| December 2, 2011

CFPB: Billing disputes, interest rates top complaints from cardholders

Consumers complained about a variety of issues they have with credit card issuers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the three-month period ending in October, and the agency divulged these grievances in a report.

According to the report, the most complaints provided by consumers to the CFPB regarded billing disputes; annual percentage or interest rates and identity theft, fraud and embezzlement. Other complaints filed by consumers to the bureau included issues with closing or canceling an account; credit card payment or debt protection and miscellaneous fees.

In all, more than 5,000 complaints were filed with the CFPB during the period. Nearly 84 percent of these complaints were forwarded to card companies – 74 percent of which reported “partial or full resolution” to the issues.

“The biggest thing we see is consumer confusion,” bureau spokeswoman Jennifer Howard told MSNBC. “Customers and credit card issuers aren’t always on same page when it comes to understanding the terms of the deal.”

Raj Date, special advisor to the Treasury for the CFPB, said in the report that the agency plans to utilize the complaints filed to help cardholders better understand how to best use their cards and improve overall consumer education.

“After careful analysis, the bureau will determine how best to address these issues through a variety of means ranging from consumer education and engagement to new regulatory policies,” the agency said in its report.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, contributing editor for a credit card information website, told Daily Finance the issues laid out by consumers to the CFPB have been prevalent for many years.

“It’s obvious that consumers have complained about fees with credit cards for years. That’s why we had some reform,” she told the news source. “Even though we’ve had credit card reform, it’s not a dead issue.”

Cardholders who need help with any issues regarding their account may want to seek financial counseling to help them obtain a better understanding regarding how to properly use their card.

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