Complaints against collection agencies logged by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau jumped in March by 12.6% compared to February. The total number of complaints reached 3,865, with 911 different collection agencies listed. The figure is up 7.2% from March 2014, according to WebRecon, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based data tracking firm.

WebRecon expects the numbers to edge up yet as more complaints become public. 

Complaints for 2015 reached the 10,000 mark on March 26. Last year, the milestone was reached on March 28.

The breakdown of complaints by types of debt:

  • 1,188 - Other (phone, health club, etc.) (31%)
  • 894 - Unknown (23%)
  • 675 - Credit card (17%)
  • 495 - Medical (13%)
  • 244 - Payday loan (6%)
  • 113 - Mortgage (3%)
  • 105 - Auto (3%)
  • 81 - Non-federal student loan (2%)
  • 70 - Federal student loan (2%)

The breakdown of actual complaints:

  • 1,704 - Continued attempts collect debt not owed (44%)
  • 713 - Communication tactics (18%)
  • 645 - Disclosure verification of debt (17%)
  • 335 - False statements or representation (9%)
  • 241 - Taking/threatening an illegal action (6%)
  • 227 - Improper contact or sharing of info (6%)

Lawsuit Statistics

Lawsuits filed against debt collectors in March also continued a growth trend, with all three key statutes increasing compared to a month earlier, according to WebRecon, which gathers the data from U.S. district courts.

Fair Debt Collection Practices (FDCPA) lawsuits rose 3.9% on a monthly comparison; Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits were up 3.3%; and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuits soared 15.5%.

On a year-over-year measure, TCPA lawsuits fell (-9.2%) in March while both FDCPA (+3.2%) and FCRA (+6.8%) lawsuits increased.

For 2015, through March, FDCPA litigation is up 11.9% and FCRA actions rose 13.8%. TCPA is still slightly down through the same period last year but the difference narrowed through Q1 and it’s expected that TCPA numbers will surge ahead of year-to-date figures in the next month or two.

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