Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coordinating Consumer Complaints

On August 12, 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), allowing the CFPB to access consumer complaints within the FTC's Consumer Sentinel system.

This agreement implements a Dodd-Frank Act provision that requires the CFPB to share consumer complaint information with the FTC and other state and federal agencies. In addition, the CFPB will share complaint information that it receives from consumers with the Sentinel database, subject to appropriate privacy protections and access restrictions. 

According to the CFPB, the "goal is to make sure agencies coordinate their enforcement of consumer financial protection laws."
Consumer Sentinel

The FTC's Consumer Sentinel is used by law enforcement to track and respond to consumer complaints. It is an online database of consumer complaints maintained by the FTC. The complaints in the database touch on many financial matters, from advance-fee loans to credit scams, from debt collection to credit reports, and more. The database is accessible only to law enforcement.

Among the government entities that are using Consumer Sentinel are several state Attorneys General (including Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Non-governmental organizations include the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, MoneyGram International, the National Consumers League, Publishers Clearing House, Xerox Corporation, and the Better Business Bureaus.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Coordinating Consumer Complaints
Kent Markus
Deputy Director/Enforcement
August 12, 2011