CFPB: Bureau to Enhance Consumer Complaint Database

Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will continue the publication of consumer complaints, data fields and narrative descriptions through the Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database while making several enhancements to the information available to users of the database. The enhancements include: modified disclaimers to provide better context to the published data; integrating financial information and resources into the complaint process to help address questions and better inform consumers before they submit a complaint; and information to assist consumers who wish to contact the financial company to get answers to their specific questions. Additionally, the Bureau will work to provide enhanced features for the database that include dynamic visualization tools on recent complaint data.

“Since its inception, the Consumer Complaint Database has not been without controversy. When the Bureau asked for feedback in 2018, we received nearly 26,000 comments from a wide array of stakeholders including government officials, consumer groups, companies, academics, and individual consumers. After carefully examining and considering all stakeholder and public input, we are announcing the continued publication of complaints with enhanced data and context that will benefit consumers and users of the database while addressing many of the concerns raised,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “The continued publication of the database, along with the enhancements, empowers consumers and informs the public.”

The Bureau is making changes to its website to provide disclosures on the nature of complaints as well as resources to consumers, including: 

  • More prominently display disclosures making it clear that the Consumer Complaint Database is not a statistical sample of consumers’ experiences in the marketplace; 
  • Highlighting the availability of answers to common financial questions for consumers to help inform them before they submit a complaint; and
  • Highlighting consumers ability to contact the financial company directly to get answers to their specific questions.

The Bureau will continue to publish all previously disclosed fields, including consumers’ narrative descriptions of their complaints. To further enhance the database in the coming months, the Bureau will:

  • Build and launch dynamic visualization tools including geospatial and trend views based on recent complaint data to help users of the database understand current and recent marketplace conditions;
  • Emphasize features for aggregation and analysis while continuing to make all the underlying data available for analysis; 
  • Explore expansion of a company’s ability to respond publically to individual complaints listed in the database; and 
  • Continue to explore ways to put the complaint data in context of other data, such as by incorporating product or service market share and company size.

To date, the Bureau has handled more than 1.9 million complaints. More than 5,000 financial companies have responded through this process, providing timely responses to 97 percent of the more than 1.3 million complaints sent to them for response.  

The Consumer Complaint Database is available at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/consumer-complaints/

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