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Consumer Updates

Kudos to CFPB for opening credit card complaints to public

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June 19, 2012 | 1,934 views | Post a comment

Consumers will have a new weapon to fight fraud, and unfair or abusive business practices with access to a new complaint database developed by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Consumer Action applauds the CFPB's new policy---announced today---which gives consumers access to data about credit card complaints filed with the agency.

"CFPB took a smart step today in opening up its complaint database to the public," says Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action's deputy director national priorities. "The public database will help prevent others from falling for the same tricks and traps."

The nation's consumer watchdog is making credit card complaint data available to consumers to help individuals protect themselves. It announced today that despite industry push-back, it will share the type of card complaint, card issuer, date, ZIP code, information about how the issuer responded to a cardholder's concerns (with monetary or non-monetary relief) and whether the consumer continues to dispute the problem. Consumers will be able to search the database by card issuer or complaint type. The new complaint database will empower consumers to avoid businesses with unfair, predatory practices and will help to hold card companies accountable for their actions.

"We're pleased that the CFPB has an appreciation for how valuable first-hand cardholder experiences are to other consumers and we're hopeful that it will eventually open up the complaint data for all types of personal financial products," said Susswein.

In addition to the information the bureau has agreed to share with the public, Consumer Action has urged the bureau to make available more detailed narratives of the complaint. We will continue to press for public access to more detailed narratives. Consumer Action recognizes the sensitive nature of personal information and we do not advocate for public access to individual's personal information---just general details which can guide other consumers in making sound financial decisions.

Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Consumer Action focuses on financial education that empowers low to moderate income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing financial education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, and annual financial product and services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. More than 8,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials, and support.
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