DFPI Issues Proposed Rules Related to Consumer Complaints

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation is inviting comments on a proposed rule that will address how consumer complaints are handled in relation to the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL).

Under the law, covered persons will be required to develop written policies and procedures detailing how consumers can file complaints to covered persons. Under the CCFPL, covered persons are defined as (1) any person that engages in the offering of, or providing, a consumer financial product service to a California resident; (2) any affiliate of a person described in the subdivision if the affiliate acts as a service provider to the person; or (3) any service provider to the extent that the person engages in the offering or provision of its own consumer financial product or service. A “service provider,” subject to certain exceptions, is defined as any person providing a material service to a “covered person” in connection with the offering or provision by that “covered person” of a consumer financial product or service.

Covered persons will have to create their own complaint form, which will have to be made available on the main page of their websites. Covered persons will also have to maintain a toll-free number through which complaints can be filed orally by speaking with a live representative during business hours.

The draft regulations also set forth instructions for how covered persons will have to investigate and respond to complaints. This includes a process for tracking complaints and communicating with the individual who filed the complaint regarding its status. Covered persons will have 15 days from the date the complaint is received to respond to the individual who filed it.

Covered persons will have to maintain a written record of each complaint for five years from the date it was initially filed.

Reports will also have to be filed quarterly with the DFPI detailing information about the volume and types of complaints that were submitted.

Comments are due before September 17 and may be submitted electronically to regulations@dfpi.ca.gov with a copy to David.Bae@dfpi.ca.gov. Include “PRO 03-21” in the subject line.

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