Financial Protection

Consumer complaints to the CFPB keep breaking records

Screenshot | Public Domain

In October the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published the most consumer complaints in a single month. The complaint database also reached a milestone last month with 3 million total published complaints since the CFPB started taking consumer complaints against financial companies in December 2011.


Screenshot | Public Domain
Complaints by date received by the CFPB

The CFPB published 73,104 complaints in October. Total complaints from January – October 2022 have already broken last year’s totals, with a 28% increase in complaints.

These jumps in complaints continue a trend we saw at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biggest problems faced by consumers continue to be mistakes on their credit reports and failure by the credit bureaus to fix those errors. 

The CFPB’s public Consumer Complaint Database allows a consumer to submit a complaint to report a problem with a financial product or service that hasn’t been resolved with the company. The company will have two weeks to respond before the complaint is made public. The public nature of the complaints incentivises companies to resolve problems or at least get back to their customers. In fact 98% of complaints receive a timely response. 

Complaints also help the CFPB identify problems in the marketplace that need to be fixed. For example, the CFPB issued guidance in October to remind credit bureaus that they have a responsibility to exclude obviously false data from credit reports. It also issued guidance today to address shoddy investigation practices by credit bureaus.

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