, 92 Class Action (16.8%)
- 177 TCPA, 81 Class Action (45.8%)
- 510 FCRA, 19 Class Action (3.7%)
Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):
- Of those cases, there were about 1125 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
- Of those plaintiffs, about 393, or (35%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
- Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 4286 lawsuits since 2001
- Actions were filed in 159 different US District Court branches.
- About 744 different collection firms and creditors were sued.
The top courts where lawsuits were filed:
- 94 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
- 52 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Western Division – Los Angeles
- 49 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
- 39 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
- 35 Lawsuits: Texas Northern District Court – Dallas
- 33 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
- 27 Lawsuits: New York Southern District Court – Foley Square
- 27 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis
- 26 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Western District Court – Pittsburgh
- 26 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
The most active consumer attorneys were:
- Representing 35 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
- Representing 27 Consumers: YOSEF STEINMETZ
- Representing 26 Consumers: JOSHUA P WARD
- Representing 24 Consumers: ADRIAN ROBERT BACON
- Representing 21 Consumers: MATTHEW B WEISBERG
- Representing 21 Consumers: GARY SCHAFKOPF
- Representing 19 Consumers: KENNY G OH
- Representing 18 Consumers: EDWARD Y KROUB
- Representing 17 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
- Representing 14 Consumers: ALEJANDRO EMMANUEL FIGUEROA
Statistics Year to Date:
11013 total lawsuits for 2020, including:
- 5941 FDCPA
- 4393 FCRA
- 2920 TCPA
Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2020: 10910 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)
The most active consumer attorneys of the year:
- Representing 361 Consumers: REBECCA EVANS
- Representing 279 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
- Representing 256 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
- Representing 238 Consumers: NICOLE ROCHELLE LEWIS
- Representing 209 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
- Representing 200 Consumers: ADRIAN ROBERT BACON
- Representing 188 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
- Representing 185 Consumers: EDWARD Y KROUB
- Representing 155 Consumers: MICHAEL ZHANG
- Representing 147 Consumers: JOSEPH SCOTT DAVIDSON
CFPB Complaint Statistics:
There were 4955 complaints filed against debt collectors from Oct 01, 2020 to Oct 31, 2020.
Total number of debt collectors complained about: 788
The types of debt behind the complaints were:
- 1323 Other debt (27%)
- 1294 Credit card debt (26%)
- 1152 I do not know (23%)
- 724 Medical debt (15%)
- 188 Auto debt (4%)
- 112 Payday loan debt (2%)
- 89 Mortgage debt (2%)
- 44 Private student loan debt (1%)
- 29 Federal student loan debt (1%)
Here is a breakdown of complaints:
- 2481 Attempts to collect debt not owed (50%)
- 1357 Written notification about debt (27%)
- 386 Took or threatened to take negative or legal action (8%)
- 360 False statements or representation (7%)
- 293 Communication tactics (6%)
- 78 Threatened to contact someone or share information improperly (2%)
The top five subissues were:
- 1169 Debt is not yours (24%)
- 1030 Didnt receive enough information to verify debt (21%)
- 779 Debt was result of identity theft (16%)
- 462 Debt was paid (9%)
- 300 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)
The top states complaints were filed from are:
- 648 Complaints: TX
- 549 Complaints: FL
- 471 Complaints: CA
- 370 Complaints: NY
- 347 Complaints: GA
- 189 Complaints: PA
- 187 Complaints: NJ
- 157 Complaints: MA
- 139 Complaints: OH
- 132 Complaints: NC
The status of the month’s complaints are as follows:
- 4075 Closed with explanation (82%)
- 415 Closed with non-monetary relief (8%)
- 344 In progress (7%)
- 95 Untimely response (2%)
- 26 Closed with monetary relief (1%)
This includes 4790 (97%) timely responses to complaints, and 165 (3%) untimely responses.