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This spring, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began publishing complaint anecdotes on its website.

For years, the organization has published data such as name of an agency, category of “harm,” relief sought, etc. But consumers now have new capabilities, namely the ability to choose whether to publish the story behind their complaint. That narrative basically gives the U.S. government permission for the information to appear in full on a website maintained by the federal agency.

This policy change is troubling in more ways that one.

• Consumer complaints will receive little oversight or verification before they are available for public viewing. Often, those who least understand the credit and collection industry make complaints to the CFPB.

• Agencies can reply openly to the complaints, but using only a handful of canned responses that may or may not explain the full narrative.

• Agencies are not informed about whether the consumer chose to publish his or her complaint until after the agency chooses to publish a response, creating a catch-22 situation for agencies.

We have prepared for the policy change with more training, oversight, and compliance reviews.

NCS works hard to stay ahead of changes in compliance policy in an effort to uphold strong client relationships at all times.