Even a global pandemic can’t keep individuals from filing lawsuits against collection agencies. While a record number of co-plaintiffs in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act case skewed the numbers to a degree, the number of lawsuits tracked by WebRecon in April — a month in which most of the country was at home sheltering in place — stayed pretty much the same as usual.
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Getting the anomaly out of the way first requires a bit of an explanation. The 650 plaintiffs who filed TCPA suits in April was more than double the amount who filed in March or in April 2019 and was a result of 364 co-plaintiffs participating in five suits against the same defendant. Removing those plaintiffs from the total drops the number of TCPA cases to a level more in line with historical filings.
The number of Fair Credit Reporting Act suits was up 13% in April, compared with March and was 5% higher than the number filed in April 2019, a time well before most of knew what coronavirus was. Year-to-date, the number of FCRA suits is 16% higher than what was filed during the first third of 2019.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act continues to be the statute that is the most common type of lawsuit filed against a company in the credit and collection industry, even though its popularity is waning. The number of suits filed in April was 1% less than the number filed in March and 27% lower than the number filed last April. Through the first four months of 2020, the number of FCPA suits is 15% less than the number filed during the same span last year.
Even though there were reports of record number of complaints being filed by consumers with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, those that were made against companies in the credit and collection industry were not up by as much.