The CFPB is finalizing a policy to allow consumers to voice publicly their complaints about consumer financial products and services. When consumers submit a complaint to the CFPB, they now have the option to share their account of what happened in the CFPB’s public-facing Consumer Complaint Database. The CFPB is also publishing a Request for Information seeking public input on ways to highlight positive consumer experiences, such as by receiving consumer compliments.

The CFPB already accepts complaints on many 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 believes allowing consumers to share their narrative publicly will greatly enhance the utility of its database. The narratives will provide context to complaints, spotlight specific trends, and help consumers make informed decisions. According to the CFPB, the narratives may encourage companies to improve the overall quality of their products and services, and more vigorously compete over good customer service.

Companies will be given the option to select from a set list of structured response options as a public-facing response to address the consumer complaints. Companies will be under no obligation to offer a public response, and they have 180 days after the consumer complaint is routed to them to select the optional, public response. Companies will have the option to address all consumer complaints submitted after this policy announcement, not just those where a consumer consented to publication.