Perhaps one reason why so many members of Congress tried to prevent the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) from becoming established was because they knew how effective the organization might become. After all, Congress frequently tries to befriend “big business” in ways that don't always serve their constituents’ best interests. Certainly the CFPB's performance in 2013 proved that it’s a force to be reckoned with in terms of championing consumer rights. Hopefully, some of the current legislators’ attempts to weaken the bureau won't succeed anytime soon.

            In 2013, the CFPB’s “complaint volume nearly doubled from 91,000 . . . received in 2012 to 163,700.  . . in 2013.” The bureau's annual report for 2013 makes it clear that it’s succeeding in helping a vast number of Americans find new ways to protect their rights while receiving more “open” information about mortgages, credit card terms and other financial matters.

Which Consumer Complaints Were Raised Most Frequently?

  • The majority of complaints (37%) involved unfair (or questionable) mortgage practices. It seems that big business learned very little from its behavior that directly help cause the last (and still lingering) recession to “explode” in this country;
  • Debt collection practices. Over the years, many Americans have received at least a few questionable phone calls or letters in regards to debts. While only 19% of the complaints fell under this category, that’s probably because the CFPB only began accepting such complaints in July 2013 – well after some of the other types. These complaints usually revolve around what is allegedly owed or the harassing tactics of the debt collector;
  • Credit reporting issues. It’s not surprising to learn that the vast majority of these complaints revolve around incorrect credit report information that needs to be fixed.

Success Level of Resolving Complaints

            It’s a bit difficult to accurately measure this since so many financial entities try to avoid indicating that they're going to change their ways due to complaints – although a certain percentage of them often do. However, the CFPB can document that about 11% of the complaints result in the alleged wrongdoer offering a consumer some type of non-monetary relief. And approximately 7% of those who filed complaints with the CFPB received monetary relief.

Of course, as many people know – just getting to air one's grievances to a government bureau that will actually try to help is almost invaluable.


If you believe that you’re a victim of any abusive debt collection practices, contact the Law Offices of Georgia consumer protection attorney Shane Smith so you can learn more about your rights under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Call (770) 487-8999 today to schedule your free initial consultation.


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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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