AFR Release: Advocates Applaud Consumer Bureau’s New Credit Card Complaint Database Disclosure Policy
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Ruth Susswein (301) 718 -2511 email@example.com
Ed Mierzwinski (202) 461-3821 firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocates Applaud Consumer Bureau’s New Credit Card Complaint Database Disclosure Policy
New database will empower cardholders and hold financial companies accountable
Consumer, civil rights and open government groups, all members of the umbrella group American for Financial Reform (AFR), praised today’s announcement by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of its policy to make credit card complaint data accessible to the public. The complaint database will empower customers to steer clear of companies that engage in abusive credit card practices and position the CFPB as a leader in government transparency.
“A searchable credit card complaint database gives consumers a tangible tool to help them make smart shopping decisions and avoid problems on the back end,” said Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action’s Deputy Director, National Priorities and chair of AFR’s CFPB Complaint Process committee. We also strongly support the Bureau’s new proposal to expand the public database to include all types of financial products and services under CFPB supervision. A comprehensive complaint database will allow consumers to draw upon others’ real life encounters to more safely navigate choices in the marketplace.”
The CFPB announced that it would share the type of credit card complaints consumers file with the Bureau, the card issuer, date filed, zip code and whether the issuer has responded to a cardholder’s concerns, received monetary or non-monetary relief, and whether the consumer continues to dispute the problem.
The CFPB’s credit card complaint database will allow consumers to search by card issuer as well as complaint type to see if complaints are resolved.
“Helping the public see as much as possible about what’s going on in the financial marketplace is one useful tool for encouraging fair and transparent practices. This kind of information can help people steer clear of problems by reviewing other consumers’ experiences prior to making important financial decisions, and it can help the public see patterns and trends,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “While we applaud the Consumer Bureau for its new policy to open its database to the public, Americans for Financial Reform urges the CFPB to go further and allow consumers to review complaint narratives in addition to the summary information. This would provide much richer information about the nature of the complaints and of company response, including helping consumers evaluate the validity and seriousness of the problems,” Donner added.
“Now, financial customers will join consumer product, auto, medical device, and airline customers in their ability to search complaints to government agencies,” concluded Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director and chair of the AFR-CFPB Task Force. “Disclosing bank and lender complaints will force the firms to have better service, help consumers make wiser choices, and give the CFPB a better early warning system to detect harmful emerging consumer trends.“
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