WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today issued a report analyzing the complaints received during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bulletin shows that mortgage and credit card complaints top the list of complaints the Bureau has received that mention coronavirus or related terms. In April and May, the Bureau received historically higher complaints, however, complaints mentioning COVID-related terms amounted to a total of 4,500 complaints during those two months.
Mortgage and credit card complaints top the list for complaints that mention coronavirus terms, with 22 percent and 19 percent of complaints, respectively. Among mortgage complaints that mention coronavirus keywords, 59 percent of consumers identified struggling to pay the mortgage as the issue. For credit card complaints, 19 percent of consumers identified a problem with purchase shown or statement as the issue.
The Bureau also received its highest complaint volumes in its history in March and April at 36,700 and 42,500, respectively. In 2019, the monthly average for complaints was 29,000. The bulletin attributes the higher numbers to factors such as market conditions and more public awareness of the complaint system.
Other Complaint Bulletin highlights:
- Servicemembers submitted approximately 600 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords in March and April 2020: 8 percent of complaints submitted by servicemembers were COVID related compared to 5 percent of non-servicemembers.
- Older Americans, those age 62 and older, submitted approximately 300 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords in March and April 2020: 9 percent of complaints submitted by older consumers were COVID related compared to 6 percent of non-older consumers.
- Comparing the weekly average complaint volume before and after the coronavirus emergency declaration, prepaid card complaints saw the greatest percent increase at 77 percent and student loan complaints saw the greatest percent decrease at 21 percent.
The Complaint Bulletin also includes:
- Complaint volume distribution by consumer financial product or service for complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords relative to complaints overall
- Weekly complaint volume by consumer financial product or service with comparisons between the period before and after the declaration of a national emergency
- Highlights of common issues from a systematic review of complaint narratives that mention coronavirus keywords
Since 2011, the Bureau has handled more than 2.2 million consumer complaints. More than 5,000 financial companies have responded through this process, providing timely responses to 97 percent of the nearly 1.6 million complaints sent to them for response.
The public can view the complaints in the database at a state-level, filter and sort complaints, and search published complaint narratives for key words of interest. Visit the Consumer Complaint Database.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.