CFPB Consumer Complaint Bulletin Highlights Consumers’ Difficulties During Pandemic

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new complaint bulletin covering several areas of concern related to relief provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium. Some consumers reported facing homelessness because of the negative impact of an eviction on their credit history reported by debt collectors. Consumers were also deprived of the full benefit of the economic impact payments as a result of overdraft practices at some financial institutions, and not all student loan borrowers were able to get the timely information and assistance they needed from their student loan servicer to get the full benefit of the variety of federal loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge programs offered through the CARES Act.

As of May 2021, an estimated 6.7 million renter householders were behind on their rental payments.. Consumers contacting the CFPB reported financial distress caused by the pandemic. Many of these consumers reported that they were current on rental payments before the pandemic, only to fall behind after losing their jobs due to the pandemic.

Consumers reported multiple issues with debt collection practices related to eviction, such as receiving notices for outstanding account balances -- in some cases for amounts higher than their rent payments -- for apartments they had been evicted from earlier in the pandemic. Other consumers reported receiving collection notices for charges they viewed as questionable, such as fees for damaged property or outstanding utility balances.

Some consumers have reported receiving debt collection notices following an eviction for outstanding account balances for apartments they had been evicted from earlier in the pandemic. Other consumers reported concerns that their eviction would have detrimental effects on their ability to secure future housing.

  • In March, the CFPB and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint statement on preventing illegal evictions.
  • In April, the CFPB issued an interim final rule to address certain debt collector conduct associated with the eviction moratorium issued by the CDC.
  • In May, the CFPB and the FTC put the nation’s largest landlords on notice that tenants must be fully informed of their rights under federal law before any eviction process starts.

Read the full press release HERE.