The Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) has launched a multimedia campaign highlighting a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) plan that may misinform consumers by posting unverified, anonymous and potentially inaccurate complaints about financial services companies on a government Web site.
"The CFPB's plan will feature only one side of the story, and such one-sided accounts will not advance the CFPB's mission of better informing and helping consumers,” said FSR President and CEO Tim Pawlenty.
FSR’s campaign includes advertising in D.C. metro stations, as well as a social media ad buy. FSR will also be releasing a digital feature every day this week highlighting the problems that the CFPB’s rushed plan poses to consumers.
The CFPB will allow complaints to be posted on its government website, but give the named companies little opportunity to respond. The complaints may be inaccurate and may not tell the whole story.
The CFPB’s 2013 Consumer Response Report, which collected statistics on based the bureau’s current complaint system, demonstrates the volume of misleading information consumers could receive. For instance, last year alone, nearly 70 percent of all complaints filed were closed with a simple or clarification to the customer.
The CFPB has fast-tracked the start date of this project, leaving many important questions, such as how the CFPB plans to protect the identities of individuals who post on the website from Freedom of Information Act and other public records requests. Many other key details, such as how the CFPB will verify that the customers are who they say they are, and a range of other questions about how the system will work still haven’t been disclosed.