By law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issues an annual report analyzing consumers’ complaints made to CFPB. The number of complaints has exploded in recent years, and it’s just a tiny fraction of the complaints made directly to the relevant companies. And it’s worth looking at some of the findings relating to those complaints. Once you are familiar with problems other consumers are facing, you may be able to better understand the issues that you are dealing with.
Most complaints the CFPB receives are related to the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The number of complaints against each firm has roughly tripled since 2019, and, in a year-by-year comparison, the growth of the complaints against each firm is very similar. Equifax had somewhat fewer complaints than Experian and TransUnion, but it, too, still had a tripling of complaints in the past couple of years.
More consumers now report having more problems with credit reporting than they are with debt collection. That’s a significant change. When the CFPB first began collecting complaints in 2011, debt collection was the most common cause of complaints, and, for years, there were 100,000 more complaints about debt collectors than there were about other financial service providers. Issues with debt collection still occur, but now, there are twice as many complaints against credit bureaus than debt collectors.
And there’s more for them to complain about. In 2020, consumers told the CFPB that they had multiple problems with credit bureaus. And 50% of them had filed previous complaints that were still unresolved.
Another noteworthy trend: There has also been an annual increase in complaints against “furnishers,” the companies that supply data to the credit bureaus. While still far below the number of complaints against the credit bureaus, the volume of complaints against furnishers has doubled since 2017. At this point, consumers are complaining about furnishers more than they are about their credit card providers or other bankers.
In our next post, we’ll examine the issues those consumers are complaining about. . .
Read part 2 by clicking here!