On October 27, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or the Bureau) released its October Complaint Snapshot. The Bureau accepts and publishes in its Consumer Complaints Database complaints regarding consumer financial products, including credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, private student loans, vehicle and other consumer loans, credit reporting, money transfers, debt collection, and payday loans. The CFPB states that it "expects companies to respond to complaints and to describe the steps they have taken or plan to take to resolve the complaint within 15 days of receipt." The CFPB further expects companies to "close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days."
The October 2015 Snapshot focused on issues and complaints surrounding credit cards. As of October 1, 2015, the CFPB had handled approximately 79,500 credit card-related complaints. Some of the issues identified by the Bureau include:
- Late Fees—The CFPB noted that the payment process was the primary issue many consumers complained about (16% of credit card-related complaints).
- Billing Statements—The CFPB notes that many consumers complained that they did not have clear information on the amount of time they had to dispute charges they believed were wrong. Others complained that they were not made aware that their credit card company would not assist them in a dispute with a merchant.
- Account Closures—The CFPB stated that 7% of consumer credit card complaints involved accounts being closed without advance warning, mostly because of suspected fraud on the card.
In general, the financial product or service complained about most during September 2015 was debt collection, representing about 29% of complaints submitted. Complaints about debt settlement, credit repair, and check cashing (classified as "other financial services complaints") showed the greatest percentage increase. Complaints about these products rose 97% from the same time last year.
The CFPB relies on the Consumer Complaints Database to identify trends and inform enforcement and supervisory focuses. Moreover, the complaints are available to the public and may include a consumer narrative describing the issues leading to the complaint. Industry participants are thus well served by maintaining an awareness of complaints that may impact their businesses.