Consumer Experiences with Debt Collection - Consumer Financial ...

Jan 1, 2017 - the top three nationwide credit repositories, and the survey data were adjusted for ... collection) on a voicemail or answering machine.
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January 2017

Consumer Experiences with Debt Collection Findings from the CFPB’s Survey of Consumer Views on Debt

Table of contents Table of contents......................................................................................................... 1 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................... 3 2. Sample and survey design, response rates, and weights ................................ 7 2.1

Sample design ........................................................................................... 7

2.2 Survey questionnaire and topics .............................................................. 8 2.3 Data collection protocol .......................................................................... 10 2.4 Response rates ......................................................................................... 11 2.5 Statistical adjustments and considerations ............................................. 11 3. Collections-related contacts, disputes, and lawsuits...................................... 13 3.1

Consumers with collections experience ................................................. 13

3.2 Types of debt in collection ...................................................................... 18 3.3 Contacts about debts a consumer believed were in error and disputes 23 3.4 Lawsuits .................................................................................................. 27 4. Contacts by creditors and collectors ................................................................ 29 4.1

How consumers were contacted ............................................................. 29

4.2 How often consumers were contacted.................................................... 30 4.3 Contact frequency by number of debts................................................... 32 4.4 Requesting not to be contacted .............................................................. 34 1

CONSUMER EXPERIENCES WITH DEBT COLLECTION

5. Communication methods ................................................................................... 36 5.1

Preferences for contacts about a debt in collection................................ 36

5.2 Preferences about messages from a creditor or collector ...................... 37 6. Comparing collections for creditors and collectors ........................................ 40 6.1

Method and frequency of contact by creditors and debt collectors ....... 40

6.2 Consumer characterizations of creditor and debt collector contacts .... 44 7. Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 48 8. Appendix: Survey instrument ............................................................................ 49

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CONSUMER EXPERIENCES WITH DEBT COLLECTION

1. Introduction This report presents the results of the Survey of Consumer Views on Debt (“survey”) which was conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Bureau”) between December 2014 and March 2015. The survey results substantially expand the understanding of debt collection in the United States by providing the first comprehensive and nationally representative data on consumers’ experiences and preferences related to debt collection. 1 A debt collector generally contacts a consumer when the collector believes that the consumer owes an unpaid debt. Debts for which a collection may be attempted can include both loans, such as a car loan or student loan, and past-due bills, such as a doctor’s bill or a phone bill. The collector may be the original creditor or another entity that is trying to collect the debt on behalf of the creditor, on behalf of a third party that has purchased the debt from the creditor, or on its own account as a purchaser of the debt obligation (collectively, debt collect