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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB Monthly Complaint Snapshot Highlights Complaints from Older Consumers

Consumer Finance CFPB Mortgage Servicing Credit Cards Consumer Complaints Consumer Lending Fair Lending Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

Consumer Finance

On May 31, the CFPB released Vol. 23 of its Monthly Complaint Report. This month’s report highlights complaints from “older consumers” defined as those who voluntarily report their age as 62 or older. Since it began accepting complaints, the Bureau has received over 1 million complaints—more than 100,000 from older consumers. The report focuses on these complaints, with some of the most common in 2017 including:

  • Reverse mortgage servicing issues, which are unique to this group of consumers. Many of the complaints surround older consumers attempting to stay in their home after the death of the borrowing spouse, occasionally ending in foreclosure;
  • Financial scams and identity theft issues are often difficult to recover from—especially for consumers on fixed-incomes;
  • Credit card issues such as introductory offers may cause confusion for older consumers in understanding credit terms and conditions or the difference between zero interest and deferred interest. Additionally, many older consumers struggle with billing disputes, unwanted subscription services and credit monitoring; and
  • Escrow issues, especially when the consumer is trying to benefit from tax relief programs.

The graph shown in a blog on the Bureau’s website compares complaints from consumers 62 and older with complaints from consumers under 62. Although both groups of consumers reported complaints for many of the same products, the graph shows that mortgages, debt collection and credit cards, in that order, are the top three products for those 62 and older—whereas debt collection, mortgages and credit reporting are the top three for those under 62. Additionally, the report reveals that almost a quarter of all complaints from older consumers came from residents of California, Texas, and Florida.

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