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BBB Report: Complaints About Debt Collectors Continue to Decline

A majority of collection agencies also continue to respond to consumers’ complaints in a timely manner.

The total number of complaints filed by consumers about businesses such as telephone service providers, auto dealers and collection agencies declined in 2015, according to a report with preliminary data from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau released this week.

Consumers filed 19,803 complaints about collection agencies last year, down from 21,603 complaints in 2014, according to the Connecticut BBB report. The top 10 types of businesses consumers file complaints about remains consistent, and collection agencies ranked fifth last year and in 2014.

The most recent national data from the Council of Better Business Bureaus also shows complaints about debt collectors are decreasing and debt collectors still outrank other industries in complaint resolution, ACA International previously reported.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus data from 2014, released in September 2015, shows that debt collectors have dropped to fifth place among the most complained-about service providers by consumers. The BBB’s 2014 Complaint and Inquiry Statistics also show a dramatic decrease in the number of complaints against debt collectors.

According to the national Council for Better Business Bureaus’ data, debt collectors received 21,576 consumer complaints in 2014. Consumers complained more about cellular telephone service and supplies; telephone communications; television – cable, CATV and satellite; and auto dealers – new cars.

The preliminary 2015 data from the Connecticut BBB mirrors the national findings from 2014. Cellular telephone services and supplies ranked first in the number of complaints with 35,871 in 2015 followed by telephone communications with 28,279 complaints, according to the report.

Collection agencies also ranked fourth among businesses that consumers make inquiries about to the BBB, according to the Connecticut report. Approximately 3.2 million consumers made inquiries on collection agencies in 2014 and 2015, it states.

“Statistically, we see that consumers who do their research through [the] Better Business Bureau before signing a contract tend to be less likely to file a complaint,” said Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz.

According to WebRecon’s latest Debt Collection Litigation and CFPB Complaint Statistics report released Feb. 15, year-over-year debt collection complaints filed with the CFPB declined 17.6 percent from 3,282 in January 2015 to 2,705 in January 2016.

Of the 2,705 complaints filed in January, collection agencies responded to 91 percent (2,455) in a timely manner, ACA reported.