An estimated 525 different collection agencies and creditors were sued under consumer statutes, primarily the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, in the first half of April, according to data from U.S. District Court dockets. The number is the same as the total in the second half of March and down slightly from 545 in the first half of March.

The number of actual lawsuits filed by consumers, a total of 459, dropped drastically in the April 1-15 period, compared with the last half of March (545) and the first half of March (538). The bulk of these cases including alleged Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations (381 filings in the first half of April). There also were 44 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) cases and 26 Truth-in-Lending Act cases in the period. The remaining suits cite various state consumer statutes.

Of the total filings in the first half of April, there are approximately 496 unique plaintiffs, including 127 who have sued under consumer statutes before. Together, those plaintiffs have filed approximately 786 lawsuits since 2001. Research firm WebRecon LLC compiles the monthly data from the court dockets.

Year-to-date, a total of 3,273 consumer statute lawsuits have been filed nationwide, including 2,782 FDCPA cases, 299 FCRA cases and 127 Truth-in-Lending cases. There are 3,330 unique plaintiffs thus far in 2010. The 2010 pace is ahead of last year’s total.

In 2009, lawsuits citing FDCPA violations reached 8,287, a record high and easily topping the previous mark of 5,188 in 2008, according to U.S. District Courts. The number of FDCPA lawsuits in 2007 and 2006 totaled 3,813 and 3,220 respectively.

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