Guide To Filing A Complaint With The CFPB

Nov 08, 2022 By Susan Kelly

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) started compiling customer credit card complaints in July 2011. Mortgages, bank accounts, student loans, consumer loans, credit reports, wire transfers, and debt collection are just some topics that have been included. Here's how to determine if your complaint about one of these financial services merits filing it to the CFPB and the steps you'll need to take.

Is There A Time When You Should File a Complaint with the CFPB?

The first thing you should do if you're experiencing trouble with a bank is to call them. The easiest way to get in touch with customer support is to email, start a live chat, or pick up the phone. Make sure you express all you want to say while complaining over the phone by writing it down.

Allow the firm a chance to respond to your concerns before giving up on them. Getting things resolved usually only requires talking to the appropriate person. A manager or someone with the power to handle your issue may be reached after multiple follow-up phone calls if your initial email or call goes unanswered.

Completing Complaint Forms and Why They Matter

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is gathering and processing complaints from people who have used financial services to understand better "business practices that may pose hazards to consumers." Complaints aid the agency in its oversight of businesses, enforcement of federal consumer finance laws, and improvement of rules and regulations, according to a statement.

In general, the more complaints the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets about a particular issue or financial institution, the more probable it is that a widespread problem exists that legislation may assist remedy.

Consumer complaints received by the CFPB are added to a public database that may be mined for trends by economists and other researchers. These databases can propose changes to customer interactions with and regulation of financial firms.

Tips For Locating Related Complaints

You may utilize the CFPB Consumer database, updated daily, to see whether any complaints have been lodged against a specific business. Using the company's name as a keyword, you can filter your search results based on location and topic.

Information you find may or may not be of any use to you. Customer service responses from the corporation might be as brief as "closed with explanation" or "closed with monetary alleviation," with no more comment from the company to the public.

When Is The Right Time To File A Complaint?

Start by visiting AskCFPB, where the CFPB provides answers to frequently asked financial questions. If you complain about a company's unfair practice or issue, this tool can help you assess if you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or take another action.

Searching for "disputing a charge on your credit card account," for instance, will reveal that you must first submit a formal billing mistake notification to your credit card provider.

However, you might consider filing a complaint with the CFPB if you have already challenged the charge and believe the firm isn't following CFPB's standards on outstanding disputes. File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you've exhausted all avenues for resolving the problem or lack clear direction.

When Is It Not Appropriate to Make a Complaint?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulates financial organizations like banks and credit unions but not other consumer problems like lousy service at restaurants or airline delays. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) isn't the right place to go if you have a complaint about some financial product or service. 3 Neither should you report a problem to the CFPB if it involves:

  • Fraudulent home-loan schemes
  • Rental housing discrimination
  • Landlord-tenant conflicts
  • Car rentals
  • Automotive service centres
  • Dishonest auto sellers and advertisements

What Happens After a Complaint Is Made?

If the CFPB finds sufficient cause in your complaint, it will notify the financial service provider of your grievance. The company may call you beforehand to verify your identity or the transaction details.

Typically, you may expect a response from the firm outlining how they plan to solve your issue within 15 days of submitting your complaint. However, the corporation may inform you that they are currently compiling information and will have a response to you within the allotted time frame of 60 days.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will then enter your complaint into its database, along with the subject, date, and, with your consent and without any personally identifiable details, the actual substance of your complaint.

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