The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Other Ways to Submit Consumer Complaints

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How many times have you felt wronged or taken advantage of by a business and didn’t know where or who to voice your complaint to? Recently, in an article written by Bloomberg Businessweek, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced they will begin publishing data on complaints it has begun collecting from consumers about billing, fraud and other issues involving credit cards. This is good news all around!  It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of today’s busy world, but knowing where to turn can help you see clearly.

What are some ways you can submit your consumer complaints? Read on for some tips. Those of us in a cell phone contract know that we may occasionally see random charges and taxes. I was looking at my cell phone bill today and noticed a charge of $18 for a one time upgrade fee. Considering that I’ve been with AT&T for over 10 years, I felt this fee was wrongly imposed on me. I called them up and asked them why I was being charged. The customer service rep told me it was because I renewed my contract for another two years. I politely told him that I’ve never been charged this fee and when I called last time, they waived it for me. He paused and said he would look into it. Four minutes later, the fee had been waived and he was thanking me for being a valued customer. Funny how a simple phone call can save you money.

So, make sure you check your phone bill every month. You never know what unwarranted fees and charges may be lurking in the details.

The Federal Trade Commission is a great resource for filing consumer complaints. Ever been a victim of identity theft? It can be a scary thing, checking your credit report and finding accounts open in your name that YOU never opened. Make sure you get regular copies of your credit report so you can monitor any fraudulent activities. You can get a free credit report every year at Annual Credit Report or by calling them at 1-877-322-8228. If you find an error on your report, immediately call the credit agency–Equifax, Experian or TransUnion–and tell them to remove it.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another big resource where you can report any complaints. If you have experienced any disputes or disagreements with a company, you can go to the BBB and submit a complaint. The BBB will then forward your complaint to the business and they have 14 days to respond. You will be notified regarding their response of lack thereof. BBB is also a great place to check out a business if you aren’t too sure of their credibility. They even have an infographic of the top online scams of 2010. So, don’t get scammed, get smart.

What are some resources you use for consumer complaints? Do you have any personal dissatisfied consumer stories?

Comments (10)

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  1. jbh2kplus

    3 years ago

    Yelp. Some business owners respond.

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  2. stella.louise

    3 years ago

    Yelp can indeed be effective–if the business owner has good customer service practices. I wrote a pretty pi$$y review based on a bad experience and the owner called me, apologized, fixed things and offered to do my next purchase for free.

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  3. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    Hubby used BBB threat in the pass. My son almost got jilted on a car towing experience. Was quoted one thing on phone and driver demanded another. After a few heated phone calls from hubby, we got our son’s money back. The BBB is a great way to get a complaint in for no “credible” business wants a bad mark on their company’s ranking.

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  4. SavingsIQ

    3 years ago

    Agree with Stella. I wrote a bad review for a restaurant and the manager emailed me, apologized and invited me to come back.

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  5. LisaMaloney

    3 years ago

    I’ve had some success with going up the company ladder — if managers aren’t helpful, write to the owner, president or CEO. Also: If the company’s part of a chain, you can contact a different store/location to see if they can fix what the others did wrong. My mother had some issues with an extremely rude car salesman. She ended up getting a GREAT deal from another dealership in the same chain after she let company HQ know about the problem.

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  6. McPants

    3 years ago

    I’m a (shameless) believer in markets and consumer power – what better way to vote than with your wallet? The online marketplace completely revolutionized the customer feedback loop, in a sense rendering bureaus like the consumer protection agency moot. Nevertheless transparency is always a good thing when and where hard earned money is at stake.

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  7. LKnerl

    3 years ago

    wow! That $18 fee is surprising. I was charged the same fee, but only because I upgraded my iphone to a newer version when I renewed my contract. The $18 = a free phone. Glad you didn’t settle for this wonky fee!

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  8. SavingsIQ

    3 years ago

    @ Lkneri- I got the charged the $18 when I upgraded to the 4S. you should totally call and get it waived. Most people don’t know about it, but AT&T figures they can make $18 for everyone who doesn’t complain.

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  9. savingtools.com

    3 years ago

    Thanks for this. Super important information every consumer should have.

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