Since the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database launched in 2012, it has been a thorn in the side of many industries and legislators that question the veracity of the consumer complaints and the method by which the CFPB vets those complaints, among other concerns. The online database recently has come under fire again with Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) introducing the CFPB Data Accountability Act (H.R. 5413), which includes requirements for how the CFPB treats consumer complaints.
The bill would require the agency to verify any consumer complaints claiming a law or regulation has been violated or contract has been broken. If complaints about a consumer financial product or service are made public on the database, the CFPB must accompany the information with how many complaints the bureau has received for the particular financial product or service compared with the total number of consumers using that product or service. The legislation also requires the CFPB to ensure any public consumer complaint information doesn’t contain proprietary, personal or confidential information, and that complaint information on the site is in an aggregated format.
“The current system makes available full, unverified, un-anonymized complaint details for each report,” a Salmon spokesperson tells Paybefore. “Under this bill, the Website would only display the aggregated, anonymized results of the, now verified, complaints.”
The database is disorganized and does little to provide consumers with important information, according to Rep. Salmon. “My bill would improve the current database by requiring the CFPB to verify the facts of each complaint and present this information in an aggregated format so that consumers have better access to CFPB-collected data and can make better decisions about their financial futures,” he said. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Prepaid-related complaints consistently represent less than 1 percent of total complaints the CFPB receives each month, much less than other financial products and services, such as debt collection, credit reporting and mortgages. The CFPB began tracking prepaid-related complaints in 2014, and in 2015 gave consumers the ability to share publicly their complaints.
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