WASHINGTON The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday that it is accepting consumer complaints on prepaid cards and other nonbank products such as credit repair services and pawnshop loans.
The significant expansion of its complaint portal comes as the agency is expected to propose regulations on prepaid cards and after it received pushback from the industry last week for proposing to publicize more details of complaints. The CFPB said it would take complaints on prepaid cards including gift cards, reloadable cards and benefit cards. It will also now accept complaints on credit repair and debt settlement services as well as pawnshop and title loans.
"Today we are taking another important step to expand the bureau's handling of consumer complaints," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a press release. "By accepting consumer complaints about prepaid products and certain other services we will be giving people a greater voice in these markets and a place to turn to when they encounter problems."
Last week, the CFPB came under criticism by the banking industry after it proposed to publish more information about individual complaints online so long as the consumer approved it. The industry argues that the complaints are largely unverified, while the CFPB says that making consumer "narratives" public would better equip them to detect trends in the market and at the same time improve customer service.
The CFPB is also expected to release proposed rules on prepaid cards in the coming months. The bureau said Monday that it wants to hear complaints about managing, opening or closing prepaid card accounts as well as issues with overdraft or other fees, unauthorized transactions, fraud, marketing practices and reward features. It was seeking very similar information on the other nonbank products and services like debt settlement, pawnshop loans and title loans.
The CFPB's database already includes complaints on bank accounts, mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, debt collection and payday loans. The complaints play a key role in helping direct the agency in supervision, enforcement and rulemaking.
Companies that receive a complaint have 15 days to issue a first response and are expected to close most complaints within 60 days.