Do You Have a Complaint about a Bank or Credit Card Company?

If you have been mistreated by a bank of credit card company, or have had difficulties resolving an issue it is in your best interest as a consumer to initiate a consumer complain with the federal agency regulating the financial institution in question.  While it may feel like a waste of time to do so, be assured that every complaint submitted by a consumer does make a difference.

The first step in filing a complaint about a bank or credit card company is figuring out where and how to submit it. There are a variety of agencies that regulate financial institutions and figuring out which agency to contact can be a challenge.

Two easy ways to determine who to contact are listed below:

  • The FDIC has published an easy-to-use, searchable database of financial institutions. This online tool will provide you with the primary regulator you should contact, as well as other useful information. >>Visit the FDIC Institution Directory now.
  • If are still unsure, or are not able to access the FDIC’s database, call the Office of the Comptroller’s  Customer Assistance Group at 1-800-613-6743. Their representatives are there to help consumers like you find out the correct agency to contact with a question or complaint. The Federal Reserve can also assist with this. You can reach them toll-free at 888-851-1920.

Some of the possible agencies you will be reaching out to include:

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – The OCC regulates national banks, federal savings associations and thrifts. This is the agency you want to contact if the financial institution’s name includes the words “National Bank” or “N.A.” or against a credit card issued through a national bank such as Chase, KeyBank, National City Bank or Huntington Bank.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – On July 21, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the Bureau) took over responsibility for handling certain consumer complaints against the nation’s largest financial institutions. To learn more about the Bureau and its responsibilities, click here.

The FDIC – Regulates state chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve system. The FDIC’s Consumer Response Center is responsible for investigating all types of consumer complaints about FDIC-supervised institutions and responding to consumer inquiries about consumer laws and regulations. You may call and speak to a Consumer Affairs Specialist about your concerns. However, in order for them to investigate or review your issues, they must receive your complaint in writing.

The National Credit Union Administration – the NCUA regulates federal and state-chartered credit unions.

 


Submitting Your Complaint

1. Prepare the information the financial institution will need to take action.  

A complaint must include, at a minimum, your name, address and account information.  You will also want to include your phone number and/or e-mail address for future communications. In your complaint, include a detailed description of what occurred and explain why the situation is unsatisfactory. Whenever possible specify dates and names of any company representatives you may have dealt with.

2. Gather documentation or evidence

Be sure to have any backup documentation , such as a monthly statement from the bank or your loan agreement, or any evidence needed to prove your claim. The burden of proof will inevitably be on you. Also include a detailed description of how you want the company to resolve the issue. Be as specific as possible. Include as much as you can with your initial complaint.

3. Submit and Follow-Up

Once you have written the most thorough complaint possible, submit it using the recommended method(s) specified by the agency. Keep a copy for your personal records. Be sure to follow up with the agency if you do not hear back from them within 2-5 business days.

 

Some helpful tips:

  • If you are dealing with a state bank, be aware that the bank may also fall under the supervision of a state banking regulator.
  • In addition to submitting your complaint with the regulating agency, we also suggest you submit one via the Better Business Bureau.

 

 

 

 

 


“The Know Before You Owe” mortgage rule will take effect October 3, 2015

Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure forms

Today, we’re issuing a final rule delaying the effective date for the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule to October 3, 2015. The Know Before You Owe rule will improve the way you’ll receive information about mortgage loans, both when applying for a loan and when you’re getting ready to close.

We’ve been talking about the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule for a while, and we’ve also been hard at work to provide helpful information for the mortgage industry to understand what the requirements are, including how to fill out the disclosure forms.

You can check out more information about the project that got us here and what the Know Before You Owe rule means for consumers like you.

We want it to be easier for you to shop effectively for mortgages and to make the decisions that work for you and your family. We want consumers to be confident in the information they receive, the lenders they work with, and their ability to make good comparisons. The Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule is a key part of that effort, so we’ve spent a lot of time testing the new disclosure forms with consumers. We’re confident that the new disclosures will make information clearer and easier to use, and we look forward to their implementation starting October 3.

 

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You have the right to a fair financial marketplace

We've secured over $10.8 billion dollars in relief for consumers harmed by illegal practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created in the wake of the financial meltdown to stand up for consumers and make sure they are treated fairly in the financial marketplace. One way we accomplish this mission is by enforcing consumer protection laws, holding law breakers accountable for their actions. Since 2011, we have secured over $10.8 billion dollars in relief for more than 25 million consumers harmed by illegal practices.

Mortgages

We’ve secured billions of dollars in relief for consumers harmed by systematic misconduct and illegal practices by companies in the mortgage industry. We’ve taken several actions against mortgage servicing companies for failing to tell borrowers when their loan modification applications were incomplete, denying loan modifications to qualified borrowers, failing to honor modifications for loans transferred from other servicers, and illegal foreclosure practices. We have also taken action against companies in the mortgage industry for steering consumers into costlier loans, for paying illegal kickbacks in exchange for business, and for making inadequate disclosures or using deceptive ads.

Credit cards

We’ve secured billions of dollars of relief for millions of consumers harmed by deceptive marketing and enrollment of credit card add-on products, unfair billing, and illegal debt collection practices.

Payday and installment lending

We have taken action against payday lenders and installment lenders for unlawful lending and collections practices that include using false threats of lawsuits or criminal prosecution to collect debts, charging undisclosed fees to servicemembers, and robo-signing court documents related to debt collection lawsuits.

Learn more about how we’re enforcing consumer protection laws in other product areas including auto lending, debt collection, debt relief, student lending, checking accounts, and more.

