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Top Credit Card Complaints: Billing, APRs

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports on top credit card complaints.What are your biggest credit card gripes?

For those who have complained to the government in recent months, the top problems focus on billing disputes, credit card interest rates and identity theft or other fraud.

Back in July, we told you the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was looking for your top credit card complaints. By the end of October, the government’s financial watchdog had received more than 5,000.

And this week, it was out with a report on what it learned.

From the report:

First, many complaints show consumers struggling to understand the terms of credit cards and associated products like debt protection services. These show a mismatch between consumer understanding and product function or issuer practice.

Second, complaints have revealed allegedly fraudulent charges to consumers’ credit cards made by third parties. The complaint system has identified recurring scams and helped to obtain redress for defrauded consumers. In some cases, the Bureau has conferred with appropriate criminal authorities.

Third, there are a large volume of complaint cases in which the issuer and consumer present conflicting factual accounts. In many such cases, however, issuers have been willing to resolve the complaint.

The companies say they have resolved in full or part nearly three-quarters of all complaints the CFPB forwarded to them, according to the report.

Overall, there were nearly three dozen different categories of complaints, from advertising to customer service.

One of the topics with the fewest complaints: those annoying “convenience checks” the credit card companies issue ad nauseum hoping you’ll take on more debt.

Those checks, which immediately hit the trash (shredded, of course) when I get them, are my biggest credit card complaint.

But while it’s nice trivia to know that cardholders in general have problems with billing, unfortunately, this report lacks any context.

Indeed, while “billing disputes” are listed as the No. 1 complaint, there’s no explanation about what that means. Do consumers think they’re being overbilled or is the statement just getting lost in the mail? Hard to tell.

The bureau has proposed releasing more information to the public, but it doesn’t plan to release the most useful information — the narrative of what happened and how it was resolved — out of privacy fears. Both the consumer and the company can submit these narratives.

Still, the CFPB is seeking input on the proposed policy. Go to to voice your opinion.

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Comments (3)
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3 Existing Comments
  1. smitty said:
    on December 1st at 10:32 am

    My biggest credit card gripe is the false sense of power and entitlement they give people.

  2. DaveB said:
    on December 2nd at 11:54 am

    My friend found an unauthorized charge on her Best Buy credit card, and she had a heck of a time convincing them it was wrong — even though it was made in another state (and there were no other charges from that location) and was only for about $20. So, either some employee was running a scam or it was a simple error.

  3. Earl said:
    on December 6th at 12:30 am

    My most recent problem was with an anti-virus company renewing my expired subscription without my permission. Even though my card had expired, and they had sent me several e-mails notifying that I needed to update my cc info in order to renew their sub., they went ahead and charged my credit card for $85. Man, was PO’d. I wrote them an e-mail and they said they only did it because most customers want their subs. to go on without interruption and they were only doing what they thought I wanted; they credited me back, but I will badmouth this company for their greediness from now until eternity. I will not say their name but I will say it starts with an M. I now use something that starts with an A, it’s free, and works ten times better.