Complaints against debt collection companies logged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rose in October, along with lawsuits citing alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), according to WebRecon, a Michigan firm that pulls the data from the CFPB and district courts.

Collection complaints rose 4% to 3,033 in October compared with 2,913 in September. There were 1,792 collection complaints in October 2013. Year-to-date, CFPB complaints increased by 81.4%, 6,202 to 33,272, however that number is skewed since the CFPB did not begin tracking complaints until mid-2013.

Top complaints about debt collection cited in October include:

    •    1,316 continued attempts to collect debt not owed (43%)
    •    538 communication tactics (18%)
    •    479 disclosure verification of debt (16%)

The status of October’s CFPB complaints:

    •    2,047 closed with explanation (67%)
    •    473 closed with nonmonetary relief (16%)
    •    236 in progress (8%)
    •    138 closed (5%)

In total, 2,829 responses (93%) were considered timely and 204 (7%) were considered untimely.

On the lawsuit front, FCRA cases soared 22.4% in October compared with September. FDCPA cases jumped 13.4% to 911 from 789 in September.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases fell in October to 159, an unexpected 22.6% drop from 195 in September, according to the report from WebRecon. The decrease was not enough to reverse the larger trend of rising litigation.

Year-to-date, TCPA lawsuits increased by nearly 28% to 2,069 in October from 1,491 in October last year. According to the report, the monthly decline from September to October, is not likely to change the overall upward trend of TCPA cases.

Of the total consumer statute lawsuits filed in October, there were approximately 1,255 unique plaintiffs. Of those plaintiffs, an estimated 376 (30%) previously had sued under consumer statutes. Combined, those plaintiffs have filed approximately 1,332 lawsuits since 2001.

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