The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Tuesday (March 29) that it has released its newest monthly consumer complaint snapshot, which, as per usual, spotlights complaints tied to debt collection. And perhaps to the surprise of no one, the highest-ranking agitator of consumer nerves were the attempts by debt collectors to collect on what consumers themselves said was not owed.
As of the beginning of the month, the CFPB said it had handled 834,400 complaints across all products that it covers.
In a statement that accompanied the release of the latest results, CFPB Director Richard Cordray stated: “Today’s report shows that inaccurate information about debts continues to be a source of frustration for many consumers. We will continue to hold debt collectors accountable for ensuring that they are collecting the right amount from the right person.”
Drilling down a bit into the details, the bureau stated that debt collection tops the list of most often complained about products by consumers, with more than 219,000 complaints as of March. Debts not owed accounted for 38 percent of all debt complaints. Then, there was the frequency of calls — weekly, daily and even at places of employment.
Consumers, at times, were also unable to verify the debts that they were alleged to have owed.
Two companies were specifically noted by the CFPB as having the most instances of complaints: Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates. These are large debt buyers with more than 100 complaints each, on a monthly basis, from October through December of last year.
On a cumulative basis, debt collection complaints stood at 26 percent of all complaints, which put that sector ahead of mortgage complaints since the CFPB began tracking complaints five years ago.