CFPB’s Latest News on the Complaints Database

This is a direct communication from the CFPB Press Releases– see CFPB’s website for more!

September 18, 2019

Office of Communications
Tel: (202) 435-7170


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will continue the publication of consumer complaints, data fields and narrative descriptions through the Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database while making several enhancements to the information available to users of the database. The enhancements include: modified disclaimers to provide better context to the published data; integrating financial information and resources into the complaint process to help address questions and better inform consumers before they submit a complaint; and information to assist consumers who wish to contact the financial company to get answers to their specific questions. Additionally, the Bureau will work to provide enhanced features for the database that include dynamic visualization tools on recent complaint data.

“Since its inception, the Consumer Complaint Database has not been without controversy. When the Bureau asked for feedback in 2018, we received nearly 26,000 comments from a wide array of stakeholders including government officials, consumer groups, companies, academics, and individual consumers. After carefully examining and considering all stakeholder and public input, we are announcing the continued publication of complaints with enhanced data and context that will benefit consumers and users of the database while addressing many of the concerns raised,” said CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “The continued publication of the database, along with the enhancements, empowers consumers and informs the public.”

The Bureau is making changes to its website to provide disclosures on the nature of complaints as well as resources to consumers, including:

  • More prominently display disclosures making it clear that the Consumer Complaint Database is not a statistical sample of consumers’ experiences in the marketplace;
  • Highlighting the availability of answers to common financial questions for consumers to help inform them before they submit a complaint; and
  • Highlighting consumers ability to contact the financial company directly to get answers to their specific questions.

The Bureau will continue to publish all previously disclosed fields, including consumers’ narrative descriptions of their complaints. To further enhance the database in the coming months, the Bureau will:

  • Build and launch dynamic visualization tools including geospatial and trend views based on recent complaint data to help users of the database understand current and recent marketplace conditions;
  • Emphasize features for aggregation and analysis while continuing to make all the underlying data available for analysis;
  • Explore expansion of a company’s ability to respond publically to individual complaints listed in the database; and
  • Continue to explore ways to put the complaint data in context of other data, such as by incorporating product or service market share and company size.

To date, the Bureau has handled more than 1.9 million complaints. More than 5,000 financial companies have responded through this process, providing timely responses to 97 percent of the more than 1.3 million complaints sent to them for response.

The Consumer Complaint Database is available at:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit”

Uber’s No-Call Zone!

Uber has no allowance for one to call customer service, and the in-app responses appear to be bots or cut/paste from a list of ready answers that may or may not respond to the concern raised.  This is very concerning from a consumer protection perspective.  One may even be in a dangerous situation, or learn that someone at Uber compromised their personal data and credit…..but Uber still will not call the consumer or respond to emails with substantive attention.  Even the “emergency number” (one finds after diligent research) provides only a recorded message and no live person to answer in most of the country!

This means that if Uber charges too much or there is another issue, the consumer is often left with no remedy if the online system provides the old “we think we are right” wrote answer through the app.  Indeed, Uber may simply ignore multiple messages and send a cut/paste/bot answer:  “we are still researching” — which can go on for eternity.  With no number to call or supervisor to contact……the consumer is literally left with no remedy.  Furthermore, if one’s online account is inaccurate and failing to show the actual amounts charged, there is again no remedy.

It reminds one of being bullied, and leaves one feeling helpless.

It seems there should be a consumer protection law that requires that all companies must have a customer help line!  Perhaps the FTC act should be read to classify lack of customer support as a “deceptive trade practice”?

As a consumer law professor, and a victim of Uber’s “no-call zone” and lack of customer assistance, I am deeply troubled.

Tools in Missouri to Submit Your Consumer Complaint

This presentation outlines resources for consumers in Missouri to submit their consumer complaints. It also walks the consumer through the various steps a complaint goes through when it is submitted to the Better Business Bureau and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. Finally, the presentation concludes with a brief overview of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, which is a statute that empowers consumers to bring fraudulent businesses to justice. [embeddoc url=”” download=”all” viewer=”microsoft”]

Top Ten Ways the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You Against Collection Agencies

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the main law that regulates how a collector collects on a debt. By knowing your rights under this law you can empower yourself and protect yourself from harassment or misleading practices by collectors.

