News : Financial Readiness

Inspector General Has Complaint Of Its Own Over CFPB Complaint Database; Makes Recommendations

Thursday, September 17, 2015  
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Inspector General Has Complaint Of Its Own Over CFPB Complaint Database; Makes Recommendations


WASHINGTON—The CFPB should enhance management controls over its Consumer Complaint Database, according to the Federal Reserve Office of the Inspector General.

In auditing the Compliant Database, the OIG recommended that the CFPB improve controls over the database’s accuracy and completeness.

In June the CFPB released more than three years of complaints consumers have made against financial companies.

The OIG audit covered processes performed from Jan. 1, 2014, through June 30, 2014, and included all complaints in the database through June 30, 2014.

The OIG stated that the Office of Consumer Response (Consumer Response) has implemented controls to monitor the accuracy of complaint data in the CFPB’s internal case management system, which contains all consumer complaints received by the CFPB, but it has not established separate management controls to ensure the accuracy of data extracted from the system and included in the database.

“We found several noticeable inaccuracies in our analysis of the 254,835 complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database as of June 30, 2014,” the OIG stated in its report. “Although the number of complaints with inaccuracies that we identified was relatively small, enhancing existing controls would help ensure that as the number and types of complaints published increase, overall reliability of the data is maintained.”

The OIG also found that Consumer Response does not review all company closing responses, including verifying whether the company-selected response is consistent with the definition, and consistently publish untimely company closing responses in the Consumer Complaint Database.

“In addition, we found that Consumer Response allows 60 days for consumers to dispute company responses, rather than 30 days as stated in Consumer Response publications,” the OIG said. “Further, consumers are not consistently offered the opportunity to dispute untimely company responses. Finally, although the Consumer Complaint Database website asserts that complaint data are refreshed daily, we found that Consumer Response did not consistently notify the public when the database was not updated. Consumer Response has resolved the causes for the majority of the daily update failures that we observed, but it has not established procedures to inform the public when complaint data are incomplete or outdated.”

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