Overall consumer litigation against collection agencies and creditors fell in 2014 thanks to a third straight year seeing a decline in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases. Filings last year totaled 14,383, slightly less than 2013's total of 14.470. The small difference likely will tigthen in the coming weeks as more litigation reports trickle in.
The federal court totals include 9,720 lawsuits filed last year citing FDCPA violations, down 5.7% from 2013. Last year marked the first time since 2009 that annual FDCPA complaints fell below 10,000, according to data provided by WebRecon LLC. In 2013, there were 10,310 FDCPA court filings. FDCPA suits peaked in 2011 at 12,237, before falling by 7.3% in 2012.
Both Fair Credit Reporting Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases were up in 2014, making up for most of the shortfall coming from the FDCPA fall off.
TCPA lawsuits also surpassed FCRA lawsuits in total 2014 filings. TCPA cases last year rose to 2,336 from 1,871 in 2013. FCRA cases totaled 2,327 in 2014, up from 2,289 in 2013.
TCPA cases have jumped in recent years in large part as consumers move to mobile phone often along with dropping their landlines. Collectors have found it hard to make right-party contacts and under TCPA legal interpretations, the safest way to reach cell phones is through manual dials as opposed to auto dialings.
The resulting drop in contacts as led to the drop in FDCPA lawsuit while simultaneously prompting more TCPA litigation.
For 2014, the most active consumer attorneys included: Sergei Lemberg (representing 508 consumers); David M. Larson (213); Ahmad T. Sulaiman (186); and John T. Steinkamp (183).