CFPB Releases Monthly Complaint Report for September

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On October 27, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its latest Monthly Complaint Report, which provides an overview of three-month trends in consumer complaints. This Monthly Complaint Report also specifically highlights consumer complaints related to credit cards and consumer complaints from the Chicago metro area.

Credit Card Complaint Spotlight

According to the Monthly Complaint Report, the CFPB handled more than 726,000 consumer complaints between July 21, 2011, and October 1, 2015. Approximately 79,500 complaints related to credit cards. The issues consumers complained about related to credit cards include:

  • Confusion about how late fees are assessed
  • Difficulty resolving and disputing inaccurate charges
  • Credit card companies closing accounts without prior notice to consumers

The Monthly Complaint Report indicates that Citibank, Capital One, GE Capital Retail, and JPMorgan Chase were the most complained about companies related to credit cards. Those companies together accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total credit card-related complaints.

National Consumer Complaints

Across all consumer financial products and services regulated by the CFPB, the Monthly Complaint Report includes the following statistics for September 2015:

  • 29,354 consumer complaints were submitted.
  • The most complained about consumer financial product or service was debt collection, which accounted for approximately 29 percent of all complaints.
  • Credit reporting was the second most complained about consumer financial product or service.
  • Complaints about debt settlement, credit repair, and check cashing showed the greatest year-to-year increase (from September 2014 to September 2015).
  • Idaho had the greatest year-to-year complaint volume increase (September 2014 to September 2015).
  • Equifax, Experian, and Bank of America were the top three most complained about companies, which remained unchanged from August 2015.

Chicago Metro Area Complaints

In addition to providing national consumer financial complaint trends, the Monthly Complaint Report also highlights complaints originating from the Chicago, Illinois metro area. Of the 726,000 complaints that have been submitted to the CFPB, 21,100 have originated from the Chicago metro area. Chicago area consumer complaints largely mirror national trends, with the most complaints related to mortgage, debt collection, and credit reporting.

CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database

In June 2012, the CFPB launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which permits consumers to submit complaints about consumer financial products and services. Once the CFPB receives a complaint it forwards the complaint to the relevant company for a response. Companies generally have 15 days to respond to the complaint, unless an extension is secured in the meantime. The consumer complaint and company’s response, if one is provided, is published on the public facing Consumer Complaint Database, which can be accessed and viewed by the public. The information provided on the database can be valuable not only to consumers, but also to companies. For example, it provides a valuable tool for companies to understand how consumers view the quality of the company’s products and services. It also provides companies with an opportunity to evaluate whether complaint trends suggest problems exist with certain products and services that need to be addressed to avoid or minimize regulatory action. As such, although the Consumer Complaint Database is not generally viewed favorably by financial industry companies, it can provide valuable information.

View the CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201510_cfpb_monthly-complaint-report-vol-4.pdf.

View the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/.

To discuss CFPB and the valuable information financial institutions can distill from the Monthly Complaint Report and Consumer Complaint Database, please contact Zane Gilmer or the Stinson Leonard Street attorney with whom you regularly work.

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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