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Got a credit card complaint? Let us know if you log it with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Connie Prater

It’s Day 1 for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the new federal agency charged with watching out for consumers when it comes to credit cards and other financial products.

Starting today, consumer complaints about credit cards will be collected by a single government agency — rather than the hodgepodge of regulators that existed before.

New website debuts
So, if you have a beef with a credit card, you may now register it with the CFPB on its “File a credit card complaint” page.

Before today, consumers who wanted to file a complaint about a credit card issuer had to contact one of five different regulators, depending on the regulator that oversees the lender that issues the card. Consumers and consumer groups often complained about that complaint system, however, saying they often didn’t know which regulator to contact.

Consumers and lawmakers have complained that these regulators — the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the National Credit Union Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and various state banking regulators — too often gave low or no priority to consumer protection issues.

Now, the CFPB will handle consumer complaints, but only about credit cards for now. The complaint system won’t be up and running for all types of financial products for several more months, as the agency continues to hire staff. Also, because CFPB doesn’t have an official director yet (see Obama appoints nominee; but Senate must confirm director first), the agency won’t be able to address every type of complaint right away.

If you have concerns or complaints about other types of financial products, such as debt collectors, student loans or mortgages, the agency directs you to different federal agencies for help.

Card issuers have a chance to resolve problems first
For credit card complaints, as the site notes: “We’ll forward your issue to your credit card company, give you a tracking number, and keep you updated on the status of your complaint.”

That means that card issuers will have a chance to resolve your problem first. The fact that a federal regulator will be tracking the status of the complaint should increase the likelihood that consumer complaints will be addressed — at least in theory. Whether they are addressed to the consumer’s satisfaction is another issue.

The new website asks consumers to describe their credit card problem and what happened. They are asked to choose a category that best describes their complaint. Here are the choices:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Application process delay
  • APR or interest rate
  • Arbitration
  • Balance transfer
  • Balance transfer fee
  • Bankruptcy
  • Billing disputes
  • Billing statement
  • Cash advance
  • Cash advance fee
  • Closing or canceling an account
  • Collection debt dispute
  • Collection practices
  • Convenience checks
  • Credit determination
  • Credit card payment/debt protection
  • Credit line increase or decrease
  • Credit reporting
  • Customer service or customer relations
  • Delinquent account
  • Forbearance or workout plans
  • Identity theft, fraud or embezzlement
  • Late fees
  • Over-limit fees
  • Other fees
  • Payoff process
  • Privacy
  • Rewards
  • Sale of account
  • Transaction issue
  • Unsolicited issuance of credit cards
  • Other

Consumers are asked how much money they may have lost and whether they have tried to contact the credit card issuer, the CFPB or another government agency about their problem, or if they have hired an attorney or filed any legal action.

The site requires you to create a log in and allows you to go back later to check your complaint status. I looked for but could not find a toll-free telephone number or any phone number that would allow you to call the agency. When I asked, the agency said the number is (855) 411-CFPB (2372). The number will be added to the website later today.

cfpb-blog-lg.jpg

There is an opportunity for a live chat with a real person if you have problems with the site. I tried the live chat this morning and it worked. There was no waiting. I was the only one in the queue and the pleasant “Consumer Response #412231” came online within seconds to chat. I can’t say that will be the case as the site becomes more well known and the volume of complaints picks up. (Click the image to enlarge.)

The complaint form asks consumers what they think “would be a fair resolution” to their problem. I smiled when I read that. They may get an earful from some consumers with that query! But you’re limited to 255 characters in your answer.

It’s important to note that credit card complaints have actually gone down in the last year. According to the annual report on consumer complaints published by the Federal Trade Commission, credit card complaints dropped by 26 percent in 2010. Consumer groups attribute the decline to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which banned surprise interest rate hikes and limited fees.

How are they doing?
The new agency has been upfront and transparent about its operations and is welcoming consumer and banking industry input on a variety of topics and issues.

