July 23, 2014 View entire issue of ANO         Close 

CFPB Wants to Publicize Consumer Complaints
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a policy that would allow consumers to publicize their complaints about financial products and services — including mortgages, HousingWire reported July 16. 

If instituted, the policy would give consumers the option of sharing their complaints when they submit accounts of problems to the agency. The CFPB said the proposed policy would help the public see certain trends in the market, help with consumer decision-making and drive better customer service.

“The consumer experience shared in the narrative is the heart and soul of the complaint,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release, HousingWire reported. “By publicly voicing their complaint, consumers can stand up for themselves and others who have experienced the same problem. There is power in their stories, and that power can be put in service to strengthen the foundation for consumers, responsible providers and our economy as a whole.”

Aside from collecting complaints related to mortgages, the CFPB also handles complaints for credit cards, bank accounts and various loans (student, vehicle and payday), among others. In 2013, the agency received 163,700 complaints, almost double the number it received in 2012.

Once a consumer submits a complaint to the CFPB, it is forwarded to the company in question so they have the opportunity to respond, and then CFPB tracks the response and provides updates to consumers on the complaint status, HousingWire reported.  

In its news release on the proposed policy, the CFPB noted, “In many ways, the narratives are the most insightful part of a complaint. They provide a first-hand account of the consumer’s experience and the problem they would like resolved. By giving consumers an option to publicly share their stories, the CFPB would greatly enhance the utility of the database, a platform designed to provide consumers with valuable information needed to make better financial choices for themselves and their families,” HousingWire reported.

The CFPB noted that other agencies have successfully publicized complaints, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (SaferProducts.gov) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (SaferCar.gov).

Read a copy of the CFPB’s proposal

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