Bank and Credit Product Complaints
If you have a problem with your bank, financial institution, lender, broker, or any other financial service provider, you should report it. To guide you through the process of filing these types of complaints, the Federal Reserve offers consumer help and the following tips:
- First, try to resolve it with the manager at the branch location, the customer service hotline, or the institution's website.
- When filing your complaint, clearly explain your problem and how you would like it to be resolved. Use this sample complaint letter for tips on what information to include in your complaint.
- Be sure to have copies of receipts, checks, or other proof of the transaction.
If you don't get your problem resolved using these tips, you have the right to get help from the correct regulatory agency.
Complaints About Deposit Accounts
Financial institutions are regulated by different government agencies, depending on how the institution was chartered.
Use the Federal Reserve System's financial institution search tool to find out which agency accepts complaints about the financial institution you need to file a complaint against. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offers the contact information for the primary federal agencies that regulate financial institutions.
Complaints About Other Financial Services
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accepts complaints involving loan products, such as mortgage companies, car loans and leases, student loans, payday loans, and any other consumer loans. This agency also accepts complaints about other financial services, such as credit cards, prepaid cards, money transfers, and debt collection.
File a complaint about investments with the Securities and Exchange Commission or your state's securities regulator. These agencies accept complaints about investment fraud, pyramid schemes, or other violations of federal and state securities laws.
Complaints About Mortgage Companies
If you have a complaint against a mortgage company, try to resolve it with the company first. Several government agencies accept complaints about mortgage lenders. In some cases, you should file your complaint with more than one agency, especially at the federal and state level.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforces the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This law prohibits lenders from denying credit because of certain characteristics. File a complaint with the CFPB if a lender has denied a mortgage application because of your:
- Sex (including gender)
- Marital status
- Nationality or ethnicity
- Income from public assistance programs
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act. This law prohibits discrimination when you rent, buy, or secure financing for a home. Your state may also have a similar law. File a complaint with (HUD) and the fair housing office in your state if a mortgage company discriminated against you because of your:
- National origin
- Presence of children
Mortgage Origination and Servicing
The CFPB enforces several laws, such as the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. These laws require lenders to disclose information to homebuyers before buying and over the life of the mortgage. File a complaint with the CFPB if you have a problem with a new or existing mortgage. Examples of common mortgage complaints include:
- Applying for a mortgage
- Receiving loan estimates and closing documents
- Transferring a mortgage to another servicer
- Applying your payments correctly
- Refinancing or modifying a mortgage loan
- Misreporting mortgage account status to you or to credit reporting agencies
- Requiring private mortgage insurance
- Paying additional fees
Deception and Scams
The Federal Trade Commission Act states that unfair and deceptive practices affecting commerce are unlawful. Report a mortgage company to the Federal Trade Commission if it makes deceptive statements, omits important facts, or takes misleading actions. Examples include:
- False statements about their ability to offer a loan
- Fees for mortgage services that aren’t provided
- Illegal tactics to collect on mortgage balances
Also, file a complaint with your state consumer protection office about a mortgage fraud or scam. Submit a complaint about a foreclosure scam with the HOPE NOW Alliance. Call 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673) or (TTY 1-877-304-9709).
Mandatory Arbitration Clauses
Mandatory arbitration clauses are phrases written into contracts that state that if you have a dispute with a company, you must resolve it through arbitration. These clauses can prevent you from filing a lawsuit against a company. Arbitration clauses are fairly common in automotive, credit card, and cell phone contracts. But now, they are appearing in website terms and conditions statements, coupons, or corporate social media profiles. While arbitration can be less expensive, it is sometimes seen as unfair to make arbitration a requirement before a negative incident has happened or knowing how serious the problem is. Also, the decisions are binding, so you can’t appeal the decision, even if the company was severely negligent.
Before you sign a contract or even use a website, read the contract or terms of service for mentions of “arbitration”, “binding arbitration” or “resolution programs”; this language is often in the fine print of the contract and can be easily missed. Also, note that some companies may let you opt-out of these clauses, if you do so within 30 days.
Do you need help?
Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free.
We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.
Last Updated: September 27, 2018