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A snapshot of complaints made by older consumers

June 05, 2017 / Source: CFPB

By Stacy Canan – MAY 31, 2017

May is Older Americans Month and this year’s theme is “Age Out Loud,” a celebration of the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages. One way older consumers make themselves heard is by speaking up about unique experiences and problems they and many others face when using a financial product or service.

[Older consumer vs. under 62 consumer complaints by financial products]

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We're listening.

More than 100,000 of the complaints we’ve handled since we opened our doors in July 2011 have been from consumers who tell us they are 62 and older. Every complaint we receive gives us insight into problems that people are experiencing in the marketplace and helps us to identify and prioritize problems for potential action. The result: better outcomes for consumers, and a better financial marketplace for everyone.

Today we're releasing a report that highlights the issues raised in these complaints, including those that are unique to, or have unique effects for, older consumers.  The report also features the financial products that older consumers are more likely to submit than their younger counterparts:

Traditional mortgages: Many complaints from older consumers relate to servicing problems resulting from transfers to a new servicer, and failure to adjust borrowers’ escrow payment amount after enrolling in a tax relief program (due to age, income, ownership status, or disability status).

Reverse mortgages: Older consumers often mention foreclosures due to non-payment of property taxes or homeowners insurance, as well as servicing problems that result in foreclosure proceedings for surviving spouses that the Bureau previously reported in its 2014 snapshot of reverse mortgage complaints.

Credit cards: Many complaints from older consumers focus on problems resulting from dealing with billing disputes, identity theft, fraud, and unwanted subscription services, like credit monitoring.

Bank accounts and services: Complaints from older consumers often show the difficulties consumers encounter after they fall victim to fraud or identity theft. Many surviving spouses express difficulty navigating account management following the death of a spouse. Additionally, family members describe roadblocks when attempting to use a power of attorney to manage an older consumer’s bank account. 

Learn more in our monthly complaint report.

The Office for Older Americans regularly monitors complaints and produces educational materials to assist older consumers as they navigate the financial marketplace.

If you or someone you care for is having a problem with a financial consumer product or service, you may submit a complaint online or call us toll free at (855) 411-CFPB (2372), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. We provide complaint-handling services to people in more than 180 languages and to those who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities through the our toll-free telephone number.