Interestingly enough, the number of lawsuits filed in April claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act were all lower in April than the same month last year — which was the first full month that the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down most of the United States. The number of TCPA cases alone were down 79% in April compared with the same month a year ago, according to data published by WebRecon.
Overall, through the first four months of 2021, the number of FDCPA suits is down 16% compared with last year, the number of FCRA suits is up 3%, and the number of TCPA suits is down 57%. WebRecon did note that the discrepancy in year-to-date stats for the TCPA is due to an “anomalous early 2020 surge in plaintiffs” which is making the 2021 numbers seem much lower by comparison.
The number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, meanwhile, continues to climb. The total filed in April was 26% higher than the total filed in the same month last year and the number through the first four months of 2021 is 38% higher than the number filed during the same period last year.
While the decline in the number of lawsuits is a development that the industry will surely take as welcome news, the number of complaints filed with the CFPB keep “soaring” WebRecon noted.
The 5,678 complaints filed by consumers with the CFPB in April were filed against 845 different debt collection companies. Attempting to collect a debt not owed remained the most popular source of a complaint, accounting for more than half of all complaints filed and more than doubling the next-most-frequent topic, written notification about a debt.