The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has started fielding complaints about nonbank products such as debt settlement, credit repair and pawn and title loans.

Debt settlement services commonly promise to renegotiate, settle or change the terms of a person’s delinquent debt owed to a creditor or collection agency. They promise to reduce outstanding balances, interest rates or fees a person owes. Credit repair services promise to improve consumers' credit reports by contacting credit bureaus on the consumer’s behalf and challenging listed items.

Consumers now can submit debt settlement and credit repair complaints to the CFPB about:

    •    Excessive or unexpected fees
    •    Advertising, disclosures, and marketing practices
    •    Customer service issues
    •    Frauds or scams

The CFPB has taken several enforcement actions against debt settlement firms.

The CFPB began taking complaints about credit cards when it opened in July 2011. The CFPB also handles complaints about debt collection, credit reporting, payday loans, mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, auto and other consumer loans. Companies are asked to respond to complaints within 15 days and describe the steps they are taking to resolve the problems. The CFPB expects companies to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days.  

Pawn stores and title loan companies often provide small loans to consumers using personal property or a vehicle title as collateral. If a consumer defaults or fails to make payments, the lender can take possession of the consumer’s property or car. These loans are frequently short term and may have high interest rates.

Consumers can submit pawn loan and title loan complaints about:

    •    Unexpected charges or interest fees
    •    Loan application issues
    •    Problems with the lender correctly charging and crediting payments
    •    Issues with the lender repossessing, selling, or damaging the consumer’s property or vehicle
    •    Unable to contact lender

The CFPB also is now taking complaints from people experiencing problems with prepaid cards - such as gift cards, benefit cards and general purpose reloadable cards. 

In May, the CFPB released a report highlighting illegal actions the agency has uncovered from overseeing the collections, consumer reporting and payday lending markets. The report covered supervisory activities between November 2013 and February 2014.

The CFPB in April released consumer complaint totals for 2013. The top three categories included: mortgages, debt collection and credit reporting.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.