CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database Will Enable Consumers to Make Complaints Public (March 19, 2015)
The CFPB is finalizing its consumer narrative policy and, 90 days after the policy is published in the Federal Register, consumers who have opted in will be able to make their complaints about financial products and services in the bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database public.
The CFPB initially proposed the policy last July and reviewed comments from consumer groups, trade associations, companies and individuals. Starting today, when consumers submit a complaint to the CFPB, they’ll have the option to check a box to share their narrative. To give companies an opportunity to learn about this new system, which provides options to respond to the complaints, the bureau will not publish any narrative for at least 90 days after the policy’s publication in the Federal Register.
The policy includes safeguards, according to the CFPB, to ensure the complaint process is fair and transparent, including: consumers must opt-in to share their experience; personal information will be removed; consumers can decide at any time to withdraw their narratives from the database; and companies have the option to select from a set list of structured responses to address the consumer complaints [emphasis added].
The bureau also has published a request for information soliciting suggestions on ways to highlight positive consumer experiences with financial service providers. The CFPB is considering two possibilities for sharing positive feedback: provide more information about a company’s complaint handling, such as highlighting the quality of responses to consumers, or collecting consumer compliments independent of the complaint process.
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