June 19th, 2012
CFPB Update: Consumer Complaint Database
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Nearly a year after its official launch, the consumer watchdog has released its Consumer Complaint Database. This interactive database so far catalogues 130 credit card complaints received since June 1, 2012.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has tasked its Consumer Response team to take complaints directly from consumers, bring concerns to the attention of financial institutions, and address the complaints when possible. The result of their work is now available in the new online database, which is currently in beta.
Those interested in digging into the data can visualize the credit card complaints by zip code, type of response, volume over time and type of issue. The data is refreshed daily, and the CFPB hopes to have all of the 16,840 credit card complaints uploaded in the next few months.
Why does it matter?
With this new interactive database and its accompanying report the CFPB hopes to show its effectiveness in handling consumer complaints.
Additionally, the bureau believes that consumer complaint information should be available to everyone. “No longer will consumer complaints only be known to the individual complaintant, bank, regulator and those in the public willing to pursue this information through the Freedom of Information Act,” the CFPB’s Scott Pluta said in a blog post. “Our goal is to improve the transparency and efficiency of the credit card market to further empower American consumers.”
What does it all mean?
Consumers will be able to get insight into how well banks deal with complaints, which could sway their credit-card application decisions away from one issuer and toward another. It could also help them get a faster response than they would by dealing with a bank directly, since the complaint data will be public (although anonymized) if submitted to the CFPB’s Consumer Response team.
Not surprisingly, many banks aren’t happy with the new database. They’re unsure of the CFPB’s ability to separate valid complaints from baseless ones. But the bureau claims to have a viable process for distinguishing the difference. Plus, it won’t disclose any complaint until the financial institution confirms that it has done business with the consumer.
Since the database is currently in beta, only time will tell if the banks’ disagreements will cause the CFPB to change its approach of displaying consumer complaint information. In the meantime, the bureau hopes to add more financial product complaints, including 19,250 mortgage complaints, 6,490 bank product and services complaints, and 1,270 private student loan complaints.
If you want to submit a complaint to the CFPB, you can do so online.
Read our past CFPB updates:
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