The filing lawsuits under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) increased dramatically in the first month of 2022 when compared to the number of filings in January and December 2021, per a report released recently by Web Recon LLC. The number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also rose slightly when compared to the same time periods.
Out of the approximately 1,053 lawsuits litigants have filed this year under the aforementioned statutes, 524 seek relief under the FCRA. This is almost a 14% increase when compared to the same time period one year ago, as well as when compared to December 2021. Lawsuits under the FDCPA came in a close second, with 518 actions seeking relief under that act. This is almost a 5% increase when compared to the same time period one year ago and a 13% increase since December 2021. The embattled TCPA also saw a 35% increase in the number of filings in January 2022 when compared to December 2021. Although TCPA filings are down 45% when compared to the same time period one year ago, this recent uptick in filings could signal plaintiffs have found or are looking for new avenues of attack under the TCPA. Class actions made up roughly 11% of the total filings.
The most active jurisdiction for filings were the Northern District of Illinois, the Northern District of Georgia, the Southern District of Florida, and the Middle District of Florida, each with 50 or more filings in January. The District of Minnesota, the District of Nevada, the Eastern District of New York, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Central District of California rounded out the top 10 with 40 or less filings in the first month of the year.
Also, there were 5,035 complaints filed within the CFPB in January, representing an almost 2% increase when compared to December 2021. Over half of the complaints alleged the consumer was subjected to collection attempts for a debt he/she did not owe, with the next highest category of disputes claiming an issue with the written notification about a debt. Threats of legal action, false representations, unlawful or unscrupulous communication tactics, and threats of disclosing information about the debt rounded out the other four categories of complaints.