Help us kick the tires on this new complaint system. If you have filed a complaint, let us know how it went. Was the form easy to understand? Did you experience any technical difficulties on the website?

Are you confidant that your issue will be addressed promptly? It may take a while for you to get a response. And please, come back later and let us know if you were satisfied with the resolution of your complaint.

Our readers can benefit from your feedback.

See also: New financial protection watchdog accepts credit card complaints, New agency arrives with broad powers to police financial products, Obama nominates director for consumer financial watchdog, FTC: Credit card complaints take nosedive in 2010

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The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Kenneth and Kimberly Quandt

    We have a GM-Card. We paid off our last balance in July and the statement shows that the payment was made. However, the next transaction debits our account with the balance paid and says, “payment reversal.” Upon contacting the company, they had no idea why the payment was reversed. They told me to have my bank fax a letter indicating that the payment was made. I pay my bills electronically through my bank. The bank faxed that letter and still no changes were made to my account. I have left 3 e-mails requesting assistance and have not heard back with a resolution. Soon the balance will be past due and I don’t want finance charges or late fees for a payment I made. The money is not in my bank account. It has never been put back in. GM’s rep. told me that it wasn’t for insuffient funds in my bank account. I don’t know what else to do b/c they are not changing the account balance.

  • This sounds like a legitimate concern. You contacted the card issuer and haven’t gotten a resolution. Have you filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? You may get more immediate attention to the problem by doing so.
    Here is the link: https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/ask_cc_complaint#active_tab=vcomplaint
    Let us know how that process goes.

  • Jeff

    I asked a Bank of America rep who to complain to yesterday and he listed everyone except the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
    This the first I heard of it.
    Thanks
    Jeff

  • Jeff, The agency was part of the huge Wall Street Reform law that passed in 2010. It officially opened for business on July 21 and is very new and not fully staffed yet. Please let us know what your experience is with this new agency.
    What was the problem that you had with BofA? And were they not able to resolve it?

  • els

    I asked my credit card company who to complain to and they actually said they had no idea. my company keeps lowering my limit to within a few dollars of my balance even though I am paying more than the minimum each month (on time). So far twice in the last year. I have just filed a complaint with the CFPB. Well see how it goes.

  • Els, What credit card issuer was it? Sounds like the person you talked to was in the dark. As of July 21, large banks and credit unions with more than $10 billion in assets now under the CFPB for consumer protection.
    What you describe is an industry practice known as “balance chasing.” This article from Jeremy Simon may be helpful in explaining it: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/simon-credit-card-balance-chase-fico-1508.php
    As the column points out, there is currently no law to prevent card issuers from reducing credit limits. Lowering your limit impacts your credit utilization ratio, which helps determine your credit score.
    However, it is a good idea to file a complaint with the CFPB, which will track complaints of this kind and, perhaps, at some future point, consider whether it is an unfair or abusive practice.
    Let us know what kind of response you get back from the CFPB.

  • Steve Miller

    Merrick Bank of Draper Utah raised my credit card interest and added an annual fee after the account was closed in clear violation of the 2009 Credit Card Act. They have been notified of this error and have basically responded with “too Bad” the fees are the fees and the interest rate is the interest rate. I have filed complaints with the FTC and the FDIC and apparently they have no interest in enforcing the law either. I have now filed a complaint with the new CFCB agency and after a nearly a month it is still in the “received” stage. I have now filed a civil suit in small claims court to get my money back as well as damages as it appears that the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the law do not intend to do so making the law useless.

  • Jim

    Until we have a federal law in place that bans usury and defines it to include credit cards charging 29.99% APRs, complaints are useless. The banks might follow “the rules” but those rules are stacked against their customers.

  • Chris

    My company paid $2389.07 to my HSBC account in August 2011, they still have not applied it to my account even though I have faxed over the front and back of the check printed directly from my company’s bank website and have also overnighted them a copy with a letter explaining the situation. I have just filed a complaint, this is ridiculous and my time is precious I don’t have time to do this over and over and not get any resolution!

