On January 28, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published its monthly consumer complaint snapshot, identifying the most recent trends in consumer complaints about various financial products and services. CFPB Monthly Complaint Rep., Jan. 2016, at 1. The report analyzes trends by complaint volume by product, state, and company. Id. at 3-10.
The report illustrates that consumer complaints regarding debt collection, mortgages, and credit reporting are consistently the most-complained-about practices and services, comprising approximately 69% of the nearly 790,000 consumer complaints received by the CFPB as of January 1, 2016. See id. at 3, 5. The report further illustrates that when comparing the October-December 2014 period to the October-December 2015 period (the “Comparison Period”), the total number of debt collection, mortgage, and credit reporting complaints rose by 3%, 6%, and 8%, respectively. Id. at 3.
The CFPB also reported noteworthy trends with respect to prepaid services and products. Although the total complaints received in connection with prepaid services and products represent a small number of the consumer complaints received to date—approximately .5%—these complaints nevertheless saw the most significant increase during the Comparison Period, rising by 233%. See id. at 3, 4.
Financial services providers are advised to take note of these trends in consumer complaints as the CFPB’s Office of Consumer Response actively brings these complaints to the attention of companies. Further, this rise in consumer complaints is mirrored by a corresponding uptick in litigation. For example, the total number of cases filed involving consumer credit issues, Truth in Lending Act claims, and banks and banking increased across the Comparison Period by 3%, 26%, and 46%, respectively. Thus, companies wishing to avoid undue attention from the CFPB should continue to focus efforts particularly on analyzing their debt collection, mortgage, and credit reporting practices with an eye towards addressing and reducing consumer complaints.