An official website of the United States Government Español
  • Home
  • Consumers’ voices

Consumers’ voices

Your chance to weigh in on debt collection practices

By

We want to hear about your debt collection experience—weigh in now.

Since we began taking debt collection complaints a few months ago, companies have responded to more than 5,000 debt collection complaints. We see that this is an important issue for consumers and today we’re adding these complaints about debt collection to our public Consumer Complaint Database.

We’re also taking the first steps to gather information to determine what rules would be appropriate to protect consumers who are subject to debt collection. We’re issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) today —and what that means is that we are considering issuing rules for the debt collection industry, but first we want to hear from you so we can learn more about the debt collection system. We’d like to hear about your experience with debt collectors and how they should act when they try to recover debts.

Getting input from the public – you – is an important part of the process. Debt collection is a complicated topic, with many consumer protection concerns.  We are issuing an ANPR in order to ask a number of questions about different aspects of the industry and the consumer experience. The ANPR will be published in the Federal Register, where anyone can submit comments to respond to the questions. We’re particularly interested in learning about the accuracy of information in the debt collection industry, whether consumers are aware of the debt and their rights, and whether consumers are being treated fairly.

Although the public can submit comments formally in response to the notice at regulations.gov, we want to make it easier for consumers and small businesses to tell us what they think about debt collection practices. To do that, we’ve partnered with RegulationRoom.org, operated by the Cornell University’s eRulemaking Initiative, where you can provide your comments in an interactive and intuitive way.

RegulationRoom.org is not a government website. It’s operated by law students and staff at Cornell Law School, with the goal of making it easy for people to submit comments to government agencies. They are working on removing barriers to public participation, and we are excited to be partnering with them again.

The staff at RegulationRoom.org realizes that most people are generally unfamiliar with the formal commenting process at Regulations.gov (the official government site). So they present information, conduct a conversation, and then collect views until the forum closes about a week before the end of the comment period, so that their team can assemble all the feedback into an official comment. Those who have participated get one more chance to react to the summary before it is submitted formally to the CFPB through regulations.gov. And, like all other formal comments, we will read and consider them as we consider consumer protection rules for the debt collection market.

Explore the data

Adding debt collection complaints will take the number of complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database to more than 155,000. When you look at the data for debt collection complaints, you can even see what type of debt is involved (auto loan, credit card, medical, student loan, mortgage, etc).

Dig in and explore this new frontier of information, and remember – if you think you’ve found something interesting in the consumer complaint data, we definitely want to hear about it! We encourage the public, including consumers, analysts, data scientists, civic hackers, and companies that serve consumers to analyze, augment, and build on the information in the database to develop ways for consumers to use the complaint data or mash it up with other public data sets to reveal potential trends.

Don’t forget to share your work, from visualizations to new tools, by tweeting @CFPB or using #CFPBdata.

Releasing complaint data about credit cards, mortgages, student loans, bank accounts, services, and other consumer loans

By

What are you going to make with #CFPBdata?

Last summer, we launched our Consumer Complaint Database featuring data about credit card complaints.

Today, based on feedback from the public, we’re expanding it – and increasing the number of complaints from about 19,000 to more than 90,000. Here’s what we’re adding data about:

  • Mortgage complaints submitted since we started taking mortgage complaints on December 1st, 2011.
  • Complaints about bank accounts and services submitted since we started taking them on March 1st, 2012.
  • Private student loan complaints submitted since we started taking them on March 1st, 2012.
  • Complaints about other consumer loans (for example, if you got a loan to finance your daughter’s braces) submitted since we started taking them on March 1st, 2012.
  • More specificity about the product each complaint is about, where provided. For example, instead of just “mortgage,” you can see if the complaint is about a reverse mortgage or a conventional fixed mortgage, etc.

And we’re not satisfied quite yet – more expansions are coming. In the future, we’ll add even more products and improvements to the user experience.

The best part is: You don’t have to wait for us to build what you’d like to see from the data. We’re releasing this data as an API, as well as in CSV, JSON, PDF, RDF, RSS, XLS, XLSX, and XML – and we’d love to see what you can do with it.

