The new U.S. consumer financial watchdog said there is a lot of confusion about the terms of credit cards based on complaints it has received from cardholders in recent months.
The agency on Wednesday released the first batch of data collected on credit card complaints since it opened for business on July 21.
When consumers contact us, we get a snapshot of how the consumer finance markets are working, Raj Date, the Treasury
Department advisor running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a statement. And we are learning that there is a lot of consumer confusion about credit card terms.
The agency said that between July 21 and October 21 it received 5,074 complaints from credit card customers. The complaints varied but at the top of the list were billing disputes and fraud concerns.
The agency said of the 4,254 complaints it forwarded to card issuers, the companies have said 74 percent have been at least partially resolved. In 71 percent of these cases the customer did not disagree.
Created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, the bureau is charged with policing markets for products like credit cards and mortgages.
The agency has been heralded by consumer advocates but it was opposed by the financial industry, which warned it represents a regulatory overreach.
A proposal to publicly release a database of the complaints, was also issued by the bureau on Wednesday. It would hold back most information about the cardholder but will name the bank or other card issuer on the receiving end of the complaint.
The industry has complained this could provide an incomplete picture about their products.
The agency said that where there are differences of opinion over what the data represents about an issuer it expects there will be a public debate that will allow consumers to reach their own conclusions.
(Reporting by Dave Clarke; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)