Understanding Consumer Experiences: Insights from CFPB’s 2016 Consumer Response Annual Report

Since beginning to accept consumer complaints more than five years ago, we have handled approximately 1,136,000 complaints. The insights we get from the questions consumers ask and the complaints they submit help us to better understand the problems consumers experience in the financial marketplace.

We recently published our Consumer Response Annual Report, which provides an overview of the complaints we received in 2016. A few key takeaways:

  • We handled 291,400 consumer complaints in 2016. This is a 7 percent increase over complaints handled in 2015. 

Report

The Consumer Response Annual Report provides an overview of the complaints received in 2016.

Download the report

  • Debt collection, credit reporting and mortgages were the top three most-complained-about consumer financial products and services, collectively representing about 67 percent of complaints submitted in 2016. 
  • Financial companies provide timely responses to consumer complaints. 97 percent of complaints sent to companies get timely responses.  

Read our annual report.

How we handle consumer complaints

Every month, the CFPB handles more than 20,000 complaints through our website, by telephone at our U.S.-based contact centers, and by mail, fax, and referral. We are hard at work every day to make the complaint process efficient and effective for consumers and companies.  

When we receive a complaint from a consumer, we send the complaint to the company and work to get the consumer a response. 

We also publish basic information about complaints in our public Consumer Complaint Database so that consumers can see and learn from other people’s experiences. With their permission, we include the description of what happened while maintaining their privacy. Complaints are only published after the company responds, confirming a commercial relationship with the consumer, or after the company has had the complaint for 15 calendar days, whichever comes first. 

We also give companies the opportunity to respond publicly to complaints appearing in the database.

Resources for consumers

Debt collection, credit reporting, and mortgages were the top three financial products and services that consumers submitted complaints about. 

In addition to being able to submit a complaint, we have resources available that can provide more information on these topics:

  • Debt collection: We understand that debt collection can be challenging, but you don't have to face it alone. Our resources can help you understand how debt collection works and what your rights are when dealing with a debt collector.
  • Credit reporting: We also launched a new webpage with information and tools to help you learn more about your credit reports and scores, and how they impact your financial choices. There, you can find information on common issues and how-to guides to help you handle different situations.
  • Mortgages: Our Owning a Home tool breaks down the steps of shopping for and selecting a mortgage so you know what to expect. Additionally, we have answers to common mortgage questions in our database of questions, Ask CFPB.

What to do if you have a problem with a financial service or product

If you have a problem with a consumer financial product or service, you can submit a complaint online at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint or by calling us at 855-411-CFPB, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET.  The CFPB provides complaint-handling services to consumers in more than 180 languages and to consumers who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities via the Bureau’s toll-free telephone number.


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