Blitt & Gaines, Attorneys at Law

The CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database

The Consumer Complaint Database is the nation’s largest public collection of consumer financial complaints. It currently has over a million data points. Looking through the searchable data, you can see the product complained about, what zip code it came from, the company complained about, and how the company responded.

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

The CFPB is now proposing to include consumers’ own narrative of their experiences, as stated in their own words.

When consumers decide to submit a complaint to the Consumer Bureau, they provide basic information about the complaint and about themselves. They are then asked to describe what happened. These narrative descriptions form the heart and soul of the complaint. They include all the details, the nuances, and the rest of the story that really explain the problem just as they understand it. A consumer’s story is now not just another credit card billing dispute; instead, it is a saga that lasted five years, absorbed countless time and attention, bled into a person’s credit profile, and left him/her in despair.

While the current database captures the basics of a complaint, the categorical descriptions are fairly limited. One would argue that the benefit of making the narratives public would be to provide important context that better explains the significance of the consumer’s complaint. Right now, the database groups complaints into high-level categories such as “transaction issue” or “advertising and marketing.” Hearing directly from the consumer about exactly what happened would say much more. The narrative supplies vital information about why the consumer believes they were harmed, and how the problem has affected the consumer’s life.

The links below take the consumer to the complaint page. Here they have the option to submit a complete or “tell their story”.

https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/tellyourstory

It is important for all B&G staff to understand that a complaint can be filed for any stage of the collections process. Never served, paid the debt already, harassing collection calls, etc… And now they will have a public forum to voice the complaints and tell their story.