Report: TCPA Consumer Litigation Filings on Track to End 2017 Under Recent Annual Totals

Year-to-date FCRA filings increased, while FDCPA filings decline. Complaints to the CFPB are up for the month, but BBB complaints declined from September to October.

11/28/2017 10:00 AM

Report: TCPA Consumer Litigation Filings on Track to End 2017 Under Recent Annual Totals

Consumer litigation filings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act could end the year well below the number of cases in 2015 and 2016, according to the latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics report from WebRecon.

There were 3,758 TCPA cases as of the end of October this year, compared to 4,163 at the end of October 2016, according to the report. By the end of 2015, the total number of TCPA lawsuits reached 4,855.

“With two months to go in 2017, it is really hard to see how [the] TCPA makes up ground to surpass 2015’s record total of 4,855 suits,” WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon said in the report. “With 1,097 suits separating us from last year’s record and 2017’s average of 376 TCPA plaintiffs per month, it just doesn’t seem possible.”

Filings under the TCPA declined 0.7 percent from 297 in September to 295 in October and year-to-date filings through October declined 9.7 percent from 4,163 to 3,758, according to the report.

Fair Credit Reporting Act filings declined 34.1 percent from 557 in September to 367 in October while Fair Debt Collection Practices Act filings increased by 3.3 percent from 722 to 746.

Year-to-date FCRA filings increased 12.3 percent from 3,291 at the end of October 2016 to 3,696 at the end of October 2017. Year-to-date FDCPA filings declined 6.8 percent from 8,883 to 8,279, according to the report.

WebRecon also reports that in October there were about 1,274 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.) Of those plaintiffs, about 412 (or 32 percent) had sued previously under consumer statutes.

Debt Collection Complaints

WebRecon continued to report on new complaint data from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), for the third month in October. It’s too soon to track any trends from the data, but Gordon reports there were 2,421 complaints in October and the monthly average from January through September was 2,930 complaints.

The October BBB complaints declined 22.2 percent from September, when there were 3,110 complaints, according to the report.

Year-to-date complaints increased 4.5 percent from 28,032 at the end of October 2016 to 29,301 reported at the end of October this year.

The BBB complaints include:

  • Billing/Collection Issues (55 percent);
  • Problems with Product/Service (38 percent);
  • Advertising/Sales Issues (4 percent);
  • Delivery Issues (2 percent.)

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

The complaints increased 12.2 percent from 3,573 in September to 4,010 in October, according to the report.

Year-to-date, there were 34,049 complaints as of the end of October 2016 compared to 41,044 in October 2017, a 20.5 percent increase.

Similar to August and September, debt collection companies responded to a majority, 95 percent (3,803), of October 2017 complaints in a timely manner.

Of the complaints filed, 1,625 (41 percent) were about attempts to collect a debt not owed, 1,019 (25 percent) were about written notification of a debt, and 491 (12 percent) were about communication tactics, according to the report.

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

  • Debt is not yours  (23 percent);
  • Didn’t receive enough information to verify debt (19 percent);
  • Debt was paid (9 percent);
  • Attempted to collect wrong amount (8 percent);
  • Frequent or repeated calls (6 percent.)

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