It looks like the CFPB is looking to add another layer of complexity to its customer dispute/complaint process. When this change goes through, consumers will have to wade through a two part online process that will ask consumers to give a rating to how a company handles complaints and to even log a wordy description that supports their dispute.
The CFPB is looking to get comments from the public about a recent request that came in as part of the Paperwork Reduction Act. This request would give people the chance to submit feedback on how the companies they are logging disputes against handle complaints internally. The Bureau plan on doing this with the addition of a survey and a free text section which allows consumers to describe their experience prior to the closing of a complaint.
The agency gave notice of this the first week of August. As of now, it is being called the Company Response Survey. It is slated to take the place of the dispute function that is currently in use and allows people to submit positive or negative feedback while they are filing complaints. The feedback will be looked at and any personal information will be removed prior to it getting officially published on the complaint database that the CFPB currently oversees.
This survey will ask consumers to rate how the company handles complaints via a one to five scale, while also including an opportunity for people to describe why they are giving the rating that they are. The CFPB published a Federal Register notice that stated, “Positive feedback about the company’s handling of the consumer’s complaint would be reflected by both high satisfaction scores and by the narrative in support of the score. Negative feedback about the company’s handling of the consumer’s complaint would be better supported and more useful to companies than the current ’dispute’ function.”
The CFPB will share the performance feedback information with the companies that respond to complaints to defend/represent its complaint handling process. Additionally, the CFPB will use this information to provide information to enforcement, supervisory and regulatory work that has a relation to the consumer financial products and services industry. The CFPB said that this survey is building on the foundation of a request that was submitted in 2015, and that it will allow the agency to stay centered on “… ways to highlight consumers’ positive experiences with financial service providers.”
The original CFPB consumer complaint database was launched to the public in 2012. The Bureau officially added complaints about debt collection to the database the following year. In the summer of 2015, they added complaint narratives to the growing database. This feature lets consumers share the experiences that they have had by using their own words. Since the database has been publicly available, debt collection companies have been the entities that seem to respond to the most complaints quickly. The CFPB published data that indicated that debt collection companies responded to about 93 percent of complaints logged in a timely manner.
It is worth noting that mortgage company complaints and complaints about credit card companies have made up a bulk of the consumer disputes received so far. Alternative financial service complaints have been few and far between. This is worth being aware of, being as the CFPB has seemed to focus a lot of its efforts on policing providers of alternative financial services, when it seems to be the traditional financial institutions that have generated the most complaints from consumers since the official launching of this database.