on Legal & Regulatory

FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network Reveals High-Risk Trends

The trends in consumer complaints provide telling data for companies looking to manage risk.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released their latest data book on consumer complaints, and the trends are telling of what’s concerning consumers.

Their 2016 Consumer Sentinel Network data book contains a collection of complaints submitted to government and non-profit agencies over the past calendar year. Complaints cover a range of topics, including fraud, identity theft, financial services products, and others. Law enforcement organizations access this network to understand the most common types of regulatory violations to inform their next enforcement actions.

Companies will want to track the consumer complaint trends that law enforcement agencies are seeing in the data book. Since companies cannot access the complaints like they can in the CFPB consumer complaint database, they should review these high-level trends to glean relevant info:

Overview
What’s in this data book?

- Over 13 million complaints from calendar year 2012 through calendar year 2016
- 3 million complaints from calendar year 2016

Top Complaints about Financial Services Products
Where do financial services product categories rank on this list?

1. Debt Collection – 859,090 complaints, 28% of total
5. Banks and Lenders – 143,987 complaints, 5% of total
8. Auto-Related Complaints (including auto loans) – 94,673 complaints, 3% of total
9. Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers, Report Users – 49,679 complaints, 2% of total
11. Credit Cards – 42,003, 1% of total
22. Mortgage Foreclosure Relief and Debt Management – 7,693, <1% of total

Top Data Contributors
Are you tracking all consumer complaints submitted to these organizations?

1. FTC – 37% of total complaints
2. PrivacyStar – 31% of total complaints
3. Council of BBB – 12% of total complaints
4. CFPB – 8% of total complaints
5. Publisher’s Clearing House – 4% of total complaints
6. MoneyGram International / Western Union – 4% of total complaints
7. State Law Enforcement Agencies – 3% of total complaints
8. US. Department of Treasury, IRS – 2% of total complaints
9. Others – 1% of total complaints

Naturally, the next step for law enforcement agencies, after seeing these stats, is to investigate companies mentioned in the complaints for non-compliant practices. To learn more about what agencies like the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will examine companies for, don’t miss the regulatory sessions at COMPLY2017. Our compliance and RegTech conference in June will bring together leading regulators from the FTC and CFPB, compliance professionals, and more to discuss the latest best practices in regulatory compliance.

The conference will also feature a Consumer Complaint Session to discuss how companies should handle consumer complaints in order to mitigate their risk for fines and other enforcement actions.


 

Claire Milazzo, VP of Marketing

As vice president of marketing, Claire oversees the company’s customer marketing, lead generation marketing, content strategy, events ​and corporate communications efforts. Claire has over 25 years of experience in media sales and marketing. Outside of work Claire loves to spend time with her family at the beach and soccer games.

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