Path for Consumer Litigation Records Changes in November


12/21/2016 12:44 PM

TCPA filings slowed down last month while FCRA cases grew; FDCPA activity shows there could be more than 10,000 cases by the end of the year.

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Consumer filings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act could reach record levels this year, but not as high as predicted or as in the past, according to the latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics Report from WebRecon.

In November, WebRecon’s data showed consumer filings under the TCPA could exceed 5,000 by the end of the year; however November’s activity was weaker than normal.

“The 2016 11-month tally sits at 4,499,” according to WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon. “To hit 5K, there would have to be at least 501 cases in December—a number that has never yet quite been reached.”

Monthly filings under the TCPA declined 28.2 percent from 457 in October to 328 in November, according to the report. Year-to-date filings in the report show there were 3,387 cases under the TCPA as of Nov. 30, 2015, compared to 4,499 this year.

There were 272 TCPA cases in November 2015, compared to 328 in November 2016, according to the report.

Gordon said the highest number of monthly filings under the TCPA was 472 in March 2015. TCPA filings still could top 4,900 by the end of the year based on a growth rate of 32.8 percent thus far, according to the report.

While the FDCPA filings are expected to surpass 10,000 this year, Gordon notes that the result is still far less than the final tally of 11,813 cases in 2015. Year-to-date FDCPA cases declined 12.4 percent from 10,980 to 9,617 compared to this time last year, according to the report.

“Both years fall short of 2011’s record number of 12,226 suits,” Gordon said. “We can expect FDCPA filings for 2016 to settle somewhere around [10,500] for the year, up from November’s YTD total of 9,617.”

Monthly, FDCPA cases declined 12.9 percent from 847 in October 2016 to 738 in November 2016, according to the report.

Cases under the FCRA increased monthly and year-to-date.

There were 359 cases in October 2016 and 389 in November this year, an 8.4 percent increase. Year-to-date, FCRA cases also increased 8.4 percent from 3,395 as of Nov. 30, 2015, compared to 3,680 as of Nov. 30, 2016.

“This is the year that FCRA gave way to TCPA as the 2nd largest cause of action in consumer filings after FDCPA,” Gordon said in the report.

WebRecon also reports that during November 2016, about 441 (or 36 percent) of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer statutes. Of the cases in November, there were about 1,216 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.)

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