The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) late last week expanded its Consumer Complaint Database to include state-by-state information. The CFPB also added complaints about money transfers and credit reporting to the database. There is also now an unconfirmed schedule for the beginning of debt collection complaint intake.
“This data puts valuable information in the hands of consumers to help them understand what is happening in their states,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “And by adding credit reporting and money transfer complaints to the Consumer Complaint Database, we are making these important markets more transparent and accountable to all consumers.”
The expanded Consumer Complaint Database went live today at: consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase
Users can easily track, sort, search, and download complaints listed in the Consumer Complaint Database. In March, the database expanded from more than 19,000 credit card complaints to nearly 90,000 complaints on credit cards, mortgages, student loans, bank accounts and services, and other consumer loans, like auto loans. As of today, the database contains about 113,000 complaints. The live database updates nightly; so as the CFPB handles more complaints, more are added.
The CFPB’s complaint database does not yet accept debt collection complaints. But the Bureau recently, through ACA International, encouraged debt collection agencies to sign up for the complaint resolution process (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/company-signup/). The CFPB will begin taking debt collection complaints in mid-July, according to reports.
The complaints database allows the public to see what consumers complained about and why. It includes the type of complaint, the date of submission, and the company that the complaint concerns. A consumer’s identity and other personal information are not included. Complaints are listed in the database only after the company responds to the complaint or after they have had the complaint for 15 days, whichever comes first. The CFPB uses the complaints along with other information, such as the timeliness of the company’s response, in a variety of ways, for example, to help prioritize complaints for investigation.
Last week’s Consumer Complaint Database update will add a new field to every complaint – the state it came from. While five-digit ZIP code information – self-identified by the consumer – has always been included in the complaint information, adding the state helps people more easily localize data. The state field also includes the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the military post office addresses of servicemembers.
According to the database, the top states per capita by mortgage complaints are: 1) New Hampshire, 2) Maryland, 3) the District of Columbia, 4) Georgia, and 5) Florida.
The top states per capita by credit card complaints are: 1) the District of Columbia, 2) Delaware, 3) Maryland, 4) New York, and 5) New Jersey.
And, the top states per capita by bank account and service complaints are: 1) the District of Columbia, 2) Delaware, 3) New Jersey, 4) Rhode Island, and 5) Maryland.
CFPB is also adding more than 6,000 credit reporting complaints to the database. The Bureau will add new complaints as they come in and are processed. The CFPB began taking credit reporting complaints in October 2012.
Credit reporting companies, which include what are popularly called credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies, are private businesses that track a consumer’s credit history and other consumer transactions. The credit reports they generate – and the three-digit credit scores that are based on those reports – play an increasingly important role in the lives of American consumers. The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets.
When submitting a complaint about credit reporting, consumers can select from five common issues, which are all searchable on the updated database:
- Incorrect information on a credit report;
- Problems with a credit reporting company’s investigation;
- Improper use of a credit report;
- Not being able to get a credit report or credit score; and
- Problems with credit monitoring or identity protection services.
Money transfers, the latest category of complaints that the CFPB began accepting in April, are also being updated to the Consumer Complaint Database.
Money transfer complaints include domestic or international wire transfers. Each year, consumers in the United States send abroad tens of billions of dollars to family members, friends, and businesses through international wire transfers, also known as remittances. Prior to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, international money transfers were generally excluded from existing federal consumer protection regulations.
When submitting a money transfer complaint, consumers can select from the following six common issues, which are all searchable on the updated database:
- Money was not available when promised;
- The wrong amount was charged or received;
- There was incorrect/missing disclosures or information;
- Other transaction issues such as an unauthorized transaction, cancellation, or refund;
- Other service issues such as with advertising, marketing, pricing, or privacy; and
- Other fraud or scam issues.
The CFPB encourages the public, including consumers, analysts, developers, data scientists, and companies that serve consumers, to analyze, augment, and build on the public database to develop ways for consumers to access the complaint data.