In the past, the federal watchdog agency in charge of protecting consumers’ finances and credit has taken responsibility for handling complaints about a number of different types of loans, but has once again expanded its purview.
In addition to all the other types of issues over which it accepts complaints, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will now do the same for Americans’ credit reports, according to a report from the agency. It says the reason for doing this is not only that this document can play a vital role in determining a potential borrower’s eligibility and costs for any line of credit they may wish to seek, but also because employers, insurance companies, landlords, cellphone service providers and even utilities use them to determine consumers’ credit standing.
In addition to now accepting consumer complaints over their credit reports, the agency will also take those for credit cards, mortgages, bank accounts and other services, private student loans, auto loans and other types of consumer financing, the report said. Specifically, when it comes to credit reports, the agency is equipped to deal with complaints about incorrect information listed on consumers’ files, those stemming from a credit monitoring bureau’s investigation into those issues, improper use of credit reports, an inability to obtain that document or a credit score and hiccups related to credit monitoring and identity protection services.
However, the agency also cautions that before lodging a formal complaint with it, consumers should first do all in their power to get their issues resolved by the company that issued the document with which they are now having trouble, the report said. This should include filing a dispute with that company and then waiting for it to be resolved, one way or another. When that’s done, if the borrower is still dissatisfied with the result, they can then contact the CFPB.
“Every complaint we receive helps us understand the challenges facing consumers, and they inform and shape our priorities,” wrote Scott Pluta, assistant director for the Office of Consumer Response at the CFPB. “Reading your complaints about credit reporting will complement work we have already started in this area, including a conducting a study comparing credit scores sold to creditors and those sold to consumers and beginning to supervise consumer reporting agencies.”
The CFPB has significantly expanded operations under director Richard Cordray, who only took office in January.