RFI addresses consumer complaints and inquiries

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s request for information on its handling of consumer complaints and inquiries is the 12th in a series of RFIs issued as part of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney’s reassessment of bureau practices.

The latest request for information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking feedback on its handling of consumer complaints and inquiries.

The agency wants input from interested parties to assist it “in assessing its handling of consumer complaints and consumer inquiries and, consistent with law, considering whether changes to its processes would be appropriate.” To date, the CFPB has handled 1.5 million complaints, including more than 320,000 in 2017, since it began accepting them.

Submitted comments will be used to help the bureau “consider whether any changes to existing practices would be appropriate” given its statutory objective to “provide consumers with timely and understandable information about consumer financial products and services to make responsible decisions,” balancing that with its statutory obligations to establish reasonable procedures to provide timely responses to consumers and to centralize the collection of consumer complaints regarding consumer financial products or services.

The bureau sought specific feedback on whether it ought to distinguish consumer complaints from consumer inquiries in the submission process, and whether it ought to create a process for companies to reclassify consumer submissions from complaint to inquiry and vice versa.

The CFPB also asked about channels for consumer complaint submissions, authorized third parties, and whether it should publish data about consumer inquiries. The bureau has previously published consumer complaint highlight reports, although they have gone dormant in recent months.

This is the 12th in a series of RFIs announced as part of acting director Mick Mulvaney’s call for evidence to ensure the bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions. One of those previous RFIs sought feedback on the CFPB’s public reporting practices of consumer complaint information, some responses to which will be considered as part of the consumer complaints and inquiries RFI, the bureau said.

The RFI was published in the Federal Register on April 17, and comments are due by July 16.

Fredrikson & Byron Law