Report: Capital One tops state credit card complaint list

Rockford Third Ward Ald. Tom McNamara

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Capital One is the least-favorite credit card company among Illinois consumers, according to a report released Tuesday, Jan. 14, by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

The report includes statistics from the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that indicate Illinois cardholders filed more complaints about Capital One than any other credit card issuer between November 2011 and September 2013.

During that time, the CFPB logged more than 25,000 complaints in Illinois, including the 1,044 filed against Capital One.

Capital One was followed by Citibank (954 complaints), Bank of America (712), JP Morgan Chase (634), American Express (426), GE Capital Retail (283), Discover (213), Wells Fargo (208), Barclays (158) and U.S. Bancorp (129).

“For years, consumers who fell prey to the tricks and traps of credit card companies had nowhere to turn,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. “We created the CFPB to give consumers a voice and an ally against financial industry abuses. By collecting consumer complaints about credit card providers and shining a light on them, CFPB is helping consumers obtain real relief that will help them pay their bills and provide for their families. I commend Illinois PIRG for its report shining a light on these issues.”

In addition to complaints, the CFPB helps consumers avoid various fees, rate increases and penalties under provisions of the 2009 Credit CARD Act. Since 2012, the bureau has successfully taken actions against American Express, Capital One, Chase, Discover, and GE Capital Retail, resulting in refunds of more than $800 million. The average amount of relief was approximately $128 per customer.

Nationally, Capital One ranked second in complaints, behind GE Capital Retail.

“Illinois PIRG and the CFPB stand up for the people of our state by shedding light on an industry that has the power to hurt consumers without accountability,” Rockford Ald. Tom McNamara, D-3, said. “The CFPB translates complex fine print so consumers can make educated financial decisions. This report reveals how a watchdog like the CFPB is essential to protect all of us from exploitation.”

The CFPB was formed in 2011, a year after Congress passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bureau’s primary role is to protect consumers from predatory and abusive tactics by banks and other financial institutions.

Since 1987, the Illinois Public Interest Group has run campaigns against unsafe ingredients in food, abusive banking practices and poor public health.

Posted Jan. 14, 2014

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