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