CFPB extends comment period on proposal to publicly disclose consumer complaint narratives


The CFPB is extending the comment period on its proposed policy statement that would expand the complaint data that it publicly discloses in its Consumer Complaint Database to include “unstructured” complaint narratives. In a statement released on July 29, 2014, the CFPB states that it is extending the deadline for comments to be filed from August 22, 2014 to September 22, 2014, 60 days from the date the proposed policy was published in the Federal Register.

As we previously reported in depth, under the proposal, the CFPB would publish consumer complaint narratives if the consumer provided informed consent, which they could withdraw at any time. In addition, according to the CFPB, companies would be able to submit a narrative response that would appear next to the consumer’s narrative. The CFPB would take “robust” steps to remove all personal information from both the complaint narrative and company’s public response.

The CFPB’s announcement to extend the deadline for comments by 30 days follows a letter sent to the CFPB by five prominent industry trade groups requesting at least 90 days to comment. As reported, the trade groups pointed out that a longer comment period is consistent with Executive Order 13563, dated January 18, 2011, which states that agencies are expected to promote public participation by affording at least 60 days for public comment.

Given the significant risks of disclosing unverified consumer information there is a clear need to allow stakeholders ample time to analyze and respond to the CFPB’s proposal.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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