The U.S. PIRG Education Fund (PIRG) released a report analyzing consumer complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2021 and 2022. The report noted that consumer complaint totals set a new record in 2021 (496,000), only to have that record broken by a considerable margin in 2022 (800,394). According to PIRG, complaints against national consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) were the largest category, nearly doubling from 2021 to 2022. However, complaints against the debt collection industry fell by 15% during that same time period.
Highlights from the report include:
Top Five Complaint Issues in 2022:
- Incorrect information on your consumer report (229,638);
- Improper use of your consumer report (210,792);
- Problem with a CRA’s investigation into an existing problem (153,539);
- Attempts to collect a debt not owed (31,112); and
- Managing an account (22,769).
Complaints by Top-Level Product Category in 2021-2022:
- Checking or savings account (29,555 in 2021 and 37,585 in 2022);
- Credit card or prepaid card (31,823 in 2021 and 39,883 in 2022);
- Credit reporting or credit repair services (307,548 in 2021 and 604,221 in 2022);
- Debt collection (70,339 in 2021 and 59,493 in 2022);
- Money transfer, virtual currency, or money service (13,895 in 2021 and 13,537 in 2022);
- Mortgage (26,531 in 2021 and 23,291 in 2022);
- Payday loan, title loan, or personal loan (4,352 in 2021 and 5,771 in 2022);
- Student loan (4,131 in 2021 and 7,957 in 2022); and
- Vehicle loan or lease (7,826 in 2021 and 8,656 in 2022).
Fraud and Scams Complaints on the Rise:
- Fraud or scams was the 10th most reported issue in 2022 with 6,681 complaints; and
- Fraud or scams in the mobile or digital wallet sub-product increased by 68% from 2021 to 2022 and by 52% in the virtual currency sub-product in that same timeframe.
PIRG’s findings showing a rise in complaints involving consumer reporting issues, but a decline in debt collection complaints, align with litigation trends discussed here. Federal court filings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) increased by 3.5% from 2021 to 2022, but filings under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) decreased by 31% during that same timeframe.