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CFPB taking your card complaints

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Friday, July 22, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

On Wednesday, I told you about how the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will help credit card holders. One of the things I mentioned is that the CFPB will start taking complaints about credit cards.

Lo and behold, the agency already is offering an easy online form to hear from you. Talk about quick, especially since the agency just got up and running Thursday.

Before the CFPB came into being, credit card holders wishing to complain to their issuer's regulator had to first determine which of five different agencies to contact. Going forward, all credit card holders can take their issues to the CFPB.

What to expect when you file a complaint

The form is easy to find. On the CFPB home page, it's the terra-cotta-colored button with a credit card on it. Appropriately, it's labeled "submit a credit card complaint." Click.

The form has four steps. The first asks you to describe what happened in your own words as well as categorize the problem using a handy drop-down menu. It also asks if you believe discrimination was involved, if you lost money, the date of the incident and what you have done to attempt resolution.

The next step asks you to provide what you think would be best resolution for this issue.  (That's my favorite part.) The last two steps involve providing your personal and credit card account information, including the number. The CFPB will forward your complaint to your credit card issuer.

Right now, the agency is taking credit card complaints ONLY. For complaints about, say, a checking account or another financial product, the site will direct you to the appropriate government agency based on your answers to its "consumer questions and complaints" questionnaire. In the coming months, the CFPB will start taking complaints about other financial products.

The credit card complaint center isn't the only place where you can voice an opinion on the CFPB website. I poked around and discovered the site has a place for your good or bad stories about financial products.

On the home page, click "Tell Your Story." You just describe what happened, tag the product involved (such as mortgage, credit card or savings account) and leave your email address. You also have the option to provide your name, ZIP code, phone number and whether you experienced the problem while working for a financial company. Whistleblowers, anyone?

Do you think the CFPB's credit card complaint center will ultimately help keep the industry fair for consumers?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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