Reports on Consumer Protection

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Consumer Protection. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit Full archive coming soon.

Debt Collectors: CFPB Data Reveal Consumer Complaints by Company

For most of its history, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has stood up for consumers, including by publishing detailed analyses of financial complaints. However, the CFPB's latest report fails to include the names of companies that receive the most complaints for abusive debt collection practices. This new analysis fills in the gaps, telling the story the Trump administration won’t about the problems consumers face with debt collection agencies across America.

(June 2018)
Shining a Light on Consumer Problems: The Case for Public Access to the CFPB’s Financial Complaints Database

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is considering removing public access to the CFPB's online repository of more than one million complaints related to consumer problems with financial products. The Consumer Complaint Database provides revealing data on problems that affect millions of Americans - and removing it from public access would deprive consumers of a critical tool for understanding and protecting themselves from interactions in an increasingly complex marketplace.

(June 2018)
Older Consumers in the Financial Marketplace: An Analysis of Complaints, and Results, From the CFPB

Older consumers are at risk of harm from predatory financial behavior. An analysis of more than 72,000 financial complaints submitted by older consumers (those 62 years of age and older) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB, or Consumer Bureau) and contained in its Consumer Complaint Database suggests that mistreatment of older consumers by financial companies is widespread.

(October 2017)
Used Car Roulette: CarMax Doubles Down on Selling Unsafe Recalled Vehicles

CarMax, the nation's largest retailer of used vehicles, is selling recalled vehicles that contain dangerous safety defects. In a survey of nearly 1,700 vehicles for sale at eight CarMax locations – four in Massachusetts, two in California, and two in Connecticut – more than one in four vehicles (27 percent) were found to contain unrepaired safety recalls.

(September 2017)
Protecting Those Who Serve: How the CFPB Safeguards Military Members and Veterans from Abuse in the Financial Marketplace

The men and women who serve in America’s military are also active consumers in America’s financial marketplace, where tricks and traps can cause harm to their finances and their lives. An analysis of more than 44,000 complaints submitted by active duty servicemembers and military veterans to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and contained in its Consumer Complaint Database finds that mistreatment of servicemembers by financial companies is widespread.

(June 2017)
Medical Debt Malpractice: Consumer Complaints About Medical Debt Collectors, and How the CFPB Can Help

Medical debt collectors often employ aggressive tactics and attempt to collect debt from the wrong customers – putting consumers' credit records at risk. Medical debt accounts for more than half of all collection items that appear on consumer credit reports. A review of 17,701 medical debt collection complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows that problems with medical debt collection are widespread and harm Americans across the country.

(April 2017)
Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees: The CFPB Defends Consumers Against Harmful and Deceptive Fees

Through the first three quarters of 2016, 626 large banks reported collecting $8.4 billion in revenue from overdraft and NSF fees, an increase of 3.6 percent over the same period in 2015. American consumers should look to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has already enforced overdraft regulations and returned millions of dollars to consumers, to take new action to prevent unfair overdraft fees.

(December 2016)
Shining Rewards: The Value of Rooftop Solar Power for Consumers and Society

Net energy metering has been instrumental in the rapid growth of solar energy in the United States, making it more affordable for people to “go solar” and enabling solar panel owners to earn fair compensation for benefits they provide to other users of the electricity grid and to society at large. The 11 studies reviewed in Shining Rewards demonstrate that the value created by solar energy – in avoided energy losses, reduced need for capital investment in the grid and reduced greenhouse gas emissions – is often higher than the compensation solar panel owners earn through net metering. 

(June 2015)
Trouble in Toyland: The 29th Annual Survey of Toy Safety

Despite strong standards for toy safety established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy companies continue to sell potentially dangerous toys. Trouble in Toyland explains the types of hazards that toys may present to children, and identifies specific examples of those hazards found on store shelves. This year's report includes numerous choking hazards and five toys with concentrations of toxics exceeding federal standards. The continued presence of these hazards in toys highlights the need for constant vigilance on the part of government agencies and the public to ensure that children do not end up playing with unsafe toys.

(December 2014)
Credit Cards, Consumer Complaints: The CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Credit Card Holders

Despite the benefits to consumers brought by enactment of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD) Act of 2009, consumer complaints about credit cards remain common. Credit Cards, Consumer Complaints examines the more than 25,000 complaints Americans filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit cards between November 2011 and September 2013 to identify the companies receiving the most complaints and the most frequent problems consumers are experiencing in the credit card marketplace.

(March 2014)
Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints: The CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades. Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, to educate consumers about these practices, and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them. This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection, with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints.


(February 2014)
Big Credit Bureaus, Big Complaints: The CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Victims of Credit Reporting Errors

One in 20 Americans has an error on one or more of their credit reports that could affect the prices they pay for financial products. Big Credit Reports, Big Complaints - the third in a series of analyses of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database - documents the frequent problems consumers experience with credit reports, as well as the major credit bureaus' responses to consumer complaints. It shows that the CFPB complaints process has helped thousands of consumers fix erroneous information on their credit reports, obtain the free annual credit reports to which they are legally entitled, and obtain other forms of relief from major credit bureaus.

(November 2013)
Private Loans, Public Complaints: The CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Student Borrowers

Private student loans (PSLs) are typically far more risky and expensive for consumers seeking a way to pay for college than federally-backed student loans. Private student loans, like credit cards, generally offer variable interest rates that are higher for those borrowers with the least means. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Consumer Complaint Database sheds light on the problems borrowers face with private student loans and enables the public to evaluate which lenders and servicers receive the most complaints. Private Loans, Public Complaints is the second in a series of reports examining patterns in complaints to the CFPB about various sectors of the financial services industry and how those complaints are resolved.

(October 2013)
Big Banks, Big Complaints: CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Consumers

Established in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) helps protect consumers from dangerous and unfair practices in the marketplace for financial services. Addressing consumer complaints is a major part of the CFPB's mission, and the agency's Consumer Complaint Database is a rich source of information about the challenges consumers face in the financial marketplace. Big Banks, Big Complaints is the first of a series of reports examining patterns in consumer complaints to the CFPB, focusing specifically on complaints about bank accounts and services.

(September 2013)
Still in the Dark: California Consumers' Search for Answers About How Companies Share Their Personal Information

Consumers often have little knowledge of, or control over, how companies with which they do business share their personal information. In 2003, California enacted the first-of-its-kind “Shine the Light” law, which gave consumers tools to learn about sharing of their personal information. Still in the Dark reports on California consumers’ experiences with using the law to find out about the sharing of personal information and concludes that both companies and policy-makers need to do a better job of protecting consumers’ privacy.

(December 2007)