The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a Request for Information on its handling of consumer complaints and inquiries.
The Bureau, in the April 11 RFI, is seeking comments and information from interested parties to assist the Bureau in assessing its handling of consumer complaints and consumer inquiries and, consistent with law, considering whether changes to its processes would be appropriate.
The CFPB will begin accepting comments once the RFI is printed in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur on approximately April 16th. The RFI will be open for comment for 90 days.
The consumer complaint process seeks to provide consumers with timely responses to their complaints, while the consumer inquiry process aims to provide timely answers to consumers who submit inquiries.
Specific statutorily-permissible suggestions regarding how the Bureau currently allows consumers to submit complaints and inquiries, include:
Should the Bureau require consumers to classify their submission affirmatively as a consumer complaint or inquiry prior to submission?
How should the Bureau explain the difference between a consumer complaint and a consumer inquiry to consumers at the point of submission?
Should the Bureau develop a process for companies to reclassify consumers’ submissions? If so, what criteria should the Bureau establish to help companies differentiate consumer complaints from consumer inquiries?
The Bureau currently accepts consumer inquiries via telephone and mail. Should it add or discontinue any channels for accepting inquiries?
Should the Bureau develop web chat systems to support consumers’ submission of inquiries?
Should the Bureau develop a process for companies to provide timely responses to consumer inquiries sent to them by the Bureau? If so, how should the Bureau balance its objective of providing timely and understandable information to consumers with its objective of reducing unwarranted regulatory burden on companies?
Should the Bureau publish data about consumer inquiries? If so, what types of data or analyses about consumer inquiries should be shared with the public?
Since it began accepting consumer complaints and consumer inquiries in July 2011, the Bureau has received more than 1.5 million consumer complaints. In 2017, the Bureau handled more than 320,000 consumer complaints. In 2017, the Bureau also received more than 200,000 consumer inquiries.