Consumers concerned about bureau forwarding to companies complaint referrals from other agencies, ombudsman reports

Some consumers expressed concern over the federal consumer financial protection agency’s practice of forwarding complaints received from other federal financial regulatory agencies on to the companies being complained about – something the agency indicated was just process, according a report issued last week.

In its mid-year update (published July 31), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Ombudsman’s Office said referrals of complaints from other agencies follow the CFPB’s consumer complaint process, “which includes forwarding complaints to the company for a response. However, the information other agencies provide about consumer complaint referrals differs,” the ombudsman’s office wrote.

The ombudsman noted that, in reaching that conclusion, it had reviewed the law, information each agency provides about its consumer complaint process, as well as agency privacy policies.

The office said it would update the review in its FY2019 Annual Report.

In other comments, the CFPB Ombudsman report stated:

  • In response to consumer questions, it found that the CFPB provides more information about bureau-administered redress than defendant-administered redress, such as whether the redress still is available. The ombudsman says it provided recommendations to the CFPB to further assist consumers in obtaining redress information, including on consumerfinance.gov and the telephone contact center.
  • In the first six months of FY2019, the office received 581 individual inquiries from individuals, companies, consumer and trade groups, and others. The contacts came from people in 45 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and from other countries, the office report stated.

CFPB Ombudsman’s Office Mid-year Update, July 2019

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