February litigation against collection agencies increased slightly from Januarys across-the-board decline but Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation surprisingly continues to significantly lag from both last month (down 13.4%) and through the first two months of last year (down 46.1%).
Both Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act cases increased over January (up 10.1% and 28.2%) and through the same period last year (up 5.9% and 22.7%).
The overall numbers are still relatively small and it is early in the year, so it is premature to draw significant conclusions from what appears to be a positive trend in TCPA and negative trends in FDCPA and FCRA, according to WebRecon LLC, a firm that tracks the data from U.S. district courts.
The top courts where lawsuits were filed:
- 82 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court Chicago
- 57 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court Brooklyn
- 54 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court Philadelphia
Class actions were robust for FDPA last month at 17.3% of all cases, and average for TCPA (8.1%) and FCRA (9.3%). Repeat filers represented about 31% of all February litigation.Complaint Data
Consumers in February had filed 3,380 complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against 830 different debt collectors. Thats up 3.1% over January and the number likely will continue to edge up as more complaints become public.
The types of debt behind the complaints included:
- 1,026 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (30%)
- 780 Unknown (23%)
- 670 Credit card (20%)
- 479 Medical (14%)
- 179 Payday loan (5%)
- 73 Auto (2%)
- 69 Mortgage (2%)
- 54 Federal student loan (2%)
- 50 Non-federal student loan (1%)
The breakdown of complaints includes:
- 1,522 Continued attempts collect debt not owed (45%)
- 590 Disclosure verification of debt (17%)
- 562 Communication tactics (17%)
- 278 False statements or representation (8%)
- 252 Improper contact or sharing of info (7%)
- 176 Taking/threatening an illegal action (5%)