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Spike in Complaints About Debt Collection Activities Creates CFPB First Quarter Record

More complaints about debt collection activities were published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the first quarter of 2015 than in any quarter previously.  A large surge in complaints in the month of March spurred the record quarter; and the total is thought to likely increase in the near future.

First quarter complaints about debt collection practices to the CFPB were logged at 10,411, which is a 15 percent increase over fourth quarter in 2014 and is up 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2014.  The largest portion of the increase in the first quarter was particularly driven by more than 3,700 complaints; the most on record since the CFPB started taking complaints.  

The complaint database of the CFPB only lists complaints that companies have been given a chance to respond to, but doesn’t include complaints taken by other agencies, complaints that are currently pending with the CFPB or the individual consumer, or complaints that are incomplete.  

The previous record of complaints happened last year in the month of April when 3,691 complaints were logged.  The first two quarters of last year rose considerably but complaints receded during the second half of the year.  However, the beginning of 2015 marked a renewed increase in complaints, with the month of March sending Q1 of 2015 into record highs.

Also noteworthy is the fact that medical debt took up a large portion of the complaints logged in the first quarter of 2015, with more than 14 percent of all complaints being related to debt from healthcare services.  This number was noticeably higher than the 13.6 logged in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the 9.5 percent logged in first quarter of 2014.

Debt collection complaints stayed within the normal range for reasons consumers lodged complaints.  The most widely used complaint by consumers thus far in 2015 has been that “the debt is not mine,” which has been used every month so far.  The most common other reasons given typically are that the “debt was paid,” and “cannot verify the debt”.  


Last modified onTuesday, 12 May 2015 20:47

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