MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Consumer Watchdog-Power to the People with Consumer Financial Protection

Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Nov 09, 2012 @ 12:12 PM


consumer watchdogIf you’ve ever attempted to correct errors that appear on your credit report, you know first-hand how frustrating an exercise that can be. Good news America - that’s all about to change for the better.

President Obama, with much help and concerted effort from newly elected Senator Elizabeth Warren, established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over the strong objections of House and Senate Republicans.

Of the many mandates the CFPB has, perhaps the one that inspires me most is their ability to help American’s challenge errors in their credit report. Quoting from a recent article that appeared in Politico:

“The companies that put your credit score together can make mistakes,” Obama said in remarks recently. “They may think you had a loan or a credit card that was never yours. They may think you were late making payments when you were on time. And when they mess up, you’re the one who suffers.

“Until this week, if you had a complaint, you took it to the company,” Obama said. “Sometimes they listened. Sometimes they didn’t. But that was pretty much it. They were your only real hope.

“Not anymore. If you have a complaint about your credit score that hasn’t been properly addressed, you can go to consumerfinance.gov/complaint and let the consumer watchdog know,” Obama said.

“Not only will they bring your complaint directly to the company in question, they’ll give you a tracking number, so you can check back and see exactly what’s being done on your behalf,” Obama said.

“Their only mission is to fight for you. And when needed, they’ll take action,” he said. “That’s what Wall Street reform is all about – looking out for working families and making sure that everyone is playing by the same rules.

“Sadly, that hasn’t been enough to stop Republicans in Congress from fighting these reforms. Backed by an army of financial industry lobbyists, they’ve been waging an all-out battle to delay, defund and dismantle these new rules,” Obama said. “I refuse to let that happen.”

Tracking number for your complaint - consumer agency with true power - firms that make mistakes being held accountable…this all sounds like the kind of consumer watchdog agency Ralph Nader would be proud of.

You can read the full story that appeared in Politico here.


photo credit by http://www.flickr.com/photos/qole/