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August 27, 2020

Groups to CFPB: Don’t Hide Consumer Complaints Database

Better Markets has joined nearly 25 other public interest groups in urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to reinstate easily accessible public access to its consumer complaint database.

The CFPB maintains a consumer complaint database that publishes complaint narratives, which provide consumers with vital information about unresolved problems between consumers and  financial firms. However, recent changes to the site’s homepage have hidden these critical complaint details from view.
In a joint letter, the group urged the CFPB to reconsider its decision to “bury the narratives” and keep the vital information easily accessible to the public. As noted in the letter, these complaints are meant to help consumers detect possible patterns of unfair, deceptive and even abusive behavior.
President and CEO Dennis Kelleher says that access to this information is crucial for an informed consumer, which is who the CFPB is supposed to serve—not the industry which has relentlessly lobbied the CFPB to weaken or gut the database, which this action, in part, does.
“The CFPB’s latest pro-predator action is to quietly bury complaint details by removing information and links to the consumer complaints database from its homepage,” Kelleher says. “This is a gross disservice to consumers, especially those who are infrequent or first-time users of the database, who will find it difficult to track complaints about consumer financial products and services or learn about ongoing disputes with financial firms.”
He adds that this is an opportunity for the CFPB to “live up to its legally mandated mission to help consumer finance markets work by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.”


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