Financial services complaints up 12% among servicemembers; credit, consumer reporting leads (again)

Complaints related to financial services were up 12% in 2018 among members of the U.S. armed services, veterans and their families, according to the latest “complaint snapshot” published Tuesday by the federal consumer financial protection bureau.

The top complaint among the servicemembers – making up 38% of all complaints (for a total of 12,966) received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) – was credit or consumer reporting. In fact, that category is the top complaint among non-servicemembers, the bureau said in its Complaint Snapshot: Complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and military families. According to the report, “incorrect information on the report” was cited in 54% of the 6,977 complaints received.

The snapshot report is designed to provide a national overview of servicemember complaints, along with complaint information by state. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank), CFPB is charged with coordinating financial protection for servicemembers, which the bureau says “includes working to make sure that when servicemembers encounter problems they get timely responses to their complaints so they can stay mission-focused.”

The second-highest servicemember complaint received in 2018, according to the CFPB report, regarded debt collection, making up 26% (8,825) of complaints received (running slightly ahead of complaints in that category received by non-servicemembers, 25%). “Attempts to collect debt not owed” made up 40% (3,495) of the complaints received.

Rounding out the top five complaints were: mortgages (10% of all complaints), with “trouble during payment process” cited in 45% of the complaints; credit cards (8%), with “problem with a purchase shown on your statement” cited in 26%; and checking or savings (6%), with “managing an account” cited in 58% of the complaints.

States tallying the most complaints were Texas, with 3,741; California, with 3,556; Florida, with 3,191; and Georgia, with 2,355.

However, a number of states with lower numbers of total complaints received did show big increases in the complaints they received. From the top, those are: Wyoming, where complaints were up 100% from the previous year (with 60 total); Utah, with complaints up 49% (225 received); Louisiana, with complaints up 48% (639 complaints); and Mississippi, with complaints up 47% (376 received last year).

Complaint snapshot: Complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and military families