The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in its annual report that consumer complaint volume increased 80 percent in 2013, but vehicle loan issues still constitute only a small amount of the overall total.
The CFPB indicated this week that overall complaint volume nearly doubled from 91,000 complaints received in 2012 to 163,700 complaints received in 2013. However, only about 3,500 complaints from last year’s total were associated with either a vehicle loan or lease.
From July 21, 2011 through June 30 of last year, the CFPB received approximately 176,700 consumer complaints, but during that stretch vehicle contracts comprised only a small amount of that total figure — about 2,700 complaints.
The bureau carved out percentages of complaint categories that comprised vehicle contract issues in 2013. That breakdown went as follows:
—44 percent: Managing the loan or lease (billing, late fees, damage or loss, insurance GAP, credit, etc.), credit reporting, privacy.
—23 percent: Taking out the loan or lease or account terms and changes (changes after closing, rates, fees, etc.), required add-on products, trade-in payoff, fraud.
—22 percent: Problems when consumers are unable to pay (debt collection, repossession, deficiency, bankruptcy, default).
—11 percent: Shopping for a loan or lease (Sales tactics or pressure, credit denial, confusing advertising or marketing).
To date, including this year, the CFPB said it has received more than 310,000 complaints overall. According to the latest report, the top three complaints in 2013 by consumers were:
—Mortgages: The No. 1 most-complained about consumer product was mortgages, accounting for 37 percent of overall complaints. For these approximately 60,000 complaints, consumers were most concerned with problems when they were unable to pay, such as issues relating to loan modifications, collections, or foreclosures.
—Debt collection: Debt collection was the second most complained about category, accounting for 19 percent of overall complaints even though the bureau did not begin accepting debt collection complaints until July of last year. For the approximately 31,000 debt collection complaints, consumers were most concerned with collectors attempting to collect debt not owed, communication tactics by the collectors, and collectors taking or threatening illegal action.
—Credit reporting: The No. 3 most complained about category was credit reporting, accounting for about 15 percent of overall complaints. For the approximately 24,000 complaints about credit reporting, nearly three out of four consumers were concerned with incorrect information on their credit report.
The bureau explained that it expects companies to respond to complaints within 15 days and to describe the steps they have taken or plan to take.
CFPB director Richard Cordray went on to mention that the agency expects companies to close all but the most complicated complaints within 60 days.
Cordray noted companies have responded to more than 93 percent of the complaints sent to them for response, and consumers have disputed only 21 percent of those company responses.
“Consumer complaints have become central to the work of this agency,” Cordray said. “They enable us to listen to, and amplify, the concerns of any American who wants to be heard.
“They are also our compass. They make a difference by informing our work and helping us identify and prioritize problems for potential action,” he went on to say.