Consumer Litigation Filings Under FCRA Continue Growth

10/17/2017 1:39 PM

TCPA and FDCPA filings declined in September. Revised data on complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau show an increase in August and September.


Consumer litigation filings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act increased in September, continuing a trend of “aggressive growth,” according to the latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics report from WebRecon.

FCRA filings increased 58.4 percent from 351 in August 2017 to 556 in September and filings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act declined 21.4 percent from 374 to 294, according to the report. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act filings declined 17.7 percent from 870 in August to 716 in September.

Year-to-date filings in September, similar to August, declined except for the FCRA; which saw a 13.5 percent increase from 2,932 at the end of September 2016 to 3,328 at the end of September 2017. FDCPA cases declined 6.3 percent from 8,032 at the end of September 2016 to 7,527 in September this year and TCPA cases declined 6.7 percent from 3,708 to 3,460, according to the report.

WebRecon also reports that in September there were about 1,407 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.) Of those plaintiffs, about 435 (or 31 percent) had sued previously under consumer statutes.

Debt Collection Complaints

WebRecon reported on Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints against debt collectors and creditors for the second month in September.

Revised numbers from August show 1,859 complaints from consumers to the BBB, setting a record for the most complaints in one month. This figure represents an upward revision from the 828 complaints to the BBB as initially reported by WebRecon last month.

BBB complaints in September declined 21.1 percent to 1,466. Year-to-date complaints increased 11.5 percent from 11,878 at the end of September 2016 to 13,240 in September this year.

The BBB complaints include:

  • Billing/Collection Issues (59 percent);
  • Problems with Product/Service (38 percent);
  • Advertising/Sales Issues (2 percent);
  • Delivery Issues (1 percent.)

Debt collection complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declined in September. 

The complaints declined 29.4 percent from 4,585 in August to 3,239 in September, according to the report.

Year-to-date, there were 30,430 complaints as of the end of September 2016 compared to 36,570 in September 2017, a 20.2 percent increase.

“While it is still historically high, CFPB complaints had their slowest month of the year with ‘only’ 3,239 complaints filed. CFPB complaints are still more than 20 percent YTD and are certainly going to set a new record when the year is up,” according to WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon in the report.

Similar to July and August, debt collection companies responded to a majority, 96 percent (3,113), of September 2017 complaints in a timely manner.

Of the complaints filed, 1,374 (42 percent) were about attempts to collect a debt not owed, 727 (22 percent) were about written notification of a debt, and 396 (12 percent) were about communication tactics, according to the report.

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

  • Debt is not yours  (25 percent);
  • Didn’t receive enough information to verify debt (17 percent);
  • Debt was paid (10 percent);
  • Attempted to collect wrong amount (8 percent);
  • Frequent or repeated calls (6 percent.)

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