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CFPB Proposes Complaint Database Change

Phil Hall
Aug 02, 2016
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has finalized new measures to ensure that homeowners and struggling borrowers are treated fairly by mortgage servicers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing to tweak its controversial Consumer Complaint Database that will provide consumers with the chance to make follow-up comments on the handling of submitting complaints.

In an announcement on its blog, the CFPB stated it was publishing a Federal Register notice to announce this upgrade. The agency stated that this change was being made in order to further improve “the complaint process for consumers and companies”—although the only ones that would be able to post responses to the database would be the consumers and not the companies.”

“Through this notice, we intend to give consumers the option to provide feedback on the company’s response to and handling of their complaints,” wrote Chris Johnson, the CFPB’s assistant director for the Office of Consumer Response. “The consumer would have the ability to rate the company’s handling of his or her complaint on a one-to-five scale and provide a narrative description in support of the rating. Consumer feedback will be shared with the company that responded to the complaint to inform its complaint handling and used to inform our work to supervise companies and monitor the market for consumer financial products and services.”

The Consumer Complaint Database has been the subject of intense criticism from the financial services industry, which has argued that complaints can be posted without any verification regarding their validity. Last month, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced the CFPB Data Accountability Act (HR 5413), which sought to change the database’s operations by requiring a greater degree of verification as well as “statistics on how many consumer complaints the Bureau receives with respect to the particular consumer financial product or service compared to the total number of consumers making use of such consumer financial product or service.”

“Unfortunately, the current database is disorganized and does little to provide the American people with important information to inform their decision-making,” said Rep. Salmon in his introduction of the legislation.

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