David Brancaccio: In Washington, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been asking people to send in stories about financial scams, crooked pay-day lenders, murky mortgage documents, and other shenanigans.
It’s formulating its first list of shame, as Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports.
John Dimsdale: In a video on the CFPB’s website, director Richard Cordray puts a high priority on gathering consumer complaints.
Richard Cordray: Join us. Work with us. Help us make it so. Visit consumerfinance.gov and tell us your story today.
Compiling a national database of consumer grievances helps the agency know where to focus resources, says veteran consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Plus, he says, the bureau can use the complaints to respond to political opponents.
Ralph Nader: It’s very effective to say ‘well senator/representative, send one of your staff over and see all the responses from Americans around the country.’
But a former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission, Todd Zywicki, says compiling complaints doesn’t necessarily lead to good consumer policy.
Todd Zywicki: You want to measure that against the total number of people using these products and that sort of thing, before we leap to conclusions just based on anecdotal evidence.
Complaints about credit cards will be released soon by the CFPB. Whether the bureau reveals gripes about other financial products is still to be determined.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.