From infographics to iPhone apps, we’ve seen people do amazing things with the credit card complaint data that was available before today.

If you think you’ve found something interesting in the consumer complaint data, we want to hear about it.

We encourage the public, including consumers, analysts, data scientists, civic hackers, and companies that serve consumers, to analyze, augment, and build on the information in the database to develop ways for consumers to use the complaint data or mash it up with other public data sets to reveal potential trends.

Share your work, from visualizations to new tools, by tweeting @CFPB using the hashtag #CFPBdata.

The Consumer Complaint Database is just another example of our support for an open-data agenda. Our Project Catalyst team also will be using this data to support innovation in the consumer finance space.

Scott Pluta is the Assistant Director for the Office of Consumer Response at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

p.s. As an example of what can be done with the data, we gave one of our staff a day to play with it in Microsoft Excel. Here’s what she came up with. Her example only goes to March 22, and as with the database itself, the data hasn’t been normalized, meaning that in many cases apples-to-apples comparisons can’t always be made. For example, companies with more customers could be expected to have more complaints. States with more people, likewise, would be expected to have more complaints.

Save the date, Tampa, FL! (UPDATE: Cancellation)

By
UPDATE (June 25, 2012):

We have cancelled this field hearing on reverse mortgages due to Tropical Storm Debby. For more information on the storm please visit the website for the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

We invite you to participate in a field hearing in Tampa, Florida on reverse mortgages.

The field hearing will take place on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, at 11:00 am in the Ballroom of the Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida.

The field hearing will feature remarks from Richard Cordray, CFPB Director as well as testimony from consumer and civil rights groups, industry representatives, and members of the public.

This event is open to the public and requires an RSVP. To RSVP, email your full name and your organizational affiliation (if any) to cfpb.events@cfpb.gov.

Help the CFPB solve the most common consumer mistakes

By

We all make mistakes. That’s part of what makes us human. When we can, we learn from our mistakes. That’s why we at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau want to understand more about the most common errors consumers make about money. We want to find better ways to help others avoid these mistakes in the future.

For example, many consumers make credit card and loan decisions without shopping for the best rates and terms. Others set goals – like saving more for retirement or for the down payment on a home – but don’t follow through. Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, but never take the steps necessary to plan their spending, reduce their debt, or save for sudden expenses.

We would like to give you a chance to tell us about common money mistakes. Tell us about:

  • Errors you’ve made;
  • Mistakes you’ve seen others make;
  • Habits and practices that make good choices more difficult; and
  • What you wish you had known sooner or would do differently next time.

Please e-mail your comments to FinancialEducation@CFPB.gov.

(Note: Do not discuss personally identifiable information or private issues in the comments area below. If you have a complaint about a specific product or company, please enter it here.)

Save the date, New York!

By

We are continuing our commitment to hear from consumers around the country about their experiences with financial products and services. Last month, we held a field hearing in Birmingham, Ala., and we will be heading to the Big Apple for our next stop.

The CFPB will be holding a town hall in New York on Wednesday, February 22 to talk about checking accounts. We are looking forward to your participation, so be sure to save the date!

This event is open to the public and requires an RSVP. To RSVP, email your full name to cfpb.events@cfpb.gov.

Who
Director Richard Cordray and Deputy Director Raj Date
Local officials
Members of the public

What
A town hall to listen and to learn from community members’ experiences with checking account products and services

When
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
5:30 p.m.

Where
Hunter College
East 69th Street between Park & Lexington Avenues
New York, NY 10065
Map & directions

Your thoughts on private student loans

By

The Consumer Bureau has been busy when it comes to student loans. We worked with the Department of Education to launch our Know Before You Owe: Student Loans project and we rolled out the Student Debt Repayment Assistant to help student loan borrowers understand their repayment options. We also published a notice in the Federal Register to ask you – students, lenders, servicers, schools, and other members of the public – to tell us about your experiences with the private student loan market. The response we’ve already received from all corners has been impressive and very helpful. (more…)