  • Sam

    I applied for a Chase Amazon.com credit card. I did so because it offers a pretty good cash back/point program. I have excellent credit (FICO 800+) and this new card advertised three APRs. Despite my excellent credit, Chase defaulted to the worst APR they offer for this card, even though I clearly should have qualified for a better rate. They used the bait and switch tactic. Chase says I do not qualify for a better rate, even though I have another card with them which offers a rate in the 9% range. The major difference is the other card does not have a good cash back program.
    I always pay my balance off, so I never pay any interest. What angers me is I am not told what my credit score was when it was ran for this new card application and I am not told what score I need in order to get various APRs. I believe I should have received a better rate but was not offered it. The deck is stacked against the consumer, we’re at the mercy of the bank and they are not in the business of doing what’s best for the consumer. I filed a CFPB complain on the low advertised APR but not being offered the best or better APR rate.

  • Al M

    I have been killing myself to make on-time payments over the minimum due for a year now, but Chase cardservices refuses to lower my APR from 29.99%. I wrote them a certified letter to complain and warned that I would file a complaint with CFPB if they did not respond favorably. Since all I got in return from them is an opaque form letter, I filed a complaint with CFPB today online. I have absolutely no doubt that nothing will come of it, but it makes me feel better to at least try something.

  • AI, You didn’t state why the rate was at 29.9 percent or if it was the result of a missed payment or multiple late payments in the past.
    We have written about how consumers can “cure” their interest rates: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-rules-penalty-rate-cure-1282.php
    Also, you may want to consider transferring the balance to a new card with a lower interest rate (if you qualify for that).
    Check back with us and let us know how the CFPB responds.

  • PEGGY FULGHUM

    I just got a letter in the mail today from BANK OF AMERICA saying they are going to charge me for a balance on my account even though it’s been closed since lord knows when is this right? i mean I can see if the account is active but this is a closed account $59 is allot to some people and I’m trying to pay them down as fast as I can but i guess to them it does not matter if your an active customer or not they want their yearly fee no matter what I guess people are closing their account left and right and this is why they decided to start charging every account closed or not this fee this does not sound at all even right. We consumers need help I really wish the government would step up and do something.

  • Ann

    Sent this info to CFPB: My experience was with Chase Credit card, but heard from someone who had the same issue with AE. So think this may be industry wide.
    People should be aware that is you get an extra card(“authorized card user”) on your account for an individual that the credit card info/liability shows up on the “authorized card user’s” credit report. Although, they have no liability for the account and their SS# was never given to the Credit Card company when the extra card was issued.
    Here’s the scenario: Years ago when my daughter was in college I got an extra card from my account with her name on it. I only gave them her name and address to mail the card. Fast forward 8 years later, and she goes to get a mortgage. She discovers on her credit report my credit card information. She never had any liability for the card or made any payments, etc. She was only an “authorized credit card user,” meaning she had a card from my account in her name.
    In addition, 5 months ago when I got a new number and account, I requested she be removed as an “authorized user.” They removed her from my account, but did not report the removal to the credit reporting agencies. Now Chase is saying, she has to send in a dispute over the report. Also, I cannot dispute the report because it’s her SS #. BUT, I have to give her my CC number for her to access the information from the company. Completely crazy.
    In the first place, as an “authorized card user” who has no liability for the account my account information should not be showing up on her report. Additionally, how did they add this information to her report when I did not give them her Social Security number? Chase Credit card said they don’t know how this info got reported to the credit reports. Bah, they did it. And they won’t fix it on their own even though at least 5 mos ago she was removed. Now it’s a “dispute.” Chase customer service was not very nice either when I tried to explain how illogical their thinking was.
    Credit card companies should not be allowed to issue a report on someone’s credit report for just having a card in their name. If they are going to do this, there should be full disclosure that this is happening. When the person is removed as an “authorized user,” this should be reported in a timely manner to credit report agencies. Chase says that “authorized card user” has no liability, then why are they reporting it as such on the “authorized card user’s report?

