How & Where to File a Complaint Against 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.

Harmed Ally borrowers have been sent $80 million in damages

In December 2013, together with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and pursuant to a federal court order, we ordered Ally Financial Inc. and Ally Bank to pay $80 million in damages to consumers harmed by Ally’s discriminatory auto loan pricing policies. Today, harmed borrowers participating in the settlement were mailed checks by the Ally settlement administrator, totaling $80 million, plus interest. We found that Ally had a policy of allowing dealers to increase or “mark up” consumers’ risk-based interest rates, and paying dealers from those markups, and that the policy lacked adequate controls or monitoring. As a result, we found that between April 2011 and December 2013, this markup policy resulted in African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers paying more for auto loans than similarly situated non-Hispanic white borrowers.

In the summer and fall of 2015, the Ally settlement administrator contacted potentially eligible borrowers to confirm their eligibility and participation in the settlement. To be eligible for a payment, a borrower must have:

  • gotten an auto loan from Ally between April 2011 and December 2013;
  • had at least one borrower on the loan who was African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander; and
  • been overcharged.

Through that process, the settlement administrator identified approximately 301,000 eligible, participating borrowers and co-borrowers who were overcharged as a result of Ally’s discriminatory markup policy during the relevant time period, representing approximately 235,000 loans.

In addition to the $80 million in settlement payments for consumers who were overcharged between April 2011 and December 2013, and pursuant to its continuing obligations under the terms of the orders, Ally recently paid roughly $38.9 million to consumers that Ally determined were both eligible and overcharged on auto loans issued during 2014.

What to do if you get a check

The Ally settlement administrator sent letters today to eligible, participating borrowers that will include a check for you to cash or deposit. If you think that you received a check in error or you are not eligible, please call the Ally Settlement Administrator at 1-844-271-4780.

What to do if you don’t get a check but think you are an eligible, participating borrower

Only those eligible consumers who received participation materials and followed the participation instructions will receive a payment. If you are an eligible, participating borrower but didn’t get your check in the mail, please call the Administrator at 1-844-271-4780.

As part of this settlement, the Ally Settlement Administrator, the CFPB, the DOJ, or your local U.S. Attorney’s office may contact you. Ally is paying Heffler Claims Group to serve as the Administrator. You should treat any other contact claiming to be related to this settlement as a scam. Please immediately report any scam to the Administrator at info@autofinancesettlement.com.

Still have questions?

If you have any questions, check out the Ally Settlement Administrator’s website or you may call the Administrator at 1-844-271-4780.

Read more about fair lending to learn how you can protect yourself from credit discrimination.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/harmed-ally-borrowers-have-been-sent-80-million-in-damages/ Author: Patrice Ficklin

Read more here.


You have the right to request your consumer reports

Like many consumers, you may be aware that a credit report provides you with a useful summary of your credit history. What you may not be aware of is where and how to actually request your credit report, and what your rights are with your consumer reports.

Every year, we update and publish a list of consumer reporting companies. Today, we present you with the 2016 edition of our list, which includes the following features:

  • Information to request a report. This includes the latest company name and contact information from the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies and dozens of specialty reporting companies. We sort the companies by specialty (e.g., employment, tenant, bank, subprime, insurance, medical).
  • New tips on which specialty reports might be important for you to fact-check depending on your specific situation. Did you know that outside of employment screening, consumer report users provide you with a notification about the reasons why the report user is taking adverse action only after the fact when, for example, you have already been rejected for a loan or residential rental property?
  • New information about how consumer reporting companies make sure you are who you say you are before they will give you your reports, and the types of questions they might ask to authenticate your identity.
  • Companies that will provide free scores along with free reports. Not many do, but there are a few.

Did you know?

  • You should fact-check your credit reports for free from the three largest nationwide consumer reporting companies every twelve months.
  • You should fact-check your specialty consumer reports during important life events and situations, such as when applying for a job, rental home, or at other times like when applying for a new bank account or insurance policy.
  • In prior years, this list has referred to consumer reporting businesses as “agencies” or “bureaus.” These terms can be confusing because they make it sound as if these businesses might be part of the government. But they are not. They are private-sector companies which are overwhelmingly for-profit. In our list, we call them “companies” for greater clarity.

Your Rights with your Consumer Reports

Finally, when it comes to your own consumer reports, you have the legal right to:

  • obtain the information in your consumer reports, and
  • dispute inaccuracies with the consumer reporting companies and those who gave them the information.

A few years ago, we published a CFPB bulletin that highlighted the legal requirement that certain consumer reporting companies must establish and manage “a streamlined process for consumers to request consumer reports.” Our single, user-friendly list of companies makes it easier for you to make the first move.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/you-have-the-right-to-request-your-consumer-reports/ Author: Jonah Kaplan

Read more here.


Accepting applications for our Academic Research Council


Save the date, Louisville!

Join us for a field hearing in Louisville, Kentucky about access to checking accounts. Due to inclement weather, the field hearing has been postponed to February 3, 2016.

The hearing will feature remarks from CFPB Director Richard Cordray as well as testimony from consumer groups, industry representatives, and members of the public.

This event is open to the public and requires an RSVP. Send us an email to RSVP. A live video will be streamed here on our blog.

If you need an accommodation to participate, you can make a request.

See you in Louisville!

Updated January 22, 2016 with rescheduling information.

This post was originally published on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's blog. Link: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/save-the-date-louisville-ky/ Author: Zixta Q. Martinez

Read more here.