Update Kenneth Clayton, chief counsel of the American Bankers Association responds to CFPB's report:
“There are more than 383 million credit card accounts in the U.S., and less than one-tenth of one percent of those have submitted a complaint to the Bureau. This is a strong record, and one the industry will work to build upon."
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today released its first report on credit card complaints. The federal agency began accepting credit card complaints on July 21 – when it officially opened for business — and received 5,074 complaints in the first three months.
Billing disputes were the top gripe, with 681 complaints. That’s 13.4 percent of all lodged.
The runner up with 556 complaints: gripes about interest rates.
That’s followed by:
No. 3 — identity theft, fraud and embezzlement with 546 complaints
No. 4 — unsolicited issuance of a credit card with 454 complaints
No. 5 — closing or canceling an account with 242 complaints.
There are plenty of other complaints, too, about advertising, billing statement, collection practices, credit reporting and fees.
The bureau forwarded nearly 84 percent of these grievances to card issuers. (Some complaints were incomplete and couldn’t be forwarded.)
Card companies, the bureau says, responded to 94 percent of the complaints. The issuers said they fully or partially reached a resolution with customers in 3,151 of the cases. No relief was reached in 845 complaints. And another 258 are still under review.
Aggrieved consumers were given 30 days to dispute an issuer’s findings, although a healthy majority — 71 percent — didn’t do so.
The CFPB also reported it consulted with criminal authorities in some of the cases that alleged fraudulent credit card charges.
“When consumers contact us, we get a snapshot of how the consumer finance markets are working,” Raj Date, special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, said in a press release. “And we are learning that there is a lot of consumer confusion about credit card terms.”
The agency is using this information to see if more consumer education or new regulations are needed. It also wants to put credit card complaints in a searchable database — without disclosing a consumer’s personal information — so regulators and consumer advocates can use it to uncover trends.
Starting tomorrow, Dec. 1, the bureau will start accepting complaints about home mortgages.
Bet it gets more than 5,074 responses.