CFPB Complaint Portal Resolves Problem That Years Of Phone Calls Could Not

In March the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a complaint portal for people with unresolved issues tied to their checking and savings accounts. Now we’re hearing the first of what we hope are numerous success stories from Consumerist readers who have tried the CFPB portal.

Back in 1999, Samantha moved from Philadelphia to New York and closed her account at Mellon Bank — but not exactly.

See, Mellon had somehow kept open the line of credit that had been tied to her checking account, even though it had a zero balance. The bank continued to send statements, but to Samantha’s old Philly address, which didn’t really do her any good.

Fast forward to 2010, when Samantha decides to begin checking her credit reports:

I noticed that I had an account listed with Citizens Bank, which had apparently taken over Mellon in 2001. I won’t get into all of the detail here, but numerous customer support calls and letters (and refusals to travel to a ‘local branch’ which doesn’t exist in Manhattan) later, I thought that the issue was resolved, and the account no longer appeared on my credit reports. I will admit that I was not super-zealous, as this was not an issue of identity theft or anything more nefarious than incompetence.

Cut to April 1, 2012, when I pull my credit report again, and find that while no account is listed, Citizens Bank is running monthly ‘creditor’ checks on my account. Again I spend hours on the phone, and again I am told the only way to resolve this is to go to a non-existent local branch. I am further told that the address I wrote to in 2010, which was given to me by their customer service, was nothing more than a payment center and that my letter most likely got tossed.

So, while I was simultaneously trying to contact the closest branch to see if they could help me over the phone, I filed a complaint with the new CFPB.

One week later, a gentleman from Citizens’ ‘Executive Service Senior Advocate’ called me and vowed to resolve the issue (after I sent one more letter, as they did need my signature).

Today, I got a notification from the CFPB that the account, which should have been closed 13 years ago, was finally closed and that the credit reporting bureaus would be notified of the correction.

19 days from start to finish.

In addition to the banking complaint form, the CFPB also has complaint portals for mortgages, credit cards, auto and consumer loans, and student loans.

Both the Bureau and these portals are but newborn babes, so we encourage readers to share their stories of success and/or failure with using the CFPB to resolve their financial issues.