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Citibank to refund $700 million to credit card customers for unfair and deceptive practices

Today we’re ordering Citibank, N.A. and some of its subsidiaries to refund approximately $700 million to customers for unfair and deceptive credit card practices. This includes unfairly billing consumers for credit card add-on products, deceptively marketing those products, and deceptive collection practices. Citibank has agreed to pay about $700 million in refunds on about 8.8 million accounts.

If you were among the millions of people affected, Citibank should have already notified you or will notify you directly. You do not have to take any action. If you have questions about whether you are entitled to a refund, you can contact Citibank at the number on the back of your credit card. Generally, consumers who were signed up for these products on or after January 1, 2009, will receive full or partial refunds. If you are unsatisfied with Citibank’s response, you can submit a complaint online or by calling us at 855-411-2372.

You might be eligible for a refund if you paid for credit and identity monitoring, credit protection products, or an expedited payment fee.

Credit and identity monitoring products

Nearly 2.2 million consumers who enrolled between 2000 and 2013 have already received or will receive refunds of about $196 million in fees for credit monitoring products (Privacy Guard, DirectAlert, IdentityMonitor, Citi Credit Monitoring Service). If you enrolled in these products, but did not receive all of the services promised, you will receive full refunds for the time you did not receive full services. Most eligible consumers have already received refunds.

Separately, we found that Citibank violated the law when enrolling some IdentityMonitor consumers and when some IdentityMonitor consumers called to try to cancel that product. The amount of refund is determined by a few factors, including whether consumers tried to cancel (even if they were persuaded to keep it), and how long they stayed in the product.

Consumers who enrolled in IdentityMonitor over the phone on or after January 1, 2009, but who did not upgrade to “triple bureau” credit monitoring, will receive full or partial refunds. You are also eligible if you enrolled over the internet between January 1, 2009 and April 1, 2012.

Debt protection products

We found that Citibank violated the law when selling certain debt protection products (AccountCare, Balance Protector, Credit Protection, Credit Protector, and Payment Safeguard) to some consumers. Some of the deceptive practices happened during telemarketing sales calls, while others happened when consumers applied for credit cards at certain retail stores, using “point of sale” terminals or at specialty services desks.

Consumers who enrolled in these products on or after January 1, 2009, will generally receive refunds. Certain consumers are excluded, including if you paid a claim for benefits under the products or if you signed and returned an “Acknowledgment of Membership” form after enrolling.

Certain consumers who enrolled in these products prior to December 31, 2008, may also be eligible for a refund.

Expedited payment fee

Finally, we found Citibank violated the law when they tried to collect overdue payments from some consumers with cards issued by Citibank’s subsidiary, Department Stores National Bank (DSNB). During collection calls, Citibank sometimes charged an “expedited payment fee” of $14.95 without telling the consumer it was charging the fee or misrepresented the purpose of the fee. Nearly 1.8 million consumers who paid an “expedited payment fee” since January 1, 2009 when their DSNB credit card account was delinquent will receive all “expedited payment fees” paid during that time.

Citibank is responsible for providing refunds

Watch out for scammers claiming they will get you a refund. When large numbers of consumers get refunds, scammers sometimes pop up. The scammer may charge you a fee or try to steal your personal information. If someone tries to charge you, tries to get you to disclose your personal information, or asks you to cash a check and send a portion to a third party to “claim your refund,” it’s a scam. Please call us at 855-411-CFPB (2372) to report the scam.

Eligible consumers will get a refund directly, typically by a credit to your account or a check.

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Debt settlement company Morgan Drexen is no longer in business: What you should know

Morgan Drexen has gone out of business. If you are a Morgan Drexen customer, you must take action on your debts. You can also request a refund of any money that is currently in your settlement account.

In 2013, we sued debt settlement company Morgan Drexen for collecting illegal “upfront fees” for debt settlement services and for running deceptive advertisements. We prevailed in our lawsuit: in April 2015, a federal court ruled against Morgan Drexen and found that the company misled the court and falsified evidence during the lawsuit. The court later ruled that Morgan Drexen must stop collecting money from its customers. Morgan Drexen went out of business in late June 2015 after filing for bankruptcy.

Next steps for Morgan Drexen customers

Soon you should receive an official letter and an e-mail explaining how you can protect your rights now that Morgan Drexen is no longer in business. This letter will provide you with information about your account and where to pay debts that have not been paid off. The letter will tell you whether you are currently in a settlement payment plan and what you need to do to keep that plan on track. If you are in a settlement payment plan, you must act quickly to avoid losing the terms of your settlement and reduced debt amount.

If you do not receive this letter or email by July 27, please call 844-358-6195.

If you have debts that were not settled, you will need to consider other options to resolve those debts. You can negotiate directly with creditors to try to get a reduced payment plan on your debts. If you are thinking of paying another company for debt settlement services, you should first carefully review your options to avoid illegal upfront fees and other scams.

Requesting a refund

You have the right to request a refund of any money that is currently in your settlement account. Start by contacting the attorney who worked for you on your debts with Morgan Drexen. The attorney will have access to your settlement account. Because your attorney is required to hold your settlement account as a “trust account,” he or she must provide you with a refund of any money in that account.

The amount of money in your settlement (trust) account will likely be less than what you have paid Morgan Drexen because Morgan Drexen charged you upfront fees. Even though the court ruled that these upfront fees are illegal, the court has not yet decided whether it will order Morgan Drexen to return all the fees that were illegally charged to consumers. Since Morgan Drexen filed for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy process will have to run its course before we know if there will be any money left for consumer refunds.

Still have questions?

Morgan Drexen is out of business, but another entity is now running its website. That website is an important source of information for Morgan Drexen’s former customers. Please visit www.morgandrexen.com or call 1-844-358-6195 for more information about how to protect your rights. You can also log-in to your Morgan Drexen account to see the status of your debts and payment for your settlements.

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