How to File a Complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Consumer complaints regarding credit cards were first collected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal government agency, in July 2011.

Since then, it has added mortgages, bank accounts, student loans, consumer loans, credit reporting, money transfers, and debt collection to its list of grievances. If you have a problem with one of these financial services, here’s how to figure out if it’s worth filing a complaint with the CFPB and how to do it. You can try OakPark Financial for free today!

What is the Importance of Filing a Complaint?

The goal of the Customer Financial Protection Bureau’s collection and management of consumer complaints regarding financial services is to learn more about “business practices that may pose hazards to consumers,” according to the CFPB. “Complaints aid our work to regulate corporations, enforce federal consumer financial laws, and establish better rules and regulations,” the agency adds. 

The more complaints the CFPB receives about the same issue or financial institution, the more probable there is a significant problem that regulation can assist remedy. Consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau become part of a public database that economists and other researchers can use to spot patterns. 

These datasets can be used to identify ways to enhance how financial institutions engage with their customers and how they are regulated. You also don’t have to be concerned about privacy because the database contains no personally identifiable information.

According to Braden Perry, a partner in the Kansas City-based law firm of Kennyhertz Perry, LLC, who has over 10 years of experience in financial services compliance, internal investigations, enforcement matters, and regulatory issues. CFPB regulators should address financial institutions that have systemic issues or predatory behavior. “Without sufficient controls, this activity might have a significant impact on many consumers,” he adds, adding that the financial institution should be held accountable.

President Joe Biden selected Rohit Chopra, a former Federal Trade Commission commissioner, to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

When Should You File a Complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?

If you have a problem with a financial institution, you should first contact them directly. Begin by contacting customer service via email, online chat, or phone. If you’re going to complain over the phone, you might want to write yourself a script so you don’t forget anything vital.

You should give the corporation a chance to respond to your complaint. It’s generally only a matter of contacting the correct person to have things resolved. If your initial email or phone call fails to yield results, making several more phone calls and asking to speak with a manager may eventually connect you with someone who has the authority and expertise to resolve your concern. If everything else fails, file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How Do I File a Complaint?

It’s simple to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you’ve established that it’s necessary. After visiting the CFPB’s website, the first step is to select a complaint category: bank account or service, credit card, credit reporting, debt collection, money transfer, mortgage, student loan, or automobile, or consumer loan.

The specific processes for filing a complaint vary depending on the service you’re unhappy with. 

If your complaint is about a credit card, you’ll be asked to provide a brief description of the problem and select the category to which your complaint pertains from a drop-down box on page one. 

It’s optional to include information like how much money you lost, when it happened, and whether you tried to remedy the problem yourself, such as contacting the firm directly or launching a legal action. Write a brief paragraph expressing what you believe is a reasonable solution to the situation on page two. 

You must provide your full name, mailing address, and email address on page three. 

On page four, you’ll be asked for your account number, credit card information, and the name of the corporation you’re suing.  It also allows you to submit any supporting papers to your complaint, such as proof of payment. You’ll examine your information on page five, validate that it’s correct, and then submit your complaint.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will transmit your complaint to the company you identified and request a response. The CFPB will forward your complaint to another government agency if it believes that agency is better qualified to handle it. 

The company will next analyze your complaint and, if necessary, engage with you about it. 

It will next submit a report to the CFPB outlining its future measures. After you’ve reviewed the response, the CFPB will inform you and allow you to tell them whether you’re satisfied with it. 

If not, you have 30 days to file a complaint with the corporation. 

You can check the status of your complaint at any time by going to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website or contacting its toll-free number. You can file a complaint on your own or on another person’s behalf. If you don’t want to use the website, you can instead send an email, phone, fax, or letter complaint.

Not all complaints must be filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Most concerns can be handled by the financial institution, and the majority of them are resolved or clarified by the financial institution,” Perry says. However, suppose the personnel at your bank, credit card company, mortgage lender, or other financial institution appear inept or unwilling to settle your issue. In that case, the CFPB’s process may be able to assist you.

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