On December 22, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its latest Monthly Complaint Report for November 2015, which provides an overview of three-month trends in consumer complaints.  This Monthly Report also highlights consumer complaints related to money transfers and consumer complaints from Georgia.

Money Transfer Complaint Spotlight

As of December 1, 2015, the CFPB has handled approximately 5,100 money transfer complaints, related to both domestic and international transfers.  Among other things, those complaints relate to the following:

  • 42 percent of the complaints involve consumers complaining about being victimized by fraud;
  • problems related to transferring money, including the amount of money transmitted being less than expected and unexpected delays in transferring funds;
  • issues related to customer service, including long hold times or being provided inadequate or confusing information; and
  • problems resolving errors with transfers.

The most complained about companies were MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, and JPMorgan Chase, which together accounted for approximately 80 percent of all money transfer complaints.

National Complaint Overview

As of December 1, 2015, the CFPB has handled 770,100 complaints across all consumer financial products and services regulated by the CFPB.  The Monthly Complaint Report includes the following statistics for October 2015 about those complaints:

  • debt collection and mortgages were the most complained about products, representing nearly half of all complaints;
  • complaints related to prepaid products rose 215 percent in a year-to-year and month-to-month comparison;
  • complaints related to payday loans showed the greatest decrease in a year-to-year and month-to-month comparison;
  • the District of Columbia and Delaware had the highest complaint volume per capita; and
  • the most complained about companies were Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Georgia Complaints

In addition to providing national consumer financial complaint trends, the Monthly Complaint Report also highlights complaints originating from the Atlanta, Georgia metro area.  Of the 770,100 complaints that have been submitted to the CFPB, 31,300 have originated from Georgia.  Consumer complaints submitted by Georgia consumers revealed the following:

  • 33 percent of the complaints related to mortgages, making up the largest percentage of overall complaints;
  • Georgia consumer complaints largely mirror national trends, but Georgia consumers complain about mortgages at a slightly higher rate;
  • Georgia consumer complained most about Equifax, Bank of America, Experian, TransUnion, and Wells Fargo.

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 to not only 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 that 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.

For more information on the CFPB’s consumer complaint process go here: https://www.stinson.com/Resources/PDF_Files/Navigating_CFPBs_Consumer_Complaint_Process.aspx.

You can view the CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report here: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201512_cfpb_monthly-complaint-report-vol-6.pdf.

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