Consumer complaints on increase in first half of year, consumer bureau reports; debt collection at top

Monthly consumer complaints about financial products and services were up an average of more than 9% in the first six months of 2018, compared to the previous year, according to new data released Tuesday by the federal consumer financial protection agency.

In its “Complaint Snapshot: 50 State Report,” the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB) stated that it has received nearly half a million consumer complaints (494,590) between January 2017 to the end of June 2018.

The report notes that the top three states receiving complaints in 2017-MY 2018 were California, Florida and Texas; Wyoming had the fewest complaints received.

The bureau said it defines “consumer complaints” as submissions that “express dissatisfaction with, or communicate suspicion of wrongful conduct by, an identifiable entity related to a consumer’s personal experience with a financial product or service.”

In the past, the “Complaint Snapshot” has listed the top complaints received, by topic, during each reporting period. This most recent report stops short of 2018, but does report the “top complaints” in volume by top five products since 2015, with a comparison of 2017 and 2016 complaints received.

Debt collection, according to that report, generated the highest volume of complaints, at 302,408 (with “Attempts to collect debt not owed” as the top issue within that category). According to the bureau, “debt collection” complaints made up 26% of all received in 2017 (versus 30% in 2016).

Other top complaints received, according to the bureau, are:

  • Credit or consumer reporting (273,699; 31% of 2017 complaints, 19% in 2016), with “Incorrect information on your report” accounting for 64% of the complaints;
  • Mortgage (155,519; 12% of 2017 complaints, 18% in 2016), with “Trouble during payment process” accounting for 40% of the complaints;
  • Credit card (90,242; 8% of 2017 complaints, 9% in 2016), with “Problem with a purchase shown on your statement” at 22% of complaints;
  • Checking or saving (88,170; 8% of 2017 complaints, 10% in 2016), with “Managing an account” at 80% of the complaints.

As of June 30, 2018, the bureau said, it had received approximately 1,578,700 complaints.

Bureau releases Complaint snapshot: 50 state report