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CFPB Monthly Complaint Snapshot Spotlights Debt Settlement, Check Cashing, and Other Financial Service Complaints
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 6:50 AM

Report Also Includes In-Depth Look at Consumer Complaints from Oklahoma

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a monthly complaint snapshot highlighting consumer complaints about financial services such as debt settlement, check cashing, money orders, and credit repair. The report shows that consumer complaints about these types of financial services generally revolve around issues of fraud or problems with reliable customer service.

Review and download the Monthly Complaint Report

Category Spotlight: Other Financial Services
When consumers submit a complaint that falls outside one of the Bureau’s major complaint categories, their complaint is listed under the category “other financial service.” The types of complaints that make up this category include debt settlement, check cashing, credit repair, and money orders. As of Nov. 1, 2016, the Bureau had handled approximately 4,500 complaints about these types of financial services. Some of the findings in the snapshot include:

  • Majority of complaints were related to fraud or scam: Of the approximately 4,500 “other financial service” complaints the Bureau has handled, more than half—51 percent—have involved a fraud or scam as the consumer’s primary issue. These complaints generally had to do with consumers dealing with debt settlement companies.
     
  • Debt settlement was the most complained about “other financial service”: Problems with debt settlement services made up half—50 percent—of “other financial service” complaints submitted to the Bureau. Consumers complained that payments they made to debt settlement companies were never forwarded to their creditors and as a result they faced lawsuits for unpaid accounts.
     
  • Consumers complain of trouble redeeming money orders: Consumers complained of difficulty redeeming money orders, with the orders being returned to them as invalid or fraudulent. When the consumers attempted to resolve the issue with the money order company, they complained of delays that resulted in them not being reimbursed for the value of the money order. 

National Complaint Overview
As of Nov. 1, 2016, the CFPB has handled approximately 1,035,200 complaints nationally across all products. Some of the findings from the statistics being published in this month’s snapshot report include:

  • Complaint volume: For October 2016, debt collection was the most-complained-about financial product or service. Of the approximately 27,000 complaints handled in October, there were 7,749 complaints about debt collection. The second most-complained-about consumer product was credit reporting, which accounted for 5,369 complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was mortgages, accounting for 4,357 complaints.
     
  • Product trends: In a year-to-year comparison examining the three-month time period of August to October, student loan complaints showed the greatest increase—108 percent—of any product or service. The Bureau received 1,272 student loan complaints between August and October 2016, while it received 612 complaints during the same time period in 2015.
     
  • Most-complained-about companies: The top three companies that received the most complaints from June through August 2016 were credit reporting companies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Geographic Spotlight: Oklahoma
This month, the CFPB highlighted complaints from Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City metro area. As of Nov. 1, 2016, consumers in Oklahoma have submitted 7,700 of the 1,035,200 complaints the CFPB has handled, with 3,100 of them coming from the Oklahoma City metro area. Findings from the Oklahoma complaints include:

  • Debt collection is the most-complained-about product or service: Consumers in Oklahoma most often submitted complaints about debt collection. Debt collection complaints accounted for 36 percent of the complaints submitted to the Bureau by consumers from Oklahoma. Nationally, debt collection complaints account for 27 percent of complaints.
     
  • Rate of mortgage-related complaints lower than the national rate: Complaints related to mortgages accounted for 17 percent of all complaints submitted by consumers from Oklahoma. This is significantly lower than the rate of 24 percent at which consumers nationally submit mortgage complaints to the CFPB.
     
  • Most complained about companies: In the September 2015 to August 2016 time period, the three most complained about companies by consumers from Oklahoma were Equifax, Transunion and Experian.

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: consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase.