CFPB report says consumer complaints up 7 percent in 2016

The volume of consumer complaint about financial products and services increased 7 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) report.

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.

Since inception, the bureau has received over 1,218,600 complaints as of June 1, 2017.

“The Bureau’s ability to receive and process consumer complaints enables us to hear directly from people about their concerns and helps us prioritize our work to protect others against similar problems,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. “This report provides valuable information to the CFPB and the public about issues and trends we are seeing from each state.”

Companies provided a timely response to 97 percent of complaints they received from the CFPB, meaning the company responded within 15 days. Since the bureau began accepting complaints in July 2011, companies have provided timely responses 97 percent of the time.

Debt collection and mortgage complaints account for 50 percent of the complaints the bureau has received. Debt collection has been the most complained about product or service, with approximately 316,810 complaints to date. These include complaints about attempts to collect on debts not owed by consumers and repeated and harassing calls from collectors. The bureau has received approximately 272,153 mortgage-related complaints since inception. These include complaints about problems consumers experience dealing with their servicer when they are struggling to make payments.