Complaints against debt collectors filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dropped last month from 3,505 complaints in March to 2,816 complaints in April, a 19.7% decrease.
Despite the decline, complaint volume is closing the gap with 2015’s numbers. At 10.7% down year-to-date through April, the percentage is lower than March’s 11.2% deficit, February’s 12.5% deficit and January’s 17.6% deficit. If complaints are trending in any direction, it is toward growth not decline, according to WebRecon, the company that pulled the numbers from the CFPB.
It also is common for approximately 10% more complaints to filter in from the previous month in the month ahead of the stats being released.
WebRecon also released information about consumer statute lawsuits filed in March. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuits regularly prove to be the most unpredictable of consumer statutes when it comes to tracking monthly filings. After an unusually robust jump of 23.6% in March, FDCPA cases fell 2.7% in April to stay approximately 8% down year to date so far. WebRecon pulls the information from U.S. district courts.
The other two major consumer statutes tracked – Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – both also slowed, but to a lesser extent, from huge numbers posted in March. FCRA showed a modest April increase of 5.6%, compared to its increase of 20.6% in March. And TCPA decreased by 7.1% in April, compared to a 16.4% increase in March.
FCRA and TCPA are both still showing aggressive growth YTD though, 26.7% and 57.9% respectively.
For April, 34% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes. Approximately 950 different companies were sued and 687 different collection agencies were complained about to the CFPB, roughly 1.1% lower than last month’s 760.
The percentage of suits filed as putative class actions were fairly strong all around, with 16% for FDCPA, 21.6% for TCPA and 11.5% for FCRA.
California attorney Todd M. Friedman represented the most consumers for the month with 40 and the most consumers year-to-date with 140.