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Advocacy Group Analyzes CFPB Complaints, Lists Collection Agencies That Have Received The Most

Rumors that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering closing off public access to its consumer complaint database has led the U.S. PIRG Education Fund to issue a report analyzing the complaints, including the companies in the collection industry that have received the most complaints.

The fact that most complaints are responded to in a timely manner is because the database is public and responses are tracked, the report concludes. “Going forward, we encourage the CFPB to maintain public access to a vibrant, transparent, and complete consumer complaint database that encourages consumers, competitors, academics, other researchers, and the complained-about-companies themselves to study ways to reform the marketplace.”

Ten companies, including one that would be categorized as primarily a collector, account for nearly half of all complaints filed by consumers with the CFPB, according to the report. Credit reporting complaints have skyrocketed in the past two years and are, by far, the most complained about financial product. There were 111,650 complaints about credit reporting in 2018, compared with 51,213 about debt collection companies and 24,571 about mortgages.

With respect to the collection industry, the report concludes that that collection problems “arise from deceptive and predatory tactics, including targeting consumers that do not owe debt,” essentially arguing that collectors are solely to blame for all complaints. “The CFPB should continue its efforts toward drafting a rule on debt collection but only if it ensures that its proposals serve consumers, not debt collectors,” according to the report.

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