Ten years ago, we began sharing information with the public from the complaints submitted to us in the Consumer Complaint Database. Earlier this month, we published the three millionth complaint. Though many federal agencies accept complaints, too often those complaints are hidden from public view. By making complaint data publicly available, we increase transparency and create accountability to the public by making clear the problems consumers face.
Congress tasked the CFPB with ensuring that consumers have access to fair, transparent, and competitive markets for consumer financial products and services. For example, we can write rules, examine companies, and bring legal actions to enforce the law.
We also collect, monitor, and respond to consumer complaints. Through our complaint process we get complaints to companies—typically in less than one day—so they can respond to the issues consumers are experiencing. But our work—and the impact of consumer complaints—does not end once a company responds. We both publish complaints and use complaints as an essential component of how we prioritize our actions and identify problems in the marketplace.
When an active duty servicemember, an older American, a homeowner, a student loan borrower, or anyone from across America submits a complaint to us, they are contributing to our work and guiding what problems and issues we tackle next.
Here are just a few examples of how consumer voices are shaping our actions:
- Improving the credit reporting system: We published reports highlighting what we hear from consumers, including servicemembers, who report inaccuracies on their credit reports, difficulties getting problems fixed, mismatches in identities, and other problems. We shared steps consumers can take to help hold credit reporting companies accountable and address inaccuracies on their credit reports.
- Clarifying what debts can be collected: We hear from caregivers who report being pursued to repay friends’ or family members’ alleged debts from nursing home facilities. The CFPB and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued a joint letter confirming that a nursing care facility may not require that a third-party caregiver personally guarantee payment of a nursing home resident’s bills as a condition of the resident’s admission to the facility.
- Taking a close look at medical billing errors: We hear from patients about the financial consequences of medical billing and collections endured by people and families across the country. We brought attention to this issue and continue to look at medical billing, including analyzing the potential impacts of medical debt and credit reporting changes.
- Launching an inquiry into junk fees: We have long heard from consumers who reported being surprised by fees: overdraft fees, nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees, late fees, add-on fees, and more. Earlier this year, we launched an initiative to save households billions of dollars each year by reducing exploitative junk fees charged by banks and financial companies.
Consumers can continue getting responses to their problems and can continue to help shape policy for the consumer financial marketplace by submitting complaints to us. If you have a problem with a consumer financial product or service, you can submit a complaint online or by calling (855) 411-2372.