Consumer Litigation Filings Reverse Course from July


10/2/2017 6:32:00 PM

TCPA, FDCPA, FCRA filings increase in August. Preliminary data on debt collection and creditor complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau show a decline from July to August.

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Consumer litigation increased—by double digits—in August, the highest being a 35.5 percent surge for Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases, according to the latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics report from WebRecon.

“After July’s stunning drop in consumer litigation across the board, August saw an almost equally stunning course correction, bringing all three main statutes (FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA), to within 5 percent of where they were at the same time last year,” according to WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon.

TCPA filings increased from 276 in July 2017 to 374 in August and filings under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act increased 28.1 percent from 679 to 870, according to the report. Fair Credit Reporting Act filings increased 16.2 percent from 302 in July to 351 in August.

Year-to-date filings in August declined except for the FCRA, which saw a 4.7 percent increase from 2,647 at the end of August 2016 to 2,772 at the end of August 2017. FDCPA cases declined 4.1 percent from 7,101 at the end of August 2016 to 6,811 in August this year and TCPA cases declined 2.9 percent from 3,261 to 3,166, according to the report.

WebRecon also reports that in August there were about 1,380 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.) Of those plaintiffs, about 464 (or 34 percent) had sued under consumer statutes before.

Debt Collection Complaints

In its monthly report, WebRecon provides the Better Business Bureau (BBB) data on complaints against debt collectors and creditors.

According to the report, 828 consumers filed complaints to the BBB in August, a 36.6 percent decline from the 1,305 complaints in July. Year-to-date complaints declined 3.3 percent from 8,468 at the end of August 2016 to 8,191 in August this year.

The BBB complaints include:

  • Billing/Collection Issues (69 percent);
  • Problems with Product/Service (28 percent);
  • Delivery Issues (1 percent);
  • Advertising/Sales Issues (1 percent);

Gordon notes that BBB complaint data declined significantly from July. “However, since BBB tracking is new for us, it may be premature to accept these numbers as settled, so keep watch as we figure out the BBB trends,” he said.

Debt collection complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau increased in August.

The complaints increased 7.5 percent from 4,211 in July to 4,528 by the end of August, according to the report.

Year-to-date, there were 26,837 complaints as of the end of August 2016 compared to 33,243 in August 2017, a 23.9 percent increase.

Similar to June and July, debt collection companies responded to a majority, 95 percent (4,306), of August 2017 complaints in a timely manner.

Of the complaints filed, 1,684 (37 percent) were about continued attempts to collect a debt not owed, 1,362 (30 percent) were about written notification of a debt, and 564 (12 percent) were about communication tactics, according to the report.

The top five sub-issues in debt collection complaints were:

  • Didn’t receive enough information to verify debt (23 percent);
  • Debt is not yours  (21 percent);
  • Debt was paid (9 percent);
  • Attempted to collect wrong amount (7 percent);
  • Frequent or repeated calls (7 percent.)

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