  • Hi Ann,
    Thanks for submitting a comment. We get many questions about authorized users on credit card accounts. Adding authorized users is popular with young people who have no credit histories and want to be added to their parents’ accounts. They will benefit from the positive payment history on the card. We have written several articles about this, including how to be removed as an authorized user, especially if your parent’s credit history becomes negative.
    Here are some links:
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/tanisha-warner-remove-authorized_user-from-credit_card-account-1581.php
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/jeremy-simon-bank-america-equifax-remove-authorized-user-1508.php
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/ossenfort-authorized-user-affect-credit-rating-1292.php
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/jeremy-simon-credit-score-social-security-number-1508.php
    You didn’t indicate whether the information about your Chase account that appears on your daughter’s credit report is positive or negative. If it’s positive, it should not hurt her chances of getting a mortgage. If it’s negative, I can see why she would want it removed as soon as possible.
    On another note: I can only assume from what you’ve written that your daughter never checked her credit report in the eight-year time period before she applied for a mortgage. Federal law allows you to have a FREE credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). I would encourage everyone to regularly check their credit reports — not just when they are applying for a loan — to ensure that they are accurate. You may also catch ID theft if an unauthorized person has taken out credit in your name.
    As for how the credit card company knew to report the payment history to your daughter’s credit report without having her Social Security number, I’m not certain how that could happen. I can only guess that they cross-checked a database and found her name living at your mailing address. If she applied for credit on her own using your mailing address or public records (such as driver’s licenses) placed her at the same mailing address that you reside, it could have been linked that way.
    Now that you’ve filed a complaint with the CFPB regarding the issue, you will likely see some response from Chase and/or the credit reporting agencies.
    Keep us posted on how it goes.

  • j holloman

    I had a credit card account with Macys. In 2009 Macy sent me a letter stating they had confused me with someone else by the same name. They were sorry for the confusion, and stated they would contact the credit reporting agencies, and would make sure no negative information was on my file. After 2 yrs i contacted CFPB, and the agency did nothing, i thought identity theft was a crime

  • Casey

    CFPB won’t help with credit cards via Credit Unions
    NCUA won’t help with credit cards via Credit Unions that are state chartered
    State Atty General won’t help with Credit Unions
    State’s Dept of Financial Institutions won’t help with Credit Union’s “internal processes”
    Credit Union won’t help because it is potentially on the hook for fraudulent activity on Debit Card

  • Susan

    I just filed a complaint. I had a Choice Privileges Visa card through BarclayCard. It had a low limit of $250 as I am trying to rebuild my credit so I use it sparingly and of course pay the balance in full when there is one. For the SECOND TIME this year, my automatic payment that I had set up was NOT made and my account showed past due with late fees! The first time it happened, they said I hadn’t set the payment up in time even though I am quite sure it had been set up MONTHS earlier but I had no way to prove it (I don’t use the card every month either so there may be gaps of 2 or 3 months with nothing due). So they dropped the late fee and assured me that no negative report was made to the credit bureaus. This was for a Feb. 2013 payment … and I made darn sure that all my payment information was correct and that the auto payment was set to ON. Well, I had a balance due of $42 on April 12, 2013, and lo and behold, they didn’t process it again!!! I was furious! I spent about 45 minutes on the phone and they spent all sorts of time trying to figure out what happened and kept telling me that my account was not set up for recurring payments … all while I was looking at my online account with the message saying “this account is set for recurring payments … etc”. So I had them process a one time payment from my checking account for the original balance due LESS the late fees they were charging me and I had them close my account. I then submitted a complaint CFPB along with screenshots of my online account showing the balance as being past due and the payment tab showing that my account is set up for recurring payments. The first time it happened I figured it was some weird glitch but the second time … NO EXCUSES! If somehow the recurring payments got switched off I’d understand it, but if my online account shows that they’re turned on, how in the world would I know it? Who knows where the problem lies but they had better figure it out. We utilize automatic payments just so that we’re NOT late and instead, we place our faith in the system working and when it doesn’t, we’re the ones who get burned!

