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OIG Reports Need for Enhanced Controls on CFPB Complaints Database
Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:30 AM

Opportunities exist to enhance the accuracy and completeness of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database, according to the Federal Reserve Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG’s report covers processes performed from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30, 2014, and all complaints in the database through June 30, 2014.

According to the report, the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response has implemented controls to monitor the accuracy of complaint data in its internal case management system but has not established separate management controls to ensure the accuracy of data extracted for use in the Consumer Complaint Database.

“We found several noticeable inaccuracies in our analysis of the 254,835 complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database as of June 30, 2014,” the report reads. “Although the number of complaints with inaccuracies that we identified was relatively small, enhancing existing controls would help ensure that as the number and types of complaints published increase, overall reliability of the data is maintained.”

The report also found that:

  • The Office Consumer Response does not review all company closing responses, including verifying whether the company-selected response is consistent with the definition, nor does it consistently publish untimely company closing responses in the Consumer Complaint Database;
  • The Office of Consumer Response allows 60 days for consumers to dispute company responses, rather than 30 days as stated in its publications;
  • Consumers are not consistently offered the opportunity to dispute untimely company responses; and
  • The Office of Consumer Response did not consistently notify the public when the database failed to update on a daily basis. Consumer Response has resolved the causes for the majority of the daily update failures, but it has not established procedures to inform the public when complaint data are incomplete or outdated.

According to the OIG, the Office of Consumer Response has concurred with its recommendations and has indicated it has already initiated actions to address them. It also stated that it has implemented a system change to update the process for untimely consumer responses and the related consumer disputes.