Complaints Drop, But Lawsuits Rise in October: WebRecon

Consumers continued to appear to have opposing reactions to their interactions with companies in the accounts receivable management industry in October, with fewer consumers complaining to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but more consumers filing lawsuits, according to data released yesterday by WebRecon.

WebRecon did note that the number of complaints filed by consumers with the CFPB has declined for three consecutive months, which can be seen as a positive trend, although the total number of complaints has already set a record for the number filed in a year, with two months still to be added to that total. At some point in November, the CFPB likely received the the 60,000th complaint filed against a debt collector this year. Prior to this year, the record for the most complaints filed in a year was 53,898, which came last year.

The 5,670 complaints that were filed with the CFPB in October were filed against 833 different companies, according to WebRecon.

On the lawsuit side, the number of suits filed alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act were all higher in October than a month earlier, reversing a recent trend. For the year, only the number of FCRA suits is higher, while the number of FDCPA and TCPA lawsuits are down from the first 10 months of last year.

While it is unlikely that the number of TCPA suits will reach last year’s total, it is possible for the number of FCRA and FDCPA suits to top last year’s figure. For the FDCPA, it would mark the first year-over-year increase since 2014-2015.

Another troubling sign is the number of individuals who are repeat filers, according to WebRecon. Forty-two percent of all filers in October had previously sued under one of these consumer protection statutes, which is significantly higher than the 33%-35% that WebRecon usually reports.

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