This Month’s Complaint Report: Credit Reporting Issues
This month’s report puts the spotlight on credit reporting. Credit reports play a big part in major consumer lending decisions, including mortgage loans, auto loans, credit cards and private student loans. The largest three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) maintain credit files on nearly 210 million U.S. consumers.
In the past month, credit reporting complaints showed the greatest monthly percentage increase compared to other products the CFPB accepts complaints about (including debt collection, mortgages and credit cards – to name a few). Check out this month’s report to see trends across all consumer complaints.
Credit reporting highlights
- Incorrect information: This is the number one complaint from consumers submitting credit reporting complaints. Incorrect information on your credit reports could cause a lender to offer you an interest rate that is less favorable than it otherwise could be. Watch this short video about Jorge. who tried unsuccessfully to remove an outdated bankruptcy from his credit report, before he got the help he needed from the CFPB.
- Access to credit reports: Another common complaint is that rigorous identity authentication questions are preventing consumers from accessing their credit reports. See how to request a free credit report from each of the credit reporting companies.
- Problems disputing errors with credit reporting companies: Consumers also report problems disputing errors directly with credit reporting companies. In particular, victims of identity theft often state they feel victimized a second time by their inability to correct inaccuracies in their reports with both credit reporting companies and lenders. See how you can spot identity theft and read how to dispute an error on your credit report with the credit reporting companies.
- Here’s one complaint from our Consumer Complaint Database: “I had a credit report pulled with my financial institution and there was a social security number on it that does not belong to me…now his number is on my credit report from [credit reporting company]. I tried to call [credit reporting company] about this and only got a recording. I would like this person’s number off my credit report.”
If you have a complaint about credit reporting or any other financial product or service, you can submit a complaint to us online. We’ll forward it to the company and work to get you a response.
Geographic spotlight: Los Angeles
This month, we put the spotlight on Los Angeles, California. As of August 1, 2015, about 94,000 complaints (14 percent) of the 677,200 complaints we have handled have been from consumers in California. More than a third of those are from the Los Angeles area!
Look out for our next monthly complaint report
Our Office of Consumer Response hears directly from consumers about the challenges they face in the marketplace, brings their concerns to the attention of companies and assists in addressing their complaints. Next month we’ll highlight another consumer product and U.S city. Stay tuned!
Jun 25 2015
Applying for a mortgage can be complicated: Navid’s story
Imagine you’re applying for a home loan. You’ve spent months calculating costs, comparing home prices, researching neighborhoods, and you’ve finally found a home you love and think you can afford. You meet with a lender and you’re assured that you will qualify for a loan to buy that home. Based on the lender’s assurances that you qualify, you pay a non-refundable earnest money deposit to the seller. After putting down a $12,000 deposit, you’re told that you do not qualify for the loan. Your non-refundable earnest money deposit appears to be lost.
That’s what happened to Navid and his wife.
“All of these things were new to us,” Navid said. In a very short period of time, we lost $12,000.”
Navid tried to contact the lender who had given him false assurances that he would qualify for the mortgage loan, but was getting nowhere. With no help in sight, he assumed his money was lost forever. Then he found out about the CFPB.
“One night we were watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the guest,” Navid remembered. “He talked about this organization and what they do.”
After the show, he decided to submit a complaint and soon after, the couple received full compensation and a formal apology from the lender that had assured him he would be approved for the mortgage loan.
“I came to [the] United States because I thought this is a country [where] there are rules and regulations, and the government is for the people. This is why I chose this country,” Navid said. He added that it’s a wonderful feeling to know that there are parts of the government that are trying to reach out and help people.
We know that buying a home can be complicated, and that’s why we’ve created tools to help home buyers understand and shop for mortgages. We’re glad that Navid and his wife got the help they needed, and we’re here for you, too! To share your experience or learn more from others, visit us at consumerfinance.gov/yourstory .
Updated July 22, 2015 to clarify consumer complaint and outcome .
