Complaints About Mortgages, Credit Cards Top Live U.S. Database

Complaints About Mortgages, Credit Cards Top Live U.S. Database The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went live Thursday with its database of financial complaints from Americans, making public information on more than 90,000 individual cases regarding mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts and other products or services.
Complaints are listed in the database only after the company, or financial-product provider, responds to the complaint or after it has had the complaint for 15 days, whichever comes first.
The allegations in the complaint are not verified, but “a commercial relationship between the consumer and the company is substantiated before the complaint is added to the database,” the CFPB said.
The bureau has also released its latest Consumer Response: A Snapshot of Complaints Received.
Created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform of three years ago, the CFPB started accepting complaints from the public in July 2011.
Over a 19-month span, from July 21, 2011 through Feb. 28 of this year, the CFPB received about 131,300 consumer complaints, including  63,700 regarding mortgages; 30,600 on credit cards; 19,800 on bank accounts and services; 4,600 on private student loans; 4,100 on consumer loans; and 6,700 about credit reporting.
“We have helped consumers secure millions of dollars in monetary relief and further satisfaction in the form of non-monetary relief, such as cleaning up their credit reports, which helps them put problems behind them that have been affecting them for months or even years,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “In this way, our consumer response team is making a real difference in the financial marketplace.”
About 48 percent of all complaints were submitted through the CFPB’s website and 9 percent from telephone calls. Referrals from other regulators and agencies accounted for 32 percent of all complaints received. The rest were submitted by mail, email, and fax.
More than 109,200 complaints (83 percent) of complaints received as of February 28, 2013 have been sent to the credit- or service-providing companies for review and response.
The remaining complaints have been referred to other regulatory agencies (11 percent), found to be incomplete (3 percent), or are pending with the consumer or the CFPB (3 percent). Companies have already responded to approximately 104,100 complaints or 95 percent of the complaints sent to them for response.
Once the company responds, the CFPB provides this response to the consumer for review.
Consumers are given the option to dispute responses, indicating a resolution has been provided or that the company has closed the complaint with or without relief. Consumers are asked to notify the CFPB within 30 days if they want to dispute a company’s response. Consumers have disputed about 19,600 company responses (21 percent) to complaints.
Here’s more from the CFPB on the two biggest categories of consumer complaints:
Mortgages
The CFPB has handled more than 63,700 mortgage complaints. The most common type of mortgage complaint concerns problems consumers face when they are unable to make payments, such as issues related to loan modifications, collections, or foreclosures (61 percent).
Consumers who have submitted these complaints generally appear to be driven by a desire to seek agreement with their companies on foreclosure alternatives.
The complaints indicate that consumer confusion persists around the process and requirements for obtaining loan modifications and refinancing, especially document-submission timeframes, payment trial periods, allocation of payments, treatment of income in eligibility calculations, and credit bureau reporting during the evaluation period.
Other common types of mortgage complaints address issues related to making payments, such as loan servicing, payments, or escrow accounts (22 percent). For example, consumers express confusion about whether making timely trial period payments will guarantee placement into a permanent modification. Issues related to applying for the loan, such as the application, the originator, or the mortgage broker, are also among the most common types of mortgage complaints (7 percent).
Credit Cards
The CFPB has handled more than 30,600 credit card complaints. Billing disputes are the most common type of credit card complaint (15 percent).
Some consumers are confused and frustrated by the process and by their limited ability to challenge inaccuracies on their monthly credit card billing statements. For example, some consumers realize only after their claim has been denied that they needed to notify their credit card companies within 60 days of any billing errors.
In other cases, consumers are not aware that companies typically do not stop a merchant charge once the cardholder has authorized it or do not override a merchant ’s “no-return policy.”
Other common types of credit card complaints relate to annual percentage rates or interest rates (10 percent) and identity theft, fraud or embezzlement (8 percent).
About 27,700 (84 percent) credit card complaints have been sent to companies for review and response. The remaining credit card complaints have been referred to other regulatory agencies (10 percent), found to be incomplete (5 percent), or are pending with the consumer or the CFPB (1 percent).
Companies have already responded to about 24,800 complaints or 96 percent of the complaints sent to them for response.

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