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Have a complaint about your credit card? Get in line. There are at least 5,074 people in front of you.
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, released information about the types of complaints they've been getting from frustrated credit card holders.
That's right, the credit card complaints that have been going to the CFPB haven't been disappearing down a black hole.
Critics or watchdogs of the CFPB may have wondered because from the moment the government agency--designed to monitor consumer finance products--opened their consumer credit card hotline to the public, inviting them to call in with any complaints about their credit cards, there hasn't been much word on what type of complaints they were receiving.
But as their newly released report reveals, from July 21, the day the agency opened, to Oct. 21, they received 5,074 gripes, annoyances, beefs and so on from consumers (a relatively small number so far, given that there are more than 383 million open credit card accounts, according to the American Bankers Association). The CFPB says they've forwarded 4,254 of those complaints to the credit card issuers, and of those, 74 percent of the problems have been at least partially resolved. In 71 percent of those cases, the consumer reportedly agreed or was satisfied with the results.
"Many complaints show consumers struggling to understand the terms of credit cards and associated products like debt protection services," the CFPB report said. "These complaints show a mismatch between consumer expectations and the way the product functions."
Top 5 consumer credit card beefs
OK, so what were the main gripes?
- Billing disputes (681 cases)
- High interest rates (561)
- Identity theft, fraud and embezzlement (546)
- Unsolicited issuance of a credit card (454)
- Problems in closing or cancelling an account (242)
Following those were complaints about advertising, billing statements (maybe it was the font size), collection practices, credit reporting and fees.
Mortgage hotline now open
Up to now, it's just been credit cards, but eventually, the CFPB will accept complaints about all financial products, from auto loans to checking accounts. In fact, on Dec. 1, the consumer bureau opened their hotline to consumer complaints regarding home mortgages and home equity loans.
No word yet on what type of complaints the mortgage unit has been getting, but it's early yet, and I have to agree with Eileen Ambrose of the Baltimore Sun, who quipped in an article about the CFPB mortgage hotline, "Bet it gets more than 5,074 responses."