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Government The Almighty Buck

US Consumer Bureau Opens Online Credit Card Complaint DB 162

Posted by timothy
from the about-those-jerks-at-citibank dept.
chiguy writes "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins releasing detailed information on Americans' complaints about their credit cards online. From The Washington Post: 'The CFPB said it will only publish complaints after it has verified the consumer's relationship with the company. The new database will include not only the name of the company involved, but also the nature of the complaint and the consumer's Zip code. It will also report whether the firm responded in a timely manner, how the matter was resolved and any disputes. The CFPB said it has received more than 45,000 in the year since the bureau was launched.' Complaints about mortgages, student loans, and checking accounts will be added later. Financial institutions are complaining loudly, decrying the enforcement of one of the main tenets of the free market: transparency."
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US Consumer Bureau Opens Online Credit Card Complaint DB

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  • Seriously ?!?!?!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:38AM (#40369841)
    More and more I get this feeling of disgust each time I hear a company complain about something that has to do with consumer rights. At least I am getting more disgusted and not more desensitized...
    • Next time you vote, remember which party created this bureau and which keeps try to block it or defund it. Despite what a big pile of slashdot users regularly say, there are still differences between the major parties.

    • Banamex / MasterCard (Score:4, Informative)

      by John Bokma (834313) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:37AM (#40371705) Homepage

      I live in Mexico for nearly 9 years now. Last November my Banamex bankcard got stolen. This was reported in less than an hour at a nearby "sucursal" of Banamex (in the same shopping mall). A few days later my wife and I discovered that about 27,000 MXN (about 2,000 USD) had been withdrawn in two shops in the time between the cards got stolen and reported.

      So we went to the bank to report this. We talked to the bank manager (or supervisor), since we had talked to him earlier how to get money. Once your card is blocked you can only get money in the bank with identification, a copy of your contract (which they had on electronic file), and max. 3000 MXN (about 219 USD) for "security reasons" (right). Anyway, he couldn't care less, or that was our impression, but we ended up with a nice lady who really wanted to help us out, but was powerless against the unbelievable crappy way Banamex deals with customers in cases like this.

      There are two ways to report incidents like this: the "fast" way: reporting it by phone. And the slow way (or in my current experience the "forget about it" way) by paper. We were allowed to use the bank's phone, so we called Banamex. And called. And were put on hold. And when finally someone who could speak English was found -- I don't speak Spanish very well -- I was put on hold, or got disconnected (again). After 4 (!!!) hours of this we had to leave the bank since they really wanted to close down.

      We also went to one of the places they had shopped: Sam's Club. While we asked how it could happen that people could shop with my card the guy told us happily about how cards are cloned. I got the impression he was more into how cool this all was and what not instead of how "cool" is was for us, just before Christmas. Anyway, we learnt that 2 iPads had been bought at Sam's.

      The next day we went to the bank building I had opened my account with. After 2 hours of more of the same, and worse; at one point I talked to someone in English who plainly stated she couldn't help me after it had taken nearly 20 minutes to get transferred to her, we decided to take the slower paper route. We filled in a form, I signed it, and hoped for the best. This was the 2nd of December

      Right now? Still no money back. Even in Mexico the banks are insured for fraud (Banamex for 72 hrs after theft, if I understand correctly). We have contacted Banamex in every possible way, even via Facebook. I have contacted MasterCard, it's their shiny logo that's on my bankcard, but while they told they would escalate things with Banamex so far nothing has happened... Last resort seems to be CONDUSEF, but this being Mexico I don't have a good feeling about this (I do have some experience with PROFECO; an organizations that seems to "protect" consumer's rights).

      What surprises me is the piss-poor "security" of bank cards. They are cloned in seconds, and it wouldn't surprise me if the data is transferred via the Internet to a different location; the trip from the mall were the card was stolen to Sam's Club, where the iPads were bought, takes probably 10+ minutes and what I recall from the time stamps they got there unbelievable fast.

      A lot of companies get away with a lot. I don't understand why MasterCard can't put more pressure on Banamex; it's their logo on the card that got stolen. Is this logo just a meaningless shiny sticker? And I don't understand by Banamex behaves this piss poor; they are insured.

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        I preload a vcard app on my phone for all online purchases. That way if someone schemes the number it's a one time use that dries up and blows away after first use.
      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        I feel bad you've had such a bad experience with that bank. They sound like a bunch of assholes, honestly.

