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Monthly Debt Collection Complaints Decline

By Cornerstone SupportSeptember 21, 2015
 

WebRecon reports an increase in year-to-date consumer litigation cases, but the Telephone Consumer Protection Act continues to produce low numbers.

Complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed against debt collectors declined 10 percent from July to August, according to the latest debt collection litigation and complaint statistics report from WebRecon.

However, WebRecon CEO Jack Gordon wrote in the report that most of the change in complaints appears to be a result of a drop in data available from the CFPB.

The data often changes during the month—sometimes daily—based on the pace the CFPB releases complaint filing information.

There were 3,432 complaints in August 2015 compared to 3,812 in July. Consumers filed complaints about 834 different debt collectors and collection agencies responded to 92 percent (3,160 complaints) in a timely manner, according to the report.

The most reported consumer concern was being contacted about a debt they did not believe they owed (46 percent), followed by disclosure verification of a debt (18 percent) and communication tactics (15 percent).

The top five subissues in debt collection complaints were:

  • Debt is not mine (28 percent)
  • Debt was paid (12 percent)
  • Not given enough information to verify debt (12 percent)
  • Frequent or repeated calls (10 percent)
  • Attempted to collect wrong amount (6 percent)

The highest number of identifiable complaints was in the “other” category for expenses such as phone bills or health club memberships, with 1,065 complaints (31 percent) in that category last month, according to the report. Credit card debt resulted in 606 complaints (18 percent) and 577 (17 percent) complaints about medical debt.

Debt Collection Licensing Portal

Year-to-date complaint data increased 3 percent from 27,349 on Aug. 31, 2014 to 28,176 on August 2015.

“Once all the cases trickle in, that will likely be bumped up a few points,” according to Gordon.

Consumer Litigation

About 1,220 consumer filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in August, according to the WebRecon report.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases declined 12.6 percent from July to August, however the year-to-date case filings are still on the rise. As of Aug. 31, 2015, there were 7,826 FDCPA cases, compared to 6,628 recorded at the same time last year.

Cases related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act remained the same from July to August 2015—at 256. They increased by 1.7 percent from the 1,804 cases recorded on Aug. 31, 2014 to 1,835 cases as of Aug. 31, 2015.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Cases declined on a monthly basis but increased year-to-date.

The monthly decline from July to August was 2.3 percent. As of Aug. 31, 2015 there were 2,125 FCRA lawsuits compared to 1,606 as of Aug. 31, 2014—a 32.3 percent increase.

Of the cases in August 2015, there were about 1,220 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit.) Of those plaintiffs, about 414 (or 34 percent) had sued under consumer statutes before.

About 805 different companies were sued, according to Gordon. He also reports that 167 (18.1 percent) of the FDCPA cases, 35 of the TCPA cases (13.7 percent) and 31 (10.3 percent) of the FCRA cases were class action lawsuits.

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