There have been some significant shifts in consumer lawsuit trends during the past five years, and those trends continued in 2020, based on data released yesterday by WebRecon. The number of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuits dropped from 2019 to 2020 — the fifth straight year the total fell from the previous year — and have nearly been cut in half during the past five years. The number of Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuits also dropped — for the fourth straight year — and are down 30% from their high-water mark in 2016.
Alas, if people are looking to go upstairs, the only statute they can use is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The number of FCRA lawsuits increased for the 10th straight year, and have grown by nearly 300% in the past decade.
While the number of FDCPA complaints continues to decline, it is worth noting that the number of FDCPA suits filed in 2020 was more than double the number of TCPA suits and 32% higher than the number of FCRA suits that were filed last year.
For the year, 12,582 different individuals filed lawsuits against debt collection companies, alleging a violation of the FCRA, FDCPA, or TCPA, according to WebRecon.
The number of complaints filed by consumers about debt collection companies in 2020 also hit a new record — 53898. That was up 16% from 2020 and 5% higher than the previous record, which was set in 2018.
For December, the number of FDCPA, TCPA, and FCRA lawsuits were all higher than the number filed in November, but only the TCPA was higher than the number that were filed in December of 2020.