On November 29, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its latest Monthly Complaint Report for October 2016, which provides an overview of three-month trends in consumer complaints. This Monthly Report also highlights consumer complaints related to “other financial services,” such as debt settlement, check cashing, credit repair, and money orders. The Report also highlights complaints from Oklahoma.
Other Financial Services Spotlight
The CFPB has received approximately 4,500 of its total 1,035,200 complaints related to “other financial services.” The majority of the complaints relate to fruad or some form of a scam against the consumer. Debt collection related complaints were the most complained about type of “other financial service.” Consumers also reported difficulting redeeming money orders.
National Complaint Overview
As of November 1, 2016, the CFPB handled approximately 1,035,200 consumer complaints nationally across all financial products and services. Some of the highlights of those complaints include the following:
- The most complained about financial product or service during October 2016 was debt collection;
- In a year-to-year comparison for the three month period of August to October, student loan complaints showed the largest percentage increase at 108%;
- The states of Alaska, New Mexico, and Missouri had the greatest year-to-year increase in consumer complaint volume; and
- The three most complained about companies from June through August 2016 were Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Oklahoma Area Complaints
As of November 1, 2016, consumers in Oklahoma accounted for 7,700 of the total 1,035,200 complaints submitted to the CFPB. Highlights from those complaints include the following:
- Debt collection is the most complained about financial service or product;
- Mortgage-related complaints are lower than the national average;
- The most complained about companies mirror the national trend, i.e., Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
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.