released a proposal to expand its consumer compliant database to include written
consumer narratives/ descriptions of their complaints. Consumer advocacy groups
have been pushing for this narrative-style complaint input since the Bureau’s
inception back in 2011, and it seems the Bureau has now proposed such a system.
This proposed policy statement is now open for 30 days of public comment.
in April, I did a 4-part
blog series that covered the CFPB’s
complaint database system and accompanying
processes. The current complaint database only includes basic complaint
information, such as type of financial product and company name. Today’s
proposal would expand this database by giving consumers the additional option of
submitting a written narrative, which would be published alongside the basic
added features may be:
- Providing context to the complaints- While
the current database captures the basics of a consumer’s complaint, the amount
of context provided is limited. Complaints are grouped into dozens of
high-level categories such as “billing disputes,” “transaction issues,” or
“advertising and marketing.” The Bureau believes that including the consumer’s
narrative would increase the level of useful detail in the complaint database.
- Spotlighting specific trends- With narratives, the Bureau believes it can determine if a specific issue is localized in a particular geographic
area or with a specific company, or if it’s a practice used by companies across
the product market.
the proposal, the Bureau also set forth several safeguards for this information
including a consumer opt-in, removal of personally identifiable information
(PII), and giving companies opportunities to post written responses or
counter-narratives. Consumers can also withdraw their narratives at any time.