Credit Card Complaints Have a New Home

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Credit Card (Flickr: The Consumerist)

Frustrated with your credit card company? Maybe it’s over a bill dispute, your interest rate, or a late fee. If you once felt like your complaints were going unheard, that may be changing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a new website this week inviting the public to submit their complaints against credit card companies, and it will eventually include complaints regarding student loans and mortgages. Richard Cordray is the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"What you will be able to see is what kind of complaints are being filed," Corday says. "You can see which companies are the subject of complaints, and how they do with resolving those complaints."

The database is the first of its kind in that consumers are now able to view the nature and direction of complaints on an individual level. By showing what problems other people have, Cordray hopes that the website will make it easier for consumers to navigate through loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. "By making our data publicly available, initially in the area of credit cards, we hope to improve the transparency and efficiency of this essential consumer market."

When a complaint is filed, the Bureau verifies the relationship between the consumer and the financial institution, and the database records the complaint and forwards it to the accused institution. The institution is then required to respond to the Bureau on a specific time frame. In the course of credit card complaints, that’s 15 days. Due to the sensitive nature of financial information, the Bureau makes a point to protect the privacy of people's personal information.

Besides holding financial companies accountable to both financial laws and consumers, Cordray believes that the data will benefit the financial system as a whole. "Taking this information and making it public is a good thing for the free market," he says. "The more informed consumers are, the better choices they can make. The good businesses that are providing strong customer services, and that will be reflected in this data."

The Bureau's Snapshot of Complaints Received details numerous success stories, including a retired Army veteran who was refunded $30,000 after continuing to make payments on a house he had already paid off.

Guests:

Richard Cordray

Produced by:

Robert Balint, Arwa Gunja and Elizabeth Ross

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