Monthly CFPB snapshot looks at debt collection, Fla. complaints

March 31, 2016

WASHINGTON (3/31/16)--Attempted collections on debts not owed top the debt collection complaints received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to the bureau’s latest snapshot. This month’s snapshot also highlights trends seen in complaints from Florida consumers.

As of March 1, the bureau has handled roughly 219,200 debt collection complaints, just over a quarter of the 834,400 complaints the bureau has received in total since its inception.

Highlights of the bureau’s findings include:

  • The most common debt collection complaint (38%) had to do with both first- and third-party debt collectors attempting to collect on a debt the consumer reported was not owed;
  • Another frequent complaint from consumers involves communication tactics. Consumers complained about receiving multiple calls weekly and sometimes daily from debt collectors, or that the collector continued to call even after being repeatedly told that the alleged debtor could not be contacted at the dialed number;
  • Consumers complained that they were not given enough information to verify whether they owed the debt that someone was attempting to collect; and
  • The most-complained-about debt collection companies were Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. Both companies, which are among the largest debt buyers in the country, averaged more than 100 complaints submitted to the bureau each month between October and December 2015. Both were subject of bureau enforcement actions in 2015.

In Florida, the CFPB found that Miami, Orlando and Tampa Bay accounted for nearly 60% of complaints from the state. Florida (30%) sees a higher percentage of mortgage complaints than national averages (26%).

The most complained-about companies from consumers in Florida were Equifax, Bank of America and Experian.