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CFPB submits proposal to expand consumer complaint feedback for OMB approval

Posted in CFPB General

The CFPB has taken another step towards implementing its proposal to add a survey to its current complaint intake form that a consumer could choose to complete to provide feedback on the company’s response to his or her complaint.

The proposal would allow a consumer to opt-in and provide this feedback publicly, much the way he or she can with the complaint narrative.  The proposed survey would replace the existing “dispute” function that currently allows a consumer to indicate dissatisfaction with a company’s response.  Instead, a consumer would have the option to score the company’s response from 1 to 5 and provide a narrative description of the rationale for the number he or she selected.

The proposal, which was published in the Federal Register in August 2016, drew objections from industry, including the Consumer Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association, who submitted a comment letter setting forth their opposition.  In their comment letter, the two trade groups asserted that consumers will not benefit from a highly subjective rating system.  They described the proposed survey as subjective in several ways, including that no criteria had been established to guide a consumer in making a selection under the proposed survey’s one-to-five scale.  The trade groups asserted that without a description of the circumstances under which a particular value should be given, the ratings will reflect the idiosyncrasies of customers, not an accurate reflection of the company’s response to complaints it received.  Therefore, the aggregate results of these ratings will provide little, if any, benefit to consumers.

On November 29, 2016, the CFPB published a new notice in the Federal Register that seeks comment on the proposal’s submission to the Office of Management and Budget.  The CFPB’s Supporting Statement submitted to OMB includes the CFPB’s responses to comments it received on the proposal.  With regard to comments regarding the subjective nature of the rating system, the CFPB stated that it “believes a 5-star rating system is a commonly accepted and easily understood method for gathering consumer feedback.”  Further comments must be submitted by December 29, 2016.