In March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that when consumers submit a complaint to the agency’s Consumer Complaint Database, they now have the option to also share a lengthier account of what happened.
The CFPB accepts complaints from consumers on a number of consumer financial products, including credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts, private student loans, vehicle and other consumer loans, credit reporting, money transfers, debt collection, and payday loans.
The CFPB issued a final Consumer Complaint Narrative Policy to provide guidance on how the agency will exercise its discretion in disclosing consumer complaints via the database (changes were proposed in July 2014).
According to the agency’s March 19 press release, consumer narratives will provide context to the complaints, spotlight specific trends, help consumers make informed decisions, and encourage companies to “improve the overall quality of their products and services, and more vigorously compete over good customer service.”
The CFPB also published a request for information seeking public input on ways to highlight positive consumer experiences, such as by receiving consumer compliments.
The policy establishes these five procedures and safeguards for consumers and companies:
Complaints must meet all criteria to be published. Complaints don’t appear in the database until the company responds to the complaint or has had 15 days to do so—whichever comes first. The CFPB will disclose the consumer narrative when the company provides its public-facing response, or after the company has had 60 calendar days to do so— whichever comes first.
For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.