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Complaint snapshot: An analysis of debt collection complaints

In our latest Complaint Snapshot, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection examines complaint trends, with a focused look at complaints about debt collection. 

Since July 2011, the Bureau has received approximately 400,500 debt collection complaints, which is 27 percent of the total complaints we’ve received. In-depth analysis of debt collection complaints helps us to understand the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collection. 

Some common themes emerged in our analysis of these complaints. For example, some people reported that there were debts on their consumer credit reports but that they did not have prior written notice of the existence of the debt. Some people stated in their complaints that they felt uncomfortable disclosing personal information to people who called asking for it because they were not sure whether the person calling was a legitimate debt collector. People also complained about the communication tactics companies used when attempting to collect a debt. 

Overall complaint trends

In addition to focusing on debt collection, the Snapshot also examines complaint trends more broadly. 

"Credit or consumer reporting" was the most-complained-about financial product or service category in March 2018. Thirty-seven percent of the approximately 30,300 complaints received in March were about credit or consumer reporting. Debt collection was the second most-complained-about consumer product. It accounted for 27 percent of complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was mortgages, accounting for about 10 percent of complaints.

If you have a problem with a consumer financial product or service, you can submit a complaint online or call us at (855) 411-2372, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. We provide complaint-handling services to people in more than 180 languages and to those who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities. You can also read our answers to common financial questions or call us if you simply have a question about a financial product or service.

Debt collection resources

If you have questions or face problems with debt collection, the Bureau has a wide range of tools and information online, including answers to common debt collection questions and sample letters you can use. These resources can help you understand what you can do when you are contacted by a debt collector.

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