Consumer litigation against collection agencies had mixed results in September with Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuits dropping and Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation making a jump.

Overall, litigation increased last month with 1,272 consumers filing suit compared to 1,222 in August.

Even with the September drop in FDCPA and TCPA lawsuits, full-year figures continue to track higher. FDCPA (totaling 8,710) and FCRA (totaling 2,446) are far ahead of 2014 (17% and 36.3%, respectively) and TCPA (totaling 2,086) is starting to widen its lead over last year with a slight 3.5% increase.

TCPA lawsuits the last five years had dramatically risen before tapering so far in 2015.

  • 2010: 354
  • 2011: 830
  • 2012: 1,102
  • 2013: 1,903
  • 2014: 2,518

"It has all but flatlined so far this year all the more remarkable because of case law and regulatory declarations that one would have expected to delight the consumer bar. There have been predictions of TCPA’s resurgence later this year…at this point it is looking like it we will run out of year before any significant movement happens in TCPA litigation growth again," said Jack Gordon, CEO at WebRecon, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm that pulls the lawsuit data from U.S. district courts.
Other key numbers from September include:

  • Approximately 32% of all consumer litigation plaintiffs had sued at least once before under consumer litigation statutes.
  • Approximately 822 different companies were sued and 765 different debt collectors were complained about to the CFPB.
  • The Illinois Northern District Court in Chicago had the most litigation filings with 71 consumers represented. California had the most CFPB complaints against debt collectors (415).
  • Attorney Craig B. Sanders represented the most consumers for the month with 57 and he also has represented the most year to date, with 250.

CFPB complaints against debt collectors also are falling, down 16.3% in September to one of the lowest marks yet recorded (3,025 total). The number is expected to rise by 5% to 10% in the coming weeks as new complaints trickle into the public record but it should still end up as one of the lowest monthly totals this year, according to Gordon.

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