The rise of social media has made it easier for consumers to complain directly to a company about any customer service problems they encounter. Financial services companies are experiencing this phenomenon on a whole new level, thanks to a recently expanded public complaint database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB database enables customers to file a complaint online, and it allows the public to see what consumers complained about, and why. The database names companies, but allows complainants to remain anonymous.

A big concern for financial companies that are on the receiving end is that the complaints are not verified by the CFPB, said Ballard Spahr partner Alan S. Kaplinsky. “The aggregate data doesn’t really reveal at lot other than if you are a large bank, and you have a lot of customers, a certain number of them are going to complain. You are never going to be able to please everybody and more often than not, the complaints are not justified.”

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Consumer Financial Services