SACRAMENTO June 5, 2018 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a coalition of 14 Attorneys General in submitting a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in support of preserving the CFPB’s public consumer complaint database. The database helps the public and law enforcement better understand which companies are receiving the most complaints and provides transparency as to actions taken against companies. The Attorneys General sent the letter following reports that the Trump Administration intends to shut down the database.
The consumer complaint database was created to comply with the CFPB’s legal obligation to collect, investigate, and respond to consumer complaints. It makes publicly available consumer complaints and any response or actions companies take to address these complaints. In the comment letter, the Attorneys General assert that the Trump Administration’s proposal would strip consumers of information necessary to make sound financial decisions, hamper the work of legal aid partners, and allow businesses to mistreat consumers without public scrutiny.
“In what world does it make sense to give consumers less critical information and transparency about a product or service they may purchase? What is the Trump Administration trying to hide? Shutting down CFPB’s consumer complaint database protects unscrupulous businesses, not consumers,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice has worked in partnership with CFPB to defend consumers against financial abuse, hold negligent companies accountable, and reward honest businesses. This work becomes much more difficult without the information and transparency made possible by the consumer complaint database. While the Trump Administration tries to take us back to the days when banks had more rights than consumers, Attorneys General across the country stand ready to fight against the erosion of consumer rights.”
In the letter, the Attorneys General argue that the database is a critical tool for law enforcement and helps identify fraud, scams, or irregular behavior. The letter also explains that the database helps the public by educating consumers and creating incentives for companies to treat their customers fairly. The information available in the consumer complaint database also reveals patterns of widespread misconduct. It represents a commitment by the CFPB to bring more transparency to financial transactions.
Attorney General Becerra joined the Attorneys General of New York, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington in sending the letter to the CFPB.