CFPB Jan. 2016 complaint report highlights “other financial services complaints,” complaints from NY State/NY metro area consumers

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The CFPB has issued its January 2016 complaint report which highlights “other financial service” complaints and complaints from consumers in New York State and the New York metro area. In addition to the major complaint categories consumers can use when submitting online complaints to the CFPB, there is a miscellaneous category labeled “other financial service.” This category includes complaints about debt settlement, check cashing, credit repair, refund anticipation checks, and money orders.

General findings include the following:

  • As of January 1, 2016, the CFPB handled approximately 790,000 complaints nationally, including approximately 20,300 complaints in December 2015. For December 2015, debt collection continued to be the most complained-about financial product or service, representing about 31 percent of complaints submitted. (The CFPB stated that this was the 28th consecutive month in which it handled more complaints about debt collection than about any other type of complaint.) Debt collection complaints, together with complaints about credit reporting and mortgages, collectively represented about 68 percent of the complaints submitted in December 2015.
  • Complaints about prepaid cards showed the greatest percentage increase based on a three-month average, increasing about 233 percent from the same time last year (October to December 2014 compared with October to December 2015). Complaints during those periods increased from 138 complaints in 2014 to 459 complaints in 2015.
  • Student loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average, decreasing about 14 percent from the same time last year (October to December 2014 compared with October to December 2015). Complaints during those periods decreased from 582 complaints in 2014 to 499 complaints in 2015.
  • Mississippi, Montana and Arizona experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year (October to December 2014 compared with October to December 2015). The volume of complaints from Mississippi, Montana and Arizona increased by, respectively, 38, 37 and 34 percent.
  • The states with the greatest complaint volume decreases from the same time last year (October to December 2014 compared with October to December 2015) were Hawaii, Alaska and Oklahoma with decreases of, respectively, 22, 20 and 19 percent.

Findings regarding “other financial service” complaints include the following:

  • Since July 19, 2014, the CFPB has handled approximately 2,700 other financial service complaints, representing about 0.3 percent of total complaints.
  • The most common products complained about were debt settlement (47 percent) and check cashing (14 percent). The most common issues identified by consumers were problems with fraud or scams (46 percent) and customer service or relations (21 percent).
  • Complaints about debt settlement or credit repair often involved reports of upfront fees being charged and more than 26 percent mentioned student loans.
  • Consumers who submitted check cashing complaints frequently mentioned high costs or inability to cash checks, often because of recommendations made by check authorization and warranty companies.

Findings regarding complaints from consumers in New York State and the New York metro area (which is comprised of certain zip codes from New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY and Pennsylvania) include the following:

  • As of January 1, 2016, approximately 50,400 complaints were submitted by New York State consumers and 57,700 were from consumers in the New York metro area.
  • Mortgages were the most-complained-about product, with mortgage-related complaints representing 25 percent of the complaints submitted by New York State consumers and 27 percent of the complaints submitted by consumers in the New York metro area. (Nationally, mortgage complaints averaged 27 percent of all complaints received by the CFPB.)
  • Debt collection and credit reporting were, respectively, the second and third most-complained-about financial products by New York State and New York metro area consumers.

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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