        To add a different story to this, a friend of mine in the US had his debit card (bank card) cloned at a shady gas station. They managed to get $1,000 out of the ATM (the max they could) that night. He quickly saw it and reported it. The bank killed the card and he had his money back (they didn't even charge him the $50 you're technically liable for) within about 24 hours.

        Just mentioning it so that peopl

        • Thanks!

          Back then I picked Banamex since their "sister" in the US is Citibank which made it the only bank (if I recall correctly) that could accept Google AdSense cheques. They didn't even ask a fee. Later they sold to me the more expensive Internet banking solution and now this, so they got their money anyway. The whole card cloning thing seems to be a major issue in Mexico especially with Banamex (at least that was the impression I got a few months ago after some Googling).

          I wish I could just pick a bank i

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        9 years living in Mexico and you don't speak Spanish very well. I'm calling bullshit on that one.
        • Which one? That I live in Mexico, or that I don't speak Spanish very well?
  • Didn't know something like this existed. Time to add my recent problems to the list. With a credit rating of 720 there is no excuse for me to have a 23.9% APR. Fuck you Chase Freedom. Worse part was I would email them over a dozen times and get robo-responded each time with a message that essentially said they don't do credit report please contact experian or other such services. Worse still was that in my emails I told them I went there before applying to check my score. I even went so far as to add a scre
    • by NevarMore (248971)

      Why do you have to complain to some board? Can't you just cancel the account, get a new card from a new company, and transfer the balance?

      • Why? Because the poster wants to ensure that others do not repeat his experience. For example, when I am shopping, I always check reviews. I realize there may be some bad reviews, but if the majority of even half the reviews are bad, I will not go with the product. This site now helps people report their experience with card companies. Now, if you see overwhelming numbers reporting high APR's with Chase Freedom cards, you know that is a card to stay away from. Sure, you can simply cancel and walk away, but

      • by kimvette (919543)

        Closing an account dings your credit score by up to 60 points. Only close an account if a mortgage broker requests that you decrease your available credit or if you have a card which charges outrageous fees.

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      If you discipline yourself to use a credit card correctly the interest rate should be of no matter to you. Never use it to make a purchase you can't cover with cash you have in the bank, and make it a rule to pay the balance in full each and every statement. Do this, and you will never have to pay a cent in interest ever.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I've found out the hard way, that merely leads to $50 / $75 / $100 annual fees which are waived for debt serfs. They'll get $50 to $100 /yr out of you, one way or another.

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          They make money off the fees they charge retailers, which are enough apparently to allow me to collect a couple of hundred in "reward" points every few months.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Incorrect. Plenty of credit card companies will happily give you an account that does not have an annual fee. I have 4 credit cards I don't carry a balance on any of them, so pay no interest, and none of them charge an annual fee. On the other hand, when I have a dispute with a retailer, the credit card company will force the retailer to refund my money as well as extends the warranty on many of my purchases.

          If you don't have the self control to spend less than you make, or the forethought to check th
        • by geekoid (135745)

          SO what we have here is some who is too ignorant to get a good credit card.

          I pay, nothing. And I track that with Mint.

      • Yeah.... unfortunately, that's NOT the correct way to use a credit card, in the lenders' viewpoint. And guess who makes the rules? (Hint: Not you.)

        If you repeatedly pay off a credit card in full, you're just an expense on their balance sheet. (They have to keep lending you money for as long as 25-30 days at a time without making a penny of interest on it -- not to mention maintaining your account with them, printing up fresh cards for you every so often, etc. etc.)

        Sure, it shows you're fiscally responsib

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          Then I must be an exception then. No annual fees, never paid interest, and take the cash option whenever I redeem my reward points.

          • It's possible ... but I doubt that #1, your credit score is as high as they'd rank it if you did things the way I described, and #2, you can go on with that strategy indefinitely without eventually having the terms and conditions of your card changed on you.

            The credit card issuers are NOT really vigilant about what's going on with all the cards out there.... Many years ago, I went through a Chapter 7 and one of the cards I was able to keep (and keep using) for many months after the fact was a Home Depot ca

            • by EzInKy (115248)

              If that day ever comes then I'll simply use the cash in my accounts to make my purchases instead and they'll lose the fees they earn from the retailers. Admittedly though, I'll miss cashing in my reward points as well.

