Many cities and municipalities have non-emergency “hotlines” designed to provide access to non-urgent municipal services (e.g., tree trimming, dead animal removal, sidewalk repair). As of yesterday, this list of services has expanded to consumer questions and complaints about consumer financial products and services, at least in Newark, New Jersey. The Bureau announced that it is teaming up with the municipality to connect consumers with the Bureau’s Office of Consumer Response. Newark consumers can now simply dial the local 4311 hotline and, voila!, they will be connected with the Bureau.
Does this development raise UDAAP concerns? You bet! Consumer complaints are a key source of information and a potential jumping off point for Bureau investigations. Indeed, in connection with the Bureau’s announcement of this new program, Director Cordray invoked UDAAP sentiments when he said that “[t]he CFPB’s job is to help consumers navigate the often confusing financial marketplace and to hold financial institutions accountable.”
Tip of the day: keep a close eye on any complaint channel you have access to (e.g., internal, internet, etc.).