Lawsuits filed by consumers in U.S district court claiming violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) declined in September on both a monthly and yearly comparison basis. But debt collectors have found themselves increasingly in the crosshairs of suits claiming TCPA violations.
According to data provided by WebRecon LLC, FDCPA suits declined 7.8 percent in September compared to August, and fell 10 percent compared with September 2012. For the full year, FDCPA lawsuits are down 6 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2012.
In 2012, FDCPA lawsuits fell nearly seven percent compared to 2011. It marked the first year that FDCPA suits against collectors declined after years of steady growth. If the trend holds over the last three months of 2013, this year will also see a decline in FDCPA suits.
But the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has increasingly become a target for consumers and their attorneys for suits aimed at collection agencies. Although TCPA suits in September fell 1.8 percent from August, they were up 116 percent compared to September 2012. Echoing that trend, year-to-date TCPA suits are up a whopping 70 percent in 2013.
Summary of September ARM suits:
There were about 1088 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
Of those plaintiffs, about 418, or (38.4%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 2088 lawsuits since 2001
Actions were filed in 141 different US District Court branches.
About 841 different collection firms and creditors were sued.
EDITOR’S NOTE: insideARM.com is launching a new webinar series, insideCompliance. The series will focus on, yes, compliance. Our first session, scheduled for November 14, will be all about the TCPA. It’s crucial for the debt collection industry to not only understand what TCPA does, but how the courts have interpreted the law in terms of what collectors can and can’t do. We have some attorneys lined up who will explain just that. Learn more.