An analysis of credit card complaints found that one issuer rose to the top. Is it a card in your wallet?
If you’re a Capital One cardholder and feel like pulling out your hair, you’re not alone. According to an analysis, the credit card company has the distinction of being on the receiving end of the most customer complaints.
More than 5,000 complaints against Capital One were filed with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau between November 2011 and September 2013.
However, the company certainly wasn’t the only one consumers complained about. Ten card issuers accounted for 93 percent of the credit card complaints made to the bureau.
All told, the CFPB received more than 25,000 complaints about credit cards in that two-year period.
Then, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy organization, sliced and diced those numbers to determine which companies got the most complaints and why consumers were upset. In terms of actual numbers, the following are the companies garnering the most complaints.
- Capital One — 5,265 complaints.
- Citibank — 4,514 complaints.
- Bank of America — 3,320 complaints.
- Chase — 3,176 complaints.
- GE Capital Retail — 2,087 complaints.
However, if you consider the number of complaints a company receives compared with its purchase volume, you get a slightly different picture. When purchase volume is considered, these three companies had the highest complaint ratio:
- GE Capital Retail — 88 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.
- Capital One — 46 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.
- Barclays — 25 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.
What makes customers mad
In addition to breaking down complaints by company, U.S. PIRG looked at why consumers were complaining. According to that analysis, billing disputes were the No. 1 reason customers complained to the CFPB.
Overall, in terms of the percentage of complaints, the following were the top five categories.
- Billing disputes — 16 percent.
- APR or interest rate — 10 percent.
- Identity theft, fraud or embezzlement — 7 percent.
- Credit reporting — 7 percent.
- Closing or canceling an account — 7 percent.
How credit card companies respond
In 60 percent of cases, the companies provided an explanation and the CFPB closed the complaint.
Nearly 30 percent of complaints were closed with the company providing some form of monetary relief. For GE Capital Retail, 2 in 5 complaints ended in monetary relief. By comparison, only 1 in 5 American Express complaints ended the same way. The median paid across all companies was $128, according to U.S. PIRG.
Another 10 percent of complainants received some form of non-monetary relief when their complaint was closed. Examples of non-monetary relief include APR adjustments, changes to card terms, or the correction of information sent to credit bureaus.
In 20 percent of the cases, consumers disputed the explanation or resolution offered by their card issuer. The analysis said:
Of the 10 companies with the most overall complaints, the company with the greatest proportion of disputed responses was American Express, with just over a quarter of responses disputed. Of these same companies, GE Capital Retail had the lowest proportion of disputed responses, at 14 percent.
You can submit a complaint to the CFPB here.
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