  • Bridget

    I had an issue where someone (not me) set up an automatic payment using my bank account information to GE Money Bank’s Visa account. Even though I proved that their Visa account holder was NOT the account they were drafting payment from, they refused to help me. I was told “it isn’t their policy and they do not have the manpower” to remove inaccurate payment information. It is amazing that they take no ownership for fraudulent payments only fraudulent charges! There should be a balance and an option for consumers to dispute payments when they notice it.

  • Mary

    I made a $400 payment to Capital one that came through my acct on August 26th, 2013.
    They did not post it to my acct. It wasn’t until I found that I received a late charge that I looked into it and found the error. I contacted Capital One and they would only reply with: “We do not show that we received a payment.” I talked with multiple people concerning this, including the payment dispute department. They asked me to send proof, so I mailed a copy of the history of my bank statement and ACH Batch Details from my bank. I sent it return receipt and they signed for it Oct 22. On Nov 22 I again went to contact them and found a response in my credit card file that said they did not receive the papers they needed, that I should resend them. I have sense been reported to the credit bureau for going over my limit (by $8.) I have not charged anything to the acct and have been paying the minimum until this is resolved.. evidently the interest rate is more than my minimum payment.
    I just filed a complaint with CFPB. Hope it helps!!

  • S

    Citicards…My interest rate went up outrageously. I thought it is about 68% increase. My payment this month is approximately $135, and approximately $93 is interest and approximately $42 is going on the card to pay I down. That is very hard on me…I am trying, I just obtained a 2nd job and trying to get a 3rd job. Please advise if you can help me out with this in any way by contacting citicards.com.
    According to the bank it is about a 57.98% increase…Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for purchases on this account is currently at 28.99%. This variable APR is based on the prime rate (currently 3.25%) plus 25.74%. Do you know exactly what this means?
    Thank you for your assistance.

  • Carter

    I had a Banana Republic card through what is now Synchrony Bank. Apparently, there is a dark period between the payment due date and when the next statement dropped. So, if I missed my payment but paid on the next day, or a few days later, the payment wouldn’t credit for either billing cycle. Not knowing this, I assumed my payment was applied to the next cycle and didn’t make another payment. So, another late fee. I was told that the don’t credit early payments and recommended that I calculate 23 days before my due date and make a payment during that time period. Ridiculous.

  • venus

    I have a legitimate dispute with NetSpend prepaid MasterCard (Servicer for a PayPal Prepaid MasterCard). NetSpend has investigated the dispute and determined that my dispute is valid, but said that they will not process the credit until 12/10/2014, more than THREE months after the original fraudulent charge! I have attempted to request speaking to a manager, but they keep refusing to let me speak to anyone higher up.

  • Mahesh Bhatt

    ICICI Bank has stoped hard copy of credit card bills & forcing us to pay on ebills.
    We would not like this to happen & we shall not be liable for payment delays

  • Jesse Tutterrow

    I just filed a complaint against Capital One for automatically terminating my old credit card when they choose to issue me a new one with “the chip”.
    The problem is that I have various businesses (AT&T, utilities, Gym, etc.) that automatically charge their monthly bill to my credit card. It takes me time to go back through previous statements to determine which business(s) are charging against this credit card, log into their system and update the credit card information with the new expiration date and security code, and then the business takes some time to update the information through their computer systems. Since this is a simple replacement card and there is NO FRAUD and NO LOST / STOLEN card issues involved I feel that Capital One and the credit card industry should implement a policy of allowing automatic payment charges against the old card information for a month. This gives me time to update the businesses and time for the business to update their system.
    I don’t really believe that the CFPB will do any more than the BBB does. It is all just a placebo to satisfy the public!