Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Begins Accepting Consumers’ Money Transfer Complaints

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Noting that “[i]t’s pretty incredible that you can quickly send money to almost anywhere in the country or abroad,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) recently announced it has begun accepting consumer complaints regarding money transfers as part of its broader consumer complaint system. This adds money transfers to the growing list of financial products on which consumers can submit complaints, including bank accounts, credit cards, credit reporting, mortgages, and student, vehicle and consumer loans.

The CFPB’s post announcing this development identifies several bases for a money transfer complaint, including (1) frauds or scams; (2) money not being available when promised; (3) inaccurate amounts received or charged for fees, exchange rates or taxes; (4) inaccurate or missing disclosures of information; (5) other transaction issues, such as unauthorized transactions or issues with cancelations or refunds; and (6) other service issues, such as issues relating to the pricing, privacy, advertising or marketing of money transfers.

The CFPB accepts customer complaints through its website, processes them, and, if certain criteria are met (principally establishing that the consumer’s complaint relates to an existing commercial relationship), publishes select information relating to consumer complaints in its public database and its periodic reports. As the CFPB outlined in its recently-issued final policy statement on public disclosure of consumer complaint data, the complaint process generally involves the CFPB forwarding complaints submitted by a consumer to the relevant company for a response. After 15 days, the CFPB posts information about the complaint in its public database, along with the company’s response, such as “Closed with monetary relief” or “In progress”, or “Untimely response” (if the company fails to respond within the 15-day timeline). However, narrative comments in either the complaint or the response are not included in the public database. The complaint database is searchable by complaint type, company, location, and date. The CFPB shares its complaint data with state and federal law enforcement agencies and may conduct its own further investigation or follow-up on complaints.

The CFPB’s post announcing the addition of money transfer complaints is available here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/now-accepting-money-transfer-complaints/

The CFPB’s policy statement related to the database is available here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201303_cfpb_Final-Policy-Statement-Disclosure-of-Consumer-Complaint-Data.pdf

For more information on the CBPB’s complaint process, visit the CFPB’s website: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/