Year in Review: Consumer Litigation Filings End 2016 with Surge in TCPA Cases

1/26/2017 2:06 PM

Filings under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act surpassed 2015 numbers, but not by as much as expected. Fair Credit Reporting Act cases also increased during the year.


Trends in consumer litigation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act ended 2016 as expected, with the highest increase in TCPA cases, according to the latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics Report from WebRecon.

While TCPA cases were projected to exceed 5,000 in 2016, the year-to-date filings ended at 4,860 in December, compared to 3,687 at the end of December 2015—a 31.8 percent increase, according to the report.

Year-to-date FCRA cases also increased, by 3.9 percent, from 3,811 at the end of 2015 to 3,960 by the end of December 2016.

FDCPA cases, however, declined 12 percent from 11,816 to end 2015 to 10,402 by December 2016, according to the report.

WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon notes in the report that the year-end case filings for the FDPCA were “a significant loss in traction” compared to 2015 but still higher than 2014.

The increase in FCRA cases was less than expected, but representative of continued growth over previous years. FCRA cases surpassed 2,000 in 2012 and increased significantly from 2,502 in 2014 to 3,811 in 2015, according to the report.

Monthly filings show FDCPA lawsuits increased 6.1 percent from 739 in November 2016 to 784 in December 2016 and TCPA cases increased 9.7 percent from 330 to 362. FCRA cases declined 28.5 percent from 390 in November 2016 to 279 in December, according to the report.

WebRecon also reports that during all of 2016, about 4,995 (or 35 percent) of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer statutes. “A total of 14,401 consumers were plaintiffs in 15,860 separate filings for the year,” according to the report.

In December alone, there were about 1,191 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.) Of those plaintiffs in December, about 452 (38 percent) had sued under consumer statutes before.

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