February 16, 2017
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a great resource for consumers, but its days may be numbered. Take advantage of one of its best features while you still can: it has a massive database of detailed complaints from bank and credit union customers.
The database has given customers a platform to complain about their experiences with financial institutions and according to the CFPB’s website, here’s how it works:
Each week we send thousands of consumers’ complaints about financial products and services to companies for response. Those complaints are published here after the company responds or after 15 days, whichever comes first. By adding their voice, consumers help improve the financial marketplace.
Financial institutions don’t like this, of course, because they say there’s no guarantee the complaints are accurate (even though there is a field for the company’s response, and 97% of complaints get a response). Basically, if you’re a bank that takes advantage of customers, you probably don’t like this database, because it gives those customers a platform to call you out.
For a consumer, though, it’s a pretty valuable platform to see what potential issues you might have. Customer narratives, like the one below, help tip off the CFPB to illegal business practices, like the whole Wells Fargo fiasco last year. Thanks to the CFPB and their database, Wells Fargo put a stop to opening unauthorized accounts. Even better, they were forced to refund customers the fees they racked up in those unauthorized accounts.
With the database in danger of disappearing, it’s a good time to take advantage of it if you haven’t already. If you’re thinking of switching banks or credit unions, research the information while you still can. You can download the data, too.
Consumer Complaint Database | CFPB