            • I do it the way the parent describes, and my credit score could not get that much higher. Because I'm getting points or cash back on everything, I run -everything- I can through a credit card. Thus they make more in merchant charges off me than they do off a typical person who pays cash or check for somethings. That's where they get their profit off me, from the higher prices all merchants charge everyone for everything to cover the costs of credit card fees. (But merchants would charge those costs whet

        • by tbannist (230135)

          You don't actually understand how credit cards work. Every time you buy something from a store with a credit card, the credit card company gets something like $1 + 3% of what you purchased. That's right, if the store is making a 10% profit on your purchase, almost a third of it goes to VISA or Mastercard. Before 2008, the credit card companies were looking for debt slaves. They loved the people who carried near the maximum balances and made near the minimum payment. However, after the economy tanked th

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Yeah.... unfortunately, that's NOT the correct way to use a credit card, in the lenders' viewpoint. And guess who makes the rules? (Hint: Not you.)

          If you repeatedly pay off a credit card in full, you're just an expense on their balance sheet. (They have to keep lending you money for as long as 25-30 days at a time without making a penny of interest on it -- not to mention maintaining your account with them, printing up fresh cards for you every so often, etc. etc.)

          Sure, it shows you're fiscally responsible,

    • by vlm (69642)

      With a credit rating of 720 there is no excuse for me to have a 23.9% APR.

      That low? I'm in the low 800s last time I checked (yes, I'm old) and all my CC are the legal max of 29.9%. I'm sure the only dependency is which state you live in.

      Personally I think they're pissed off that I don't carry a higher balance... gotta make $100/yr off me somehow.

      One funny thing is I used to have multiple cards just in case and also the worlds crudest budgeting system, but due to endless too-big-to-fail mergers I'm down to BoA and Citibank, both with multiple cards.

      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        You don't get to sit in judgement of anyone else who uses credit properly just because you don't have a clue what you're doing. If all your credit cards are at 30% interest, you don't know what you're doing. My gf's cards aren't near that high and her credit's terrible.

        I suspect:
        * 1. You're lying about your score to prove a point
        * 2. You're lying about your interest rates to prove a point
        * 3. You aren't telling us the whole story
        * 4. You've gotten scores from somewhere other than MyFico.com (and thus, almos

    • by noc007 (633443)

      As long as you pay what's on that billing cycle on time, you don't get charged any interest. Treat it like your check card and you won't have any problems.

      Using only 1/3rd of your credit limit and paying it off each cycle can do wonders to your credit score as well.

    • by operagost (62405)

      Didn't know something like this existed.

      It's existed for decades: the BBB. I successfully had my APR reduced from 19.99 to 9.99 with Chase. When I was out of work, they jacked it up before I could close the account at a lower rate. My complaint with the BBB motivated them to restore good faith with me. They are still pretty low on my list of potential lenders, but they're not on the bottom. The BBB won't be able to fix everything, but let's be frank: neither will any government agency.

  • C'mon proofreaders, get with it.
  • Hopefully this will begin to add pressure on the credit card companies. At the very least it will create a market opportunity for a company that sees common complaints, and caters their own offerings to avoid angering their customers. Examples:
    "In these difficult times, if you miss a payment, you just get a late fee, not a bump in your rate that will take years to reduce."
    "Need help? We're easy to reach by phone or email."
    "Our rates don't change. Sign up at one APR, stay at that APR."
  • Epic fail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#40369997)

    Financial institutions are complaining loudly, decrying ...

    The real complaint is they paid billions to elect these guys, and look what happens. My suspicion is within days / weeks this will be defanged. Perhaps you'll only be able to look up complaints if you're already a customer of that bank, or it'll be made illegal to refer to these complaints in any way in advertising, or perhaps the names of the companies will be censored from public view, etc. I bet a simple hack to prevent citizens from using it would be the "only publish complaints after it has verified the consumer's relationship with the company" clause, whoops we have no budget this year for any verifications, what a surprise, I guess we can't publish anything this year... or ever. Another simple hack would be to prevent lookups solely by company name, must specify company name AND zip code AND mom's maiden name or something like that.

    The new database will include not only the name of the company involved, but also the ...

    consumers account number, PIN number, CVW number, SS number, and mothers maiden name. Wanna bet that it'll be, at most, a select query on the same server as the sensitive personal stuff is stored? And they'll be people uploading complaints named "Bobby tables" within hours of opening. This may be part of the scheme above... complain and everyone on the net can hear about it, but all of your personal data will be on a torrent site within hours, so you better not complain in public after all, serf.

    consumer ... consumer ...

