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CFPB's Credit Card Complaint System Struggling

Consumer financial protection bureau

The CFPB is off to a rough start.  Still without a Director and lacking the day-to-day guidance of its mastermind Elizabeth Warren, I can't say this comes as a huge surprise.

The bureau did manage to get its much-anticipated credit card complaint system up and running by the time doors officially opened for business in late July.  Unfortunately, it wasn't running well.  Complaints logged by consumers weren't even getting forwarded to credit card companies for investigation due to technical glitches in the CFPB's system. Oops!

Jennifer Howard, CFPB spokeswoman, has responded that "a number of these issues have already been resolved, and we expect that remaining technological issues will be resolved in the very near future."  That's good to hear, but what concerns me is the fact that the CFPB won't release any information regarding how big of a problem this has actually been.

Are we talking about just losing several hundred complaints or several thousand?  Maybe more?  Regardless, this mishap can't instill much confidence in the consumers out there who are looking for help with their credit cards.

The fact is data relating to the number of credit card complaints the CFPB has received since July and how many of these may have fallen through the cracks will not be released to the public according to Mrs. Howard.  I have to wonder if Ms. Warren would've agreed with this approach to the situation.  After all, she's testified many times that the CFPB would be a transparent agency built upon openness and trust between the bureau and the American public.  This move doesn't sound very transparent and open to me at all!

While I haven't seen any reports of the following, I would hope that the CFPB is at the very least emailing individuals who logged complaints to let them know if their entries were potentially lost in cyberspace.  The bureau has to have that information on hand.  So if you receive any type of email like this from the CFPB, we would love to hear from you.

What can we learn from all of this?  It's fairly simple.  The CFPB is extremely green and will most likely continue to experience these types of hiccups as it establishes itself and launches new services.  They've got some big names and big money backing up Ms. Warren's vision for the bureau, but the fact is, like any government agency, it will be quite awhile before we can expect anything to run smoothly.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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