WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a monthly complaint snapshot highlighting consumer complaints about credit reporting. The snapshot shows that consumers continue to report struggling to resolve errors on their credit reports. This month’s report also highlights trends seen in complaints coming from Louisiana. As of Feb. 1, 2017, the Bureau had handled approximately 1,110,100 consumer complaints across all products nationally.
“Credit reports provide the means for consumers everywhere to take important steps in their financial lives,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The Bureau will continue to work to ensure that credit reports are accurate and when disputed issues arise on credit reports consumers are able to resolve them quickly and with little hassle.”
Category Spotlight: Credit Reporting
Credit reporting companies track the credit history and other information about consumers who are active in the financial marketplace. The credit reports produced by the reporting companies are used to judge a consumer’s eligibility to take out a mortgage, buy a car, and even get a job in some instances. As of Feb. 1, 2017, the Bureau had handled approximately 185,700 credit reporting complaints. Some of the findings in the snapshot include:
- Consumers report problems disputing complaints on their credit reports: Complaints submitted to the Bureau indicate that consumers continue to experience difficulties when submitting disputes to credit reporting companies.
- Consumers complain about inaccurate information on credit reports: Consumers submit a high number of complaints about inaccurate personal information on their reports. Frequently consumers state that incorrect or unrecognized names and addresses appear on their reports.
- Consumers report confusion about credit scoring: Consumers continue to be confused over the variety of scores and scoring “factors” that accompany credit score information. Consumers frequently express confusion when they receive varying scores from different reporting agencies.
National Complaint Overview
As of Feb. 1, 2017, the CFPB has handled approximately 1,110,100 complaints nationally. Some of the findings from the statistics being published in this month’s snapshot report include:
- Complaint volume: For January 2017, debt collection was the most-complained-about financial product or service. Of the approximately 29,000 complaints handled in January, there were 7,730 complaints about debt collection. The second most-complained-about consumer product was student loans, which accounted for 5,389 complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was credit reporting, accounting for 4,620 complaints.
- Product trends: In a year-to-year comparison examining the three-month time period of November to January, student loan complaints showed the greatest increase—388 percent—of any product or service. The Bureau received 497 student loan complaints between November 2015 and January 2016, while it received 2,425 complaints during the same time period a year later. This spike in complaints came around the time the CFPB took a major enforcement action against student loan servicer Navient. Additionally, in February 2016, the Bureau expanded the student loan intake form to include federal student loans.
- State information: Georgia, South Dakota, and Mississippi experienced the greatest year-to-year complaint volume increases from November 2016 to January 2017 versus the same time period 12 months before; with Georgia up 59 percent, South Dakota up 43 percent, and Mississippi up 34 percent.
- Most-complained-about companies: The top three companies that received the most complaints from September through November 2016 were Wells Fargo, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Geographic Spotlight: Louisiana
This month, the CFPB highlighted complaints from Louisiana and the New Orleans metro area. As of Feb. 1, 2017, consumers in Louisiana have submitted 12,400 of the 1,110,100 complaints the CFPB has handled. Of those complaints, 4,500 came from consumers in the New Orleans metro area. Findings from the Louisiana complaints include:
- Rate of debt collection complaints higher than the national average: Complaints related to debt collection accounted for 34 percent of all complaints submitted by consumers from Louisiana. This is higher than the rate of 27 percent at which consumers nationally submit debt collection complaints to the Bureau.
- Rate of credit reporting complaints at roughly the national average: Consumers in Louisiana submitted complaints about credit reporting at roughly the national average. Complaints related to credit reporting accounted for 19 percent of all complaints submitted by consumers from Louisiana, while credit reporting complaints account for 17 percent of complaints submitted to the Bureau nationally.
- Most-complained-about companies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian were the most-complained-about companies from consumers in Louisiana.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, established consumer complaint handling as an integral part of the CFPB’s work. The CFPB began accepting complaints as soon as it opened its doors in July 2011. It currently accepts complaints on many consumer financial products, including credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts and services, student loans, vehicle and other consumer loans, credit reporting, money transfers, debt collection, and payday loans.
In June 2012, the CFPB launched its Consumer Complaint Database, which is the nation’s largest public collection of consumer financial complaints. When consumers submit a complaint they have the option to share publicly their explanation of what happened. For more individual-level complaint data and to read consumers' experiences, visit the Consumer Complaint Database at: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/.
Company-level complaint data in the report uses a three-month rolling average of complaints sent by the Bureau to companies for response. This data lags other complaint data in this report by two months to reflect the 60 days companies have to respond to complaints, confirming a commercial relationship with the consumer. Company-level information should be considered in the context of company size.
To submit a complaint, consumers can:
- Go online at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
- Call the toll-free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372)
- Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392
- Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244
- Additionally, through “Ask CFPB,” consumers can get clear, unbiased answers to their questions at consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb or by calling 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.