CFPB proposes adding narratives to complaint database

The CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database is a publicly accessible, online database of consumer financial complaints. It includes anonymous information about the complaints received, including the date of submission, the consumer’s zip code, the relevant company, the product type, the issue the consumer is complaining about, and the company’s response. Although when a consumer enters information he or she may provide a narrative, to date, the publicly accessible database has not included narratives.

Yesterday, the CFPB issued a proposal to add consumers’ narrative descriptions to the public database. The proposal would also allow the company about which the consumer is complaining to submit a narrative response that would appear next to the consumer's narrative.

The CFPB explained: “Publishing consumer narratives would provide important context to the complaint, help the public to detect specific trends in the market, aid consumer decision-making, and drive improved consumer service.”

Industry representatives have in the past opposed including narratives in the database (although they have also opposed from the start including any specific information at all).

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