Standing Up for Credit Card Customers' Right to Know
by Gavin Baker, 1/31/2012
Yesterday, the comment period ended on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) proposal to create an online database of customer complaints about credit card companies. Here's an update on where things stand:
We delivered more than 800 of your comments to the CFPB in response to our action alert. Thank you to everyone who stood up to support government transparency and consumers' right to know.
OMB Watch also filed detailed comments on the proposal. Above all, we emphasized how the CFPB's innovative proposal would benefit the public:
We applaud the CFPB's proposal as a thoughtful and innovative mechanism to empower consumers, improve market functioning, encourage corporate accountability, and uphold government transparency.
We also described some of the ways the database would help consumers. For instance, customers shopping for a credit card would be able to read about other customers' experiences and make more informed choices. Ultimately, transparency could foster competition by encouraging companies to change disliked practices or become more responsive to their customers.
Our comments also recommended a few changes to make the policy even stronger. Most importantly, we urged that the public be able to read a customer's actual complaint and the credit card company's response, which would allow the public to better understand and evaluate the complaints.
In addition to our filing, OMB Watch also signed onto a joint set of comments, spearheaded by Consumer Action and endorsed by 21 organizations, including the NAACP. The joint comments demonstrate the broad agreement that this proposal does right by consumers. We hope the CFPB will move forward expeditiously to turn this important idea into reality.