1. Collectors can only call between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. in YOUR time zone. c(a)(1)

The FDCPA directly states that collection agencies can’t call at a place or time which is obviously inconvenient to the consumer. The law sets out 8 A.M. to 9 P.M. as an assumed acceptable time to contact the debtor. However, you can tell the collector if there’s a different time range that works best for you!


2. Collectors can’t call you at work if you tell them not to. c(a)(3)

Collectors are within their rights to attempt to contact a debtor at their place of work. However, if you aren’t able to receive phone calls of that nature at work and tell the collector that, then they can no longer contact you there!


3. Collectors can’t call family members or friends more than once. b(a)(3)

Typically a collector may call a friend of family member of a debtor in order to receive contact information for the debtor. However, the FDCPA states that the collector may only call the family member or friend once, and cannot mention anything about the debtor owing money. Essentially, the FDCPA protects from collectors harassing family and friends to attempt to force the debtor into paying.


4. Collectors can’t threaten to sue or repossess if they don’t mean it. e(a)(4)

It is against the FDCPA for a collector to imply that not paying a debt will result in the repossession or lawsuit against the debtor if the repossession or lawsuit is unlawful or if the collector has no intention to take such action.


5. Collectors can’t lie about what you owe. e(a)(2)(A)

Harassing collectors may try to pressure a debtor into paying by saying the debtor owes more than they do. This action is also strictly prohibited by the FDCPA.


6. Collectors can’t call you repeatedly in one day (d)(a)(5)

Incessant calling is one of the main complaints against collection agencies. Which is why the FDCPA states that “causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number” is harassment.


7. Collectors must send you a letter with information of your debt (g)(a)

The FDCPA states that within five days of initial communication with a debtor the collector must send a “validation letter” which states the amount of the debt, the original creditor the debt came from, how to dispute the debt, and how to pay the debt.


8. Collector’s can’t call you if you have a lawyer for your debts b(a)(6), c(a)(2)

If a debt collector knows that the debtor is represented by an attorney regarding the debt and has or can easily obtain the attorney’s contact information, then, under the FDCPA, the collector can no longer contact the debtor.


9. Collector’s can’t threaten to have you arrested (e)(a)(4)

It is directly against the FDCPA if the collector threatens to have the debtor arrested for not paying their debt.


10. Collector’s can’t claim to be a lawyer e(a)(3)

The FDCPA explicitly states that collectors are not allowed to imply that they are an attorney or are conveying information from an attorney.


Final tip: You can negotiate paying your debt with collectors! At the end of the day collection agencies want to be paid. This is why some FDCPA compliant collectors are willing to negotiate with debtors to allow them to pay a lower amount that is feasible for the debtor.

How to Check Your Credit

By: Jennifer Boston

Whatever your financial goals are, it’s important to know your credit score!

You should never pay to learn about your own financial information. Although these sites require you to input personal information such as a social security number and past addresses, but you should never be asked for a credit card number.

You can access your entire credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) at Because this site only allows you free access to each report once a year, it makes sense to only view one at a time so that you can go back in a few months and check for any changes. gives you access to your entire detailed credit report, but it does not give you your credit score for free.

To find out your credit score first check with your bank or credit card company, many include credit information in their online portals or on printed monthly statements.

Another option for getting your credit score is You can register for a free lifetime account and check your credit score free anytime on this site. There is also a credit karma mobile app that makes it easy to keep track of your credit score. This site includes a simple break down of what is impacting your credit but be cautious, it suggests credit cards you may be eligible for, but you do not need to sign up for these.

It is worth mentioning that is NOT free as the name suggests.

Bankruptcy: Costs, Credit Scores, and Life After Discharge in Missouri

Bankruptcy is a court-supervised process where a debtor in files papers with the federal courthouse. This blog post answers three frequently asked questions about bankruptcy: (1) How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost? (2) How bad will filing for bankruptcy hurt my credit score? (3) How quickly after bankruptcy will my credit score begin to improve? The answers are all specific to bankruptcies filed in Missouri only.

Bankruptcy is a tool used to halt your creditors in their tracks; as soon as one files the appropriate papers with the federal court, creditors must stop all collection attempts. This gives debtors something extremely valuable: breathing room. There are two federal court systems in Missouri: the Western District of Missouri and the Eastern District of Missouri. You file bankruptcy in one of those two districts depending on where you live. Additionally, there are two types of bankruptcy that debtors can file. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest option (approximately 3-6 months from beginning to end), whereas Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts between 3-5 years before the court gives you a fresh start. Most debtors hire an attorney to consult and assist them throughout the bankruptcy process.