    I hate being called a consumer. The article is about modern day debt-serfs anyway, not consumers. I want to be a citizen, you know, with like rights and stuff. Just like you know anyone using the N-word probably isn't worth listening to, anyone using the C-word probably isn't worth listening to. (Cloud is another good C-word to ignore)

    • I hate being called a consumer. The article is about modern day debt-serfs anyway, not consumers. I want to be a citizen, you know, with like rights and stuff.

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau deals with consumer financial services, as opposed to services aimed at, say, governments or corporations. Whether or not you're a citizen isn't their concern. Their mission is to protect the end-users of consumer credit from pervasive illegal bullshit. If the word "consumer" offends you, eh, too bad.

      complain and everyone on the net can hear about it, but all of your personal data will be on a torrent site within hours, so you better not complain in public after all, serf.

      Oh for the love of ... nevermind ...

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I hate being called a consumer. The article is about modern day debt-serfs anyway, not consumers.

      I do too, but in this case I understand why:
      1. The phrase "consumer finance" does in fact refer to the kinds of things the CFPB is supposed to be dealing with: bank accounts, credit cards, and personal loans.
      2. From the point of view of the banking industry, loans, accounts, cards, etc are their products, which you are purchasing with fees and/or interest payments.

    • The real complaint is they paid billions to elect these guys, and look what happens. My suspicion is within days / weeks this will be defanged.

      If Republicans win this fall, expect the consumer bureau to be gutted then eliminated. It's not like they haven't already been trying to block or defund it.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#40370007) Homepage

    The last thing the larger financial companies want is clear documentation of exactly how they screw their customers. Just by sharing this kind of information, they start making the market compete better - now that customers are basically talking to each other, they know that Capital One is a bad deal, which will hurt Capital One in the marketplace.

    Of course, I know that there are some who's head will explode when they encounter a government program that is quite cheap, effective, mostly non-coercive, and improves market functioning, but that's what this is.

    • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:07AM (#40370281)

      they know that Capital One is a bad deal

      As a non-customer of cap one, for years (decades?) they sent me bi-weekly physical mail spam trying to get me to sign up. I worked at a commercial printing shop that occasionally printed and even mailed paper spam 20 years ago and I figure they're in the hole at least $500 cost of sales on me, so if I ever become a customer there's probably some data mining process that'll find some way to make $500 plus a hefty profit off me. Those TV commercials are not cheap either. I fail to imagine how anyone could think they'll be a good deal, other than maybe some momentary bait and switch sales tactic.

      Any time you see a cost of sales of $X realize unless they're a charity or political campaign (I'm looking at you, Ron Paul) they expect to earn n * $X gross profit where n is probably pretty big.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#40370009)

    The horror of an informed populace...

    Funny, they can submit information to credit agencies that are applied to every adult in this country, but turn around and give the people an outlet to do the same thing in return and now they're sobbing into their cereal. Boo fucking hoo.

  • by PerfectionLost (1004287) <ben&perfectresolution,com> on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @09:59AM (#40370161)

    There only seems to be around 100 complaints in their database. That couldn't possibly be right could it? Or have I been wrong about how terrible the banks can be.

    Here's a quick query I threw together:

    Complaints by Company
    1 TD BANK
    1 Zions First National Bank
    1 USAA Savings
    5 Barclays
    6 Amex
    7 Wells Fargo
    8 Discover
    9 GE Capital Retail
    15 Bank of America
    24 JPMorgan Chase
    27 Citibank
    33 Capital One

    • by Thud457 (234763)

      33 Capital One

      "Who's in your wallet" always struck me as a bit of an ominous warning.

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        I've had better results with my Capital One CC than my USBank checking account. Capital One "tried" to get away with bogus charges, but would work with my wife to remove them. USBank's management out-right told me that they are sorry for their mistakes, but there is nothing they could do about it.. WTF kind of response is that?! I didn't have the time or money to fight them, I just changed to the local credit union.
      • Yea, though this is clearly partial data. I'd like to see a similar list when it has all 45,000 complaints in it.

    • by treeves (963993)

      That doesn't mean much without knowing the numbers of people carrying their cards. A useful number would be the number of complaints per 100,000 cardholders or something like that. If Discover has 8,000,000 cardholders but Barclays only has 500,000, then Barclays is ten times worse despite their better position on your list.

    • Only 137 entries in the database at the moment, evidently. Probably only showing what's been reported via the site itself, at least at this point, via the complain submission section http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ [consumerfinance.gov]

      Something interesting is that as part of the 'Submit a Complaint' there is a whistleblower function:
      http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/the-cfpb-wants-you-to-blow-the-whistle-on-lawbreakers/ [consumerfinance.gov]

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