May 2014 was a light month overall for debt collection complaints, and most types of litigation, according to new data from WebRecon. While 3188 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors – that’s a little more than 100 consumers a day – it still represents a 15.8 percent decline from April 2014. In all, the CFPB has received 17114 debt collection complaints this year.


In May 2014, approximately 1122 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes against 1060 collection firms and creditors. 774 of those suits dealt with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; 216 dealt with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act; and 206 dealt with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Overall, there have been 5293 total lawsuits for 2014, including:

  • 4058 FDCPA
  • 1003 FCRA
  • 1118 TCPA

Of all the data collected, the only area of debt collection litigation that saw an uptick compared to the previous month was FCRA lawsuits; they increased 3.4 percent compared to the prior month. This can be read as part of a larger trend. FCRA lawsuits are up nearly 26 percent compared to this time last year. While they took a dip in May 2014 (8.3 percent, to be exact), TCPA lawsuits have actually increased a total of 32.1 percent compared to May 2013. FDCPA litigation continues its gradual slide, down 19.3% compared to May 2013.

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
May 01 – 31, 2014 Apr 01 – 30, 2014 May 01 – 31, 2013
CFPB Complaints 3188 3693 -15.8% - -
FDCPA lawsuits 774 893 -15.4% 812 -4.9%
FCRA lawsuits 206 199 3.4% 153 25.7%
TCPA lawsuits 216 234 -8.3% 132 38.9%
YTD CFPB Complaints 17114 - -
YTD FDCPA lawsuits 4058 4841 -19.3%
YTD FCRA lawsuits 1003 893 11.0%
YTD TCPA lawsuits 1118 759 32.1%

Despite the temporary downward trend, TCPA lawsuits are still poised to become the second most-litigated statute in debt collection. But the overall rise of TCPA litigation doesn’t mean that collection attorneys can turn their focus away from other “old faithful” statutes like FDCPA. These statistics shouldn’t scare you. They should motivate you. This is an opportunity for collection agencies to be proactive in their response to the industry’s new legal landscape.

Get the most up-to-date data on courtroom and complaint trends at insideCompliance: Decoding Litigation Data in 2014, on August 5 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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