Two weeks ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) greatly expanded its public database of consumer complaints, and now the contents of over 90,000 consumer complaints are available for public viewing. This is a great resource to check out which companies are generating the most complaints. It could help you make a better decision about which company you want to do business with. You can browse through the CFPB’s consumer complaint database and read about complaints that other consumers have filed here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/
The database includes information drawn from complaints about a variety of issues that consumers face, including bank accounts, mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and other financial products. One drawback of the database is that you cannot read the actual complaints themselves, but the database does have some interesting features. For example, you can sort information by zip code to view which problems other consumers are having in your area. You can further sort the complaints by type and by company to get the best idea of what consumers from your area have to say about a particular company. Ultimately, the complaints in the database will cover about 450 companies. Also, the CFPB has encouraged members of the public and the media to comb through the data to find interesting trends and to compare the complaint data to other available information.
Since the CFPB made the most recent batch of information public two weeks ago, commentators have uncovered some interesting trends. For example, the data shows that Bank of America is the subject of almost one in four complaints, and Bank of America received twice as many mortgage-related complaints as Wells Fargo. The data also shows things like how quickly various financial institutions respond to complaints and the different types of complaints registered against each company.
Ultimately, this is a good move for consumers by the CFPB. A few years ago consumers had significantly fewer options to share their complaints with other consumers. Knowledge is the power to make better decisions, and hopefully the new, expanded database will allow people to choose financial companies and products that better suit their needs. The increased transparency may also encourage some of the worst offenders to provide better products and service because now consumers can more easily shop around. If you are thinking about a new credit card or taking on a new mortgage or private student loan, I encourage you to check out the complaint database first.
If you’re interested in reading more commentary about the CFPB’s new, expanded consumer complaint database, including some analysis of the complaints, check out the following links:
– CFPB Blog
– Banks roused by CFPB’s database of complaints