Jun 25 2015
Today we begin to share the story of your complaints
Every day, we hear directly from the American public about your experiences in the consumer financial marketplace. We hear from consumers
in their own words about the pain of having a home in foreclosure, the frustration of trying to correct an inaccurate credit report, or their helplessness in dealing with an abusive debt collector.
Today, for the first time, we are making consumers’ complaint narratives – the heart and soul of the complaints we receive – public. These narratives are important because they tell the story of what happened in the consumers’ own words. Making these consumer narratives public, amplifies the voice of the consumer.
Every complaint gives us insight
Since June 2012, we’ve shared individual-level complaint data on our website, to educate the public and improve the functioning of the marketplace: a first by any financial regulator at the state or federal level.
Each complaint we receive, which is now more than 627,000 since we opened in July 2011, provides us with invaluable data. Consumer complaint data is part of the Bureau’s DNA and all complaints play an important role in our supervision of companies, enforcement actions, rulemakings, and our engagement with servicemembers, students, the economically vulnerable, and older Americans.
But how we use complaint data is only half of the story.
Every complaint gives you insight, too
Making your experience public gives more people, including you, the power to improve the financial marketplace. In our Consumer Complaint Database, you can access reliable data on how many and what kinds of complaints companies receive from us and how different companies handle those complaints. Our database is also searchable so you can find and read about experiences consumers are having with companies as you make decisions about financial products and services for yourself and your family.
Consumers want to be heard
Publishing complaint narratives represents a milestone for consumer empowerment. Consumers now have the choice to share in their own words their experiences with the consumer financial marketplace.
Consumers are in control and based upon what we have observed since consumers began opting-in, giving us their consent to publish their narratives (after we’ve removed personal information), they are thoughtfully exercising this right and want to be heard. Approximately 59 percent of consumers submitting complaints through our website have told us they want to share their experiences with the public. Consumers aren’t just skipping the checkbox. We believe consumers are taking the time to read, understand, and make informed decisions when deciding to provide, or withhold, their consent.
After four and a half years of hard work, I am proud that the Consumer Complaint Database is now a reality. It reflects the commitment of our amazing team of dedicated public servants to empower consumers to make better decisions for themselves and their families. And now that it’s in your hands, it will help the financial marketplace run more fairly for all Americans.
Visit the Consumer Complaint Database to read about consumers’ experiences, and if you’re facing a problem with a financial service or product you can submit a complaint and add your voice to the database.
Mar 19 2015
Your complaint is more than data—it’s your story
Since we started accepting complaints in July 2011, we have handled more than 550,000 from people all over the country about problems in the financial marketplace. These complaints help us understand the problems you face and focus our efforts to protect consumers like you.
While you can see hundreds of thousands of these complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database. these complaints are much more than just data to us. These complaints reflect real and tough challenges people face every day as they try to navigate the financial world.
You’ve shared your story with us through your complaint before, but now we’re giving you the choice to publish your story in our Consumer Complaint Database. Sharing what happened to you with the public can help others see what’s happening in the financial marketplace.
Share your whole story, everyone will see it
When you submit a complaint to us, you tell us what happened. This is a space where you explain the circumstances, your frustrations, and your perspective on the problem. This is where you state your case using the dates and details of transactions and tell about your interactions with the company you are reporting. Beginning today, if you submit your complaint online you can choose to share your story on our Consumer Complaint Database. where anyone can come and see it.
Of course, we will review your narrative and remove any personal information to minimize the risk that the information could be used to identify you. If you decide not to share your story, we won’t make your story publicly available and it will not affect how we handle your complaint.
Later this year, you’ll start to see these narratives in our database. Making your story public will give more people, including you, the power to improve the financial marketplace.
Lifting your voice
The Consumer Complaint Database currently includes only some information about your situation, for example, the type of product you wrote to us about and what kind of action the company took to help. Now, with this new policy, your voice can explain the situation you are in and give the context surrounding your complaint. This will make it easier for anyone exploring our database to truly understand what happened.
Facing a problem with a financial product or service? Let us know. We’d like to hear about it!
Save the date: Join us for a Credit Union Advisory Council meeting in Washington, D.C.
Category: Payday loans