What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)?

4 minutes

How Can the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Protect Me?

After the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it became more apparent that predatory conditions on bank loans, mortgages, credit cards, and short-term loans needed to be put in check by a system that was backed by the federal government. Thus in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.gov) was born under the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and given extraordinary power when it came to protecting American citizens and consumers from predatory lending practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the only federal agency that is not overseen by Congress because of the desire to segregate the bureau from private interest. Furthermore, the CFPB’s director is a white house appointee that only can be fired by the president. That said, CFPB is one of the most active managers when it comes to regulating legal mandates on things such as loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also actively punishes banks for non-compliance.

CFPB also acts as a mediator between you as a consumer and virtually all things financial, including your credit score. Filing complaints on CFPB can assist you with debt collection, credit reporting, credit repair services, or other personal consumer reports, mortgages, credit card or prepaid cards, checking or savings accounts, vehicle loan or lease, student loans, payday loans, title loans, personal loans, money transfers, virtual currency, or other money services– in fact CFPB has even helped some people get their tax refund deposited into their bank account after a clerical error on an accountants part.

So in this article, we’re going to explain step by step how to submit a complaint to CFPB.gov so you can empower yourself and get the government fighting for you!

Step 1: What is this complaint about?

As mentioned above there is a myriad of reasons why you would choose to submit a complaint to CFPB.gov.

Upon entering the website you’ll notice on the top right-hand side of the screen an option called “submit a complaint”, that’s easy enough, and that’s where you’ll start the process– but before you do it’s advisable to read this article in full so you get the best outcome possible.

Now that you’ve clicked on “submit a complaint” you’re presented with various options. The first thing to do is simply find the option that is most appropriate for your complaint.

Step 2: What type of problem are you having?

The next step is as simple as the first step but with one caveat that will ensure your complaint is sent to the right people. What you’ll do next is find the general topic that fits your complaint, these options can be hyper-specific or as vague as “fraud or scam”, “unexpected or other fees”, etc etc. Once you’ve found something that best describes your situation you’ll have a question arise saying- have you already tried to fix this problem with the company?

If you click “no” as in, “no, I have not tried to fix this problem with the company”, your complaint will end there and CFPB will direct you to make contact with this business first. But if you were to say “yes” as in “yes I’ve already tried to fix this problem”, then CFPB will cooperate with you, and back you up on the complaint so that when you submit it, the appropriate service will be notified from you as the consumer AND the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as well.

Step 3: What happened (CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT)

This in fact is where most people screw up and end up making the complaint just more difficult than it has to be.

Understand this: CFPB is a mediator, not a lawyer.

Anything you write to them will be directly forwarded to the company you’re complaining against. What most people do wrong, is they use step 3 to write nasty things, and vent their frustration in, but unfortunately, this is not the place to do it in. Even though you very well may have been wronged in major ways, you are to be cordial, firm, and specific.

Briefly compose your thoughts, mention the included dates, the actions that were taken against you, and what you would consider to be a fair resolution; you can even attach images of your credit report showing the damage, documents disproving statements etc.

In cases of credit reports being damaged, it’s advisable to mention that you’d consider a fair resolution as a removal of all derogatory remarks to your account. It’s also advisable that you search for complaint templates online so you can have the most leverage (usually includes legal mandates they may have been violated) in order for you to get a swift response.

Generally speaking, most businesses only have 30 days to respond to you before CFPB will send a fine, and in some cases, no response in 30 days is a violation of the FCRA and leverage enough to remove negative remarks or sue for damages

Lastly, it’s also good to note that there is a section where you can check off that acknowledges that you’re okay with CFPB for possibly sharing the outcome of your complaint. There is no incentive or penalty for either option you choose- CFPB just enjoys sharing their success with consumers. Additionally, it is crucial to note that you are not to provide any personal information on Step 3.

Step 4: What company is this complaint about.

This is a simple step where you simply fill in the name of the business you’re having difficulties with.  It’s very straightforward and self-explanatory but the information they require is company name, company country, company address, city, state, zip, website, phone number, and any other identifying characteristics. This information is good to know in the case you want to personally mail a complaint to CFPB.gov.

Step 5: Who are the people involved?

You have three options for this, just you, you and someone else, or someone else. Be sure to read through this section and apply your/their personal information when requested such as address, city, state, zip, country, age, phone number, email address, and service affiliations.

Upon completing this step your message will be sent through with the backing of a powerful federal government friend.

In the case your page does not load, it still is HIGHLY ADVISABLE to send a letter in the mail to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because of how feared they are by most financial institutions.

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