February litigation against collection agencies increased slightly from January’s 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. That’s 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%)

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