“Everything is broken.” So starts Jack Gordon’s report on October’s debt industry statistics. And he’s not wrong. But this all also shouldn’t be any surprise.
Consumer litigation against debt collectors took a bump in October — and this is across all the Big Statutes: FDCPA, FCRA, and TCPA.
FDCPA suits “unexpectedly [caught] fire this year, up more than 1200 suits (+14.5%) over this time in 2014,” according to Gordon. FCRA suits “works out to a dramatic +39% increase over this time last year,” and “TCPA’s YTD numbers have recovered due to the combination of a strong October and a weak few months at the end of 2014. Now up almost 200 suits (+8.7%) over this time last year, TCPA seems to have avoided the likelihood of a decline.”
insideARM’s Perspective: I sat in on a TCPA presentation at this year’s NARCA conference in Washington, D.C. It was similar, almost to the jokes used to punctuate slides, to every TCPA presentation we’ve all heard at this point because, in a post-July world, we’ve covered all we’re going to cover and the TCPA questions are still the questions.
One interesting point mentioned, almost as a throw-away, was this: no one really paid attention to, or gave much thought to, the TCPA even as recent as five years ago. And now, it’s essentially an Old Favorite for consumer attorneys — especially after the FCC “clarified” so much of it.
As an industry, you seem to be about five to eight years behind where you should be, and you spend a lot of energy being reactive rather than proactive. And after the NARCA TCPA presentation, I asked, “So, what is the next TCPA? What is the thing that, five years from now has the potential to be a nightmare and a surprise to an industry not great at forward thinking?” And it took a while before one of the two attorneys offered, “…data security? Maybe?”
My suggestion isn’t to channel all of your intelligence and energy into the Next Big Thing — that won’t work, either. But a few more conversations with shared intelligence — “Hey, I’m noticing a sea-change around [x]; maybe we ought to address that in some industry-wide way?” — is probably not a terrible idea.
Happy Friday the Thirteenth!
[For those interested in music, here's a gorgeous song called "Everything is Broken" by a band called Ollabelle]