Bureau Proposes Sharing Consumer Narratives in Complaints Database

On July 17, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) held a field hearing in El Paso, Texas to announce a new policy proposal (“Proposal”) that would expand the Consumer Complaint Database (“Database”) to allow consumers to share their views and individual stories publicly by including consumer complaint narratives in the Database. Specifically, the CFPB proposes to allow consumers to publish unstructured and unverified narratives describing their complaints when contributing to the CFPB’s Database.

The CFPB started taking consumer complaints immediately when it commenced operations in July of 2011, but it did not begin to publish those complaints in the Database until June 2012. Initially, the Database was limited to complaints about credit cards. Over the years, the CFPB has gradually expanded the Database to include more data fields and additional financial products, including mortgages, bank accounts, credit reporting and debt collection. On July 21, 2014, the CFPB announced it is now accepting complaints regarding prepaid cards and additional nonbank products such as credit repair and debt settlement services.

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