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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives more complaints about than about any other topic. The complaints are submitted by consumers who reach out to the CFPB for help resolving problems with debt collectors and other problems in the financial marketplace.
In a , U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group found that in the first six months the CFPB’s consumer complaints database was available, problems with debt collectors were the second most frequently reported problem. Since then, complaints about debt collection have far outpaced other problems, with complaints than the next category. Of the more than 1 million complaints in the database in late 2016, 285,000 were about debt collection.
The most common problem consumers have with debt collectors is that the collector is trying to collect on . Other common problems include abusive communication tactics such as frequent calls, calls at work, and threats of illegal action.
In response to these complaints, the CFPB has forwarded 129,000 complaints to companies and referred 109,000 to other agencies. The CFPB’s recent report of debt-collection complaints does not explain how these complaints were resolved, but our 2014 analysis found that the CFPB consumers receive monetary or non-monetary relief.
In addition, in 2016 the CFPB’s enforcement actions against companies that violated debt collection laws resulted in being returned to consumers, plus $20 million in penalties. The CFPB used the penalty money to compensate customers who were owed money, and also to educate consumers.
To learn more about the CFPB’s role in helping consumers dealing with debt collectors, you can read U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s on debt collection or our 2017 report on .
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