Complaint reporting balances consumers‑companies relationship

Lexie Heinle | October 10, 2015

For the past four years, wronged consumers have turned to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to report their complaints. The Bureau sends those complaints to the companies who have 15 days to respond. Over 78 percent of those consumers are satisfied with companies' responses. The charts below explore different aspects of the database, including companies with the highest number of complaints, companies' public responses and companies' response to consumers.

In addition to displaying 25 companies with the highest number of complaints, this chart showcases consumers' issues with the companies. Overall, complaints dealing with loan modifications, collections and foreclosures were the most common with incorrect credit reports following.

Companies can release a public response for each complaint. These companies' policy of issuing public responses may be in their favor as none of them are also on the list of having the most complaints. The most popular responses are the company's statement of innocence and blaming a third party.

Companies' preference for offering money or a non-monetary relief is influenced by their specific industry.

Credit monitoring firms like Experian and TransUnion are more likely to provide non-monetary relief, which include credit report corrections.

The type of relief the company offers the consumer can impact the consumer's satisfaction. Not responding within the 15 day period after a complaint has been made is certain to annoy the consumer. On the other hand, the saying "money heals all ills" appears to be supported by the data.

Company response to consumer Percent of consumer disputes
Closed with explanation 24 percent
Closed with non-monetary relief 14 percent
Closed without relief 27 percent
Closed with monetary relief 12 percent
Closed 22 percent
Closed with relief 14 percent
Untimely response 100 percent

The consumer narratives allow the consumer to release their description of the financial problem to the public. By releasing their narratives, consumers may prevent other consumers from having the same problem and display their emotional response to the companies' actions. The Bureau scrubs the narratives for private information before publishing them.