Consumer Finance Insights
July 20, 2017

CFPB Publishes State-by-State Snapshot of Consumer Complaints

On June 27, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a state-by-state breakdown of consumer complaints that have been filed with the CFPB.  The snapshot—which is contained in the June 2017 edition of the CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report—compiled data from the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database about the number of consumer complaints submitted, as well as the products and issues about which consumers complain most and how often companies provided timely responses to the complaints.  The snapshot also reports data about complaints made by various specific populations, such as servicemembers and older consumers.  The data is generated across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and spans from the time the CFPB began handling consumer complaints in July 2011 until June 1, 2017.

The data shows the following aggregate trends across states:

  • The number of consumer complaints continues to rise.  Between 2015 and 2016, consumer complaint volume increased by seven percent.  Specifically, the CFPB received 271,600 complaints in 2015 versus 291,400 complaints in 2016.
  • Ninety-seven percent of companies provided timely responses to consumer complaints.  Since July 2011, companies have timely responded to consumer complaints ninety seven percent of the time.  A timely response is a response made within 15 days of the date the CFPB notifies the company of the complaint.
  • Fifty-two percent of consumers elect to have their complaints published.  Since July 2015, when the CFPB began giving consumers the option to publish descriptions of their complaints, fifty two percent of consumers have chosen to allow the CFPB to share descriptions of their complaints publicly.  These descriptions allow consumers to learn about issues with financial products or services that other consumers have encountered and provide insight to financial services companies about the types of issues that are causing consumers difficulties.
  • Fifty percent of CFPB complaints relate to debt collection and mortgages.  The CFPB has received over 1,218,600 consumer complaints since July 2011, and half of those complaints concern debt collection and mortgage issues.  The CFPB has received approximately 316,810 consumer complaints in the area of debt collection alone (27 percent of the total complaint volume).  Debt collection complaints commonly involve attempts to collect on debts that consumers claim they do not actually owe and reports of harassing telephone calls from debt collectors.  Additionally, since December 2011 when the CFPB began accepting mortgage complaints, the CFPB has received approximately 272,153 consumer complaints related to mortgage products and services, accounting for 23 percent of total complaint volume.  Mortgage-related complaints commonly involve issues concerning default servicing practices and foreclosure avoidance options.

Consumer financial services providers are encouraged to learn about common complaints in the states where they do business, including what products and services consumers are complaining about, what segment of the consumer population is making complaints, and how well the company is doing in terms of providing timely responses to complaints.