This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report drawing on data from its consumer complaint database. The report, according to the bureau, “provides a high-level overview of trends in consumer complaints” and breaks down that data by state (including the District of Columbia).
Unsurprisingly, the three states with the highest volume of consumer complaints are among the states with the highest overall population. At the head of the list is California with 138,535 complaints, followed by Florida with 100,727 and Texas with 92,530. California accounted for almost 13 percent of all national complaints. Those three states are also the most populous in the country according to U.S. Census data (though Texas ranks second in population and Florida third). Similarly, the three states with the fewest complaints are among the least populated. Wyoming had the fewest complaints at 978 and is the smallest state by population, North Dakota had the second least complaints at 1,197 and is the fifth smallest state, and Alaska had the third fewest complaints and is the third smallest state.
However, there were some surprises. The District of Columbia has a smaller population than Alaska yet reported almost five times the number of complaints (5,677). That made D.C. the per capita leader in consumer complaints with 358 per 100,000 citizens. Georgia and Delaware came next with 270 and 228 complaints per 100,000 citizens respectively. Though Delaware is a state with a small population, Georgia is the eighth most populous state in the country.
According to the report, there was a 9 percent increase in monthly complaints from 2017 to 2018 nationwide. Another change reported is that in 2016 consumer complaints focused on debt collection more than any other financial product or service, but credit and consumer reporting issues were the most prevalent area drawing complaints in 2017, particularly when consumers were complaining that their credit reports contained inaccurate information. Nationally, citizens of D.C, Delaware, Texas and California complained most often about debt collection issues, while people living in Georgia and Florida complained most often about credit and consumer reporting. The main complaint in the states with the fewest reports was also regarding credit reporting.
The report covers complaints submitted from Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018. The CFPB reported that 94 percent to 99 percent of all complaints in every state received a timely company response, with Vermont receiving the highest percentage of timely responses at 99 percent, and Wyoming receiving the lowest at 94 percent.