Monthly snapshot highlights elder complaints

Reverse mortgages, financial scams and deferred interest credit cards topped the list of complaints by senior citizens, according to the latest monthly snapshot from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Reverse mortgages, financial scams and deferred interest credit cards topped the list of complaints by senior citizens, according to the latest monthly snapshot from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Older consumers frequently report servicing problems with reverse mortgages, difficulties recovering money after financial scams, confusion around deferred interest credit cards, and charges for unauthorized add-on products.

The snapshot provides an overview and analysis of more than 103,100 complaints submitted to the bureau by consumers voluntarily reporting their age as 62 or older. About 2,200 were handled by the CFPB in March 2017 alone.

For that month, debt collection was the financial product or service most complained about by senior consumers, accounting for 496 complaints. Mortgages and credit reporting came next, with 486 and 326 complaints, respectively.

Complaints related to mortgages have accounted for 26 percent of all older consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau since 2011. This is 10 percentage points higher than the proportion of mortgage complaints from consumers under 62.

California, Florida, and Texas are the three states with the most complaints from older consumers, accounting for nearly one fourth of all complaints from older consumers.

Of the 1,163,200 complaints the bureau has handled since it began accepting complaints, 54 percent of consumers have voluntarily reported their age. Of those, over 103,000 have come from consumers who report that they are 62 years old or older.

With more than 10,000 Americans turning 62 every day, older consumers are one of the fastest growing consumer groups in the marketplace.

“Older consumers who may be on a fixed income are at a greater risk for financial trouble if they encounter problems with financial products or services,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The complaints submitted by older consumers are important for the Bureau to ensure we are properly looking out for this segment of the population.”