Tag Archive | "consumer complaints"

Consumer Complaints Hit 677,000, CFPB Reports


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report Tuesday highlighting trends in consumer complaints through August 1, with credit reporting complaints seeing the sharpest increase compared to both the prior month and prior year.

The bureau has handled approximately 105,000 credit reporting complaints since it began accepting them in October 2012. Those complaints jumped 56% between June 2015 (4,289 complaints) and July 2015 (6,969 complaints). In analyzing the period of May through July 2015, complaints increased by 45% compared to the prior year.

Of those complaints,77% involved incorrect information on reports. Consumers frequently complained of debts already paid or debts not yet due showing up on their report, negatively affecting their credit scores. The CFPB said that consumers also had trouble accessing their reports as a result of rigorous online identity authentication questions.

The three companies that received the highest volumes of credit reporting complaints were Equifax, Experian and Transunion, which accounted for 97% of credit reporting complaints.

Overall, the bureau has handled 677,200 complaints nationally. In July, the most complained about financial product or service was debt collection, representing about 31% of complaints submitted. The second most-complained-about consumer product was credit reporting, accounting for approximately 6,696 complaints. The third most-complained-about financial product or service was mortgages, accounting for approximately 4,498 complaints. The CFPB did not list auto loans amount the 11 credit products that triggered complaints.

The bureau reported that in a year-to-year comparison, consumer loan complaints, which include pawn loans, title loans, and installment loans, showed the greatest percentage increase (61%) from the same time last year. They went from approximately 718 complaints to 1,154 complaints on average per month over a three-month time period. Bank account or services complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease over the same time period, going from a monthly average of 1,976 complaints in 2014 to 1,895 complaints in 2015 — a 4% decrease.

Hawaii, Maine, Georgia, and North Carolina experienced the greatest complaint volume increases from the same time last year, with Hawaii up 37%, Maine up 36%, and both Georgia and North Carolina up by 33%. South Dakota, New Mexico, and Alaska experienced the greatest complaint volume decrease from the same time last year, with South Dakota down 31%, New Mexico down 16%, and Arkansas down 11%.

“Whether a consumer is trying to get a mortgage, apply for a student loan, or buy a car, credit reports are fundamentally important in allowing people to access their financial goals,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a press release. “As we see a rise in the number of consumers complaining about this issue, the Bureau will continue to work to ensure that credit reports are fair, accurate, and readily available to all consumers.”

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W. Va. Attorney General Files Suit Against Used-Car Dealer


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Earlier this month, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that his office filed suit in Cabell County Circuit Court against Downtown Used Auto Sales, alleging numerous violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and other applicable consumer protection laws and regulations.

The Office of the Attorney General first opened an investigation into Downtown Used Auto Sales in September 2012 after receiving numerous complaints from consumers. At the time the suit was filed, the office had received 22 formal complaints alleging a wide range of violations of the state’s consumer protection laws in the sale and financing of used motor vehicles.

The allegations included that owner Thomas J. Matthews sold unsafe vehicles, refused to repair significant mechanical defects, added unlawful finance charges, repossessed vehicles without the required legal notices and illegally disposed of consumers’ personal property. The office issued an investigative subpoena to the car dealer on April 25, 2013, which asked for documents and information about his sales and financing practices.

The filing summarizes 18 consumer complaints that illustrate the serious issues that consumers encountered with Downtown Used Auto Sales, including the sale of vehicles with mechanical defects, vehicles that could not pass inspection, illegal finance charges and fees, and repossessions without the required notices.

“In one of the examples included within the allegations, a consumer had her vehicle — which was not even able to pass inspection — repossessed without notice as required by law,” Morrisey said. “When she called them to ask about retrieving her personal belongings in the car — including her college textbooks, her bible, and an infant’s car seat — she was told the vehicle had been ‘cleaned out’ already, and all of her possessions were discarded.”

The suit asks the court to enter an order prohibiting Matthews from violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, and also asks the court to award civil penalties to the state and restitution to all consumers who have been aggrieved by the dealership’s practices.

“Many used car dealers provide a valuable service by offering affordable, reliable vehicles to consumers who may not be able to obtain credit from mainstream lenders,” Morrisey said. “However, being willing to extend credit under those circumstances doesn’t excuse a dealer from its basic obligations under our state’s consumer protection laws.”

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