Frequent Question #1: “How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost in Missouri?”

The Answer: it depends. Each bankruptcy lawyer will agree to a unique price with each client, and several factors go into this final price. I spoke with one lawyer who uses a flat-fee method. He will file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for his clients on the western side of Missouri for $2,000. The same lawyer charges $1,300 for his clients on the eastern side of Missouri. If a client wants to pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this lawyer charges a flat fee of $3,600 for clients in the western half of Missouri and $2,800 for clients in the eastern half. He requires that his clients pay $300 up front to cover certain expenses he will incur on the client’s behalf (doing a credit check, paying for the pre-filing credit counseling, etc.).  The full amount of the bill must be paid prior to the end of bankruptcy.

Another lawyer, located in Jefferson City, Missouri, will file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for as low as $675. However, this is not a flat fee; the price may go up depending on the complexity of the case and how many debts a client will discharge.

Frequent Question #2: “How bad will filing for bankruptcy hurt my credit score in Missouri?”

The Answer: it depends. One lawyer I spoke with told me that his clients usually take a 250 point hit to their credit score. Other research shows debtors who file bankruptcy experience a decline in their credit score between 180-260 points. Bankruptcy affects every debtor differently, but it will most likely result in a debtor having a “poor” credit score (a poor credit score is usually anything below 600 points). The hit to your credit score will appear once you file for bankruptcy. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on someone’s credit score for 10 years, and fling or Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on a credit score for 7 years. Discharged debts that disappear after bankruptcy will still remain on a credit report for 7 years. This is because while a bankruptcy court can wipe away your debts, it will still show up as a debt that was not paid in full.

Frequent Question #3: “How quickly after bankruptcy will my credit score begin to improve in Missouri?”

The Answer: it depends, but it can begin healing almost immediately. Filing for bankruptcy can be viewed as dropping a bomb on your credit score; it will be damaged for a while. But, like a forest fire, sometimes scorched earth can reveal new life underneath. One Missouri bankruptcy lawyer told me that he had a client who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the summer of 2017, she received her discharge (non-secured debts were wiped away forever) at the end of 2017, and a car dealership gave her a new car loan in January of 2018. While this result is specific to that particular debtor, the take away is that your credit will rebuild if you make it a priority.

Additionally, in the world of home loans (mortgages), most banks will begin to loan to someone 24 months after their bankruptcy discharge is issued. While most lenders will not extend credit (a loan) in the immediate months after bankruptcy, a person who works hard to improve their credit (by paying bills on time, for example) will eventually be back on their feet.

Disputing a Fraudulent Transaction on a Credit Card

It is not uncommon to hear that a family member, friend, or a colleague was a victim of credit card fraud. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received more than one million fraud reports.[1]The report separates individuals by age groups.  Individuals between the age of 20-29 account for 40% of fraud reports while individuals between 60-69 account for 20 % of fraud reports. While these percentages account for reported frauds, there are many that go unreported. One possible explanation for higher report rates in the 20-29 age group is the digitalization of banking resources. These resources include notifications of suspicious bank activity and so on. These positive aspects of the digitalization of banking are a step towards consumer empowerment. However, digital trends resonate more heavily with newer generations than that of previous generations.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), a fraudulent transaction that appears on the account can be disputed. What qualifies as a fraudulent transaction?  A transaction is fraudulent if the card holder had no knowledge of the transaction and did not approve the charge. For instance, a transaction that appears on the account that was not authorized by the card holder is fraudulent. The FCBA grants consumers various protections: (1) If the card was lost or stolen and reported before any unauthorized charges were made, the liability is $0; (2) Within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, the liability might be $50; (3) More than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you, the liability might be $500; or, (4) More than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you all the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.[2]

It is important to know that if you are victim of fraud you have rights. It is also important to note that time is critical to limit your liability. Once you discover the fraudulent transaction, contact your bank immediately. While banks and credit card companies might expand a customer’s rights, you are provided basic protection under the FCBA.

For further information about disputing fraudulent credit card transactions, please visit