CFPB Now Accepting Consumers’ Prepaid Card, Debt Settlement And Title Loan Complaints

Just in time for the fourth anniversary of its creation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its expanding the type of consumer complaints it accepts to include prepaid cards and other nonbank products.

Consumers who encounter issues with prepaid cards, such as gift cards, benefit cards, and general purpose reloadable cards, as well as, debt settlement services, credit repair services, and pawn and title loans now have an outlet to air their grievances.

The Bureau previously accepted complaints about credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, auto and other consumer loans, credit reporting, debt collection, payday loans and money transfers.

The CFPB requests that companies named in complaints respond within 15 days and describe the steps they will take or have taken to remedy the situation. Companies are expected to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days.

The inclusion of prepaid card complaints comes as the cards have gained significant popularity for those who are unable to acquire banking accounts. An estimated 12 million consumers use the product that lacks the same protections as traditional debit or credit cards.

Consumers can submit prepaid card complaints regarding:

  • problems managing, opening, or closing their accounts;
  • overdraft issues and incorrect or unexpected fees;
  • frauds, scams, or unauthorized transactions;
  • advertising, disclosures, and marketing practices;
  • adding money and saving or reward features.

The addition of debt settlement and credit repair service complaints to the Bureau’s system comes less than two weeks after a Center for Responsible Lending report found that the programs often do more harm than good for consumers looking to get out of debt.

Consumers can now submit complaints about debt settlement and credit repair regarding:

  • excessive or unexpected fees;
  • advertising, disclosures, and marketing practices;
  • customer service issues;
  • frauds or scams.

Pawn and Title loans, which often include short terms and high interest rates, can leave consumers in a tough spot if they default.

The CFPB will collect complaints about:

  • unexpected charges or interest fees;
  • loan application issues;
  • problems with the lender correctly charging and creating payments;
  • issues with the lender repossessing, selling, or damaging the consumer’s property or vehicle;
  • unable to contact lender.

Consumer complaints can be submitted to the CFPB online.

This is the second significant change to the Bureau’s consumer complaint database in the last week.

Last Wednesday, the CFPB announced a new proposal that would allow consumers the option of voicing the details of their grievances in a publicly viewable forum.

Currently when consumers submit a complaint to CFPB’s public-facing Consumer Complaint Database, they fill in basic information such as who they are, who the complaint is against, and when the issue occurred. There is also an opportunity to describe what happened and attach any related documents.The complaint is then forwarded to the company for a response and the consumer is given a tracking number to keep updated on the complaint status.

When viewing the database consumers can see only a fraction of the information provided. The data fields includes the name of the company, the company’s response and a vague issue description.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Beings Accepting Consumer Complaints on Prepaid Cards and Additional Nonbank Products [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau]