A bill that would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to verify consumer complaints and put into context the complaints it currently publishes in an online database has been introduced by Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon.
The CFPB Consumer Complaint Database accepts complaints from consumers about financial institution products and services, including bank accounts, mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans, debt collection, credit reporting, money transfers and payday loans. The consumer provides information to the Bureau on who they are and the nature of the complaint, including a written narrative. The CFPB forwards each complaint to the financial institution identified by the consumer in the complaint for response, then tracks the response and resolution in the online Consumer Complaint Database.
The publicly available information posted by the CFPB in the database includes the complaint ID number, the financial products or services that are the targets of the complaint, a 2-8 word explanation of the issue, the complainant’s state and zip code, the name of the financial institution and their response to the consumer complaint (“Closed”, “In progress”, “Closed with explanation”, “Closed with monetary relief” or “Closed with non-monetary relief”) and narrative from the original consumer complaint.
Rep. Salmon said he introduced the CFPB Data Accountability Act because “the current database is disorganized and does little to provide the American people with important information to inform their decision-making. 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.”
The new bill would require the CFPB to modify its Consumer Compliant Database to include:
- Consumer complaint information can only be made available in an aggregated format after the Bureau has taken steps to ensure that any proprietary, personal or confidential consumer information is not made public.
- Complaints must be verified when the consumer alleges that laws or regulations have been violated by the provider of a consumer financial product or service.
- Complaints about specific consumer financial products are services can only be made available to the public if the Bureau includes information on what percentage of its complaints involve that product or service compared to the total number of consumers that use the product or service.
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