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CFPB Monthly Snapshot Spotlights Complaints from Older Consumers
Thursday, June 1, 2017 6:40 AM

Report Shows Older Consumers Report Problems with Reverse Mortgages, Scams, Credit Cards, and Add-On Products

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a monthly report highlighting complaints submitted by older consumers. The snapshot shows that older consumers frequently report servicing problems with reverse mortgages, difficulties recovering money after financial scams, confusion around deferred interest credit cards, and charges for unauthorized add-on products. The snapshot provides an overview and analysis of more than 103,100 complaints submitted to the Bureau by consumers voluntarily reporting their age as 62 or older.

Read the Monthly Complaint Report

Older Consumer Complaint Issues
With more than 10,000 Americans turning 62 every day, older consumers are one of the fastest-growing consumer groups in the marketplace. While older consumers are living longer and healthier lives than ever before, a growing number of older consumers face financial exploitation, struggles with debt, and entering retirement with limited savings. The findings below highlight issues that, while relevant to consumers of all ages, are seen more frequently in complaints submitted in 2017 by older consumers:

  • Servicing problems with reverse mortgages.
  • Difficulty recovering from financial scams.
  • Confusion about deferred interest and zero interest credit card offers.
  • Fees charged for unwanted add-on products and services.

Older Consumer Complaint Trends and Statistics
Of the 1,163,200 complaints the Bureau has handled since it began accepting complaints in July 2011, 54 percent of consumers have voluntarily reported their age. Of those, over 103,000 have come from consumers who report that they are 62 years old or older. Below is a breakdown of those complaints along category and state lines:

  • Complaint volume: For March 2017, debt collection was the most-complained-about financial product or service by consumers identifying as over the age of 62. Of the 2,169 older consumer complaints handled in March, there were 496 complaints about debt collection. The second most-complained-about consumer product was mortgages, which accounted for 486 complaints. Credit reporting was the third most-complained-about financial product or service, accounting for 326 complaints.
     
  • Product trends: Complaints related to mortgages have accounted for 26 percent of all older consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau since 2011. This is 10 percentage points higher than the proportion of mortgage complaints from consumers under 62.
     
  • State information: California, Florida, and Texas are the three states with the most complaints from older consumers, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all complaints from older consumers since the Bureau began accepting complaints in July 2011.

For more individual-level complaint data and to read consumers' experiences, visit the Consumer Complaint Database.