Whether you’re opening a bank account or applying for a loan, dealing with a bank or any financial institution can get quite intimidating. Given their size and complicated terms of service, it is easy to feel like they have the upper hand. The good news is that as a consumer, you have rights to protect your finances, as well as experience, when dealing with any financial institutions.
To avoid any unpleasant experience, remember your rights as a consumer:
Right to be heard.
Have you ever visited a local bank or called their customer services to lodge a complaint but had your words fall on deaf ears? This is common in the past, but times are changing. Especially with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB) actively cracking down on banks and financial institutions for unfair practices, banks now make it a point to hear their consumers. Some even go as far as monitoring social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, for any complaints or negative posts about them – and responding to them!
Right to file a complaint against banks and financial institutions.
Even with the CFPB’s mandate, there might still be cases where your complaints are ignored. When this happens, contact the governing agency. The CFPB itself will communicate with your bank regarding this abuses.
To file a complaint, just visit the CFPB’s website (consumerfinance.gov). Then click “Submit a Complaint” on the menu and follow the instructions on how to file a complaint. The website allows you to check your complaint’s status. It also has a feature that allows consumers to tell their story or experiences.
Right to protect yourself against bank collectors.
“Zombie debt collectors” are everywhere these days. They prey on consumers and capitalize on their fear of identity theft or financial fraud. They make clueless consumer believe that they have debt that need paying even they don’t have.
If a debt collector suddenly shows up on your doorstep asking you to pay some money you don’t remember borrowing, hold them off and verify the claim. And even if you do have debt, do not allow debt collectors harass or bully you.
Remember that no debt collectors are allowed to:
- Claim false statement about you
- Give false information about their company
- Threaten you with legal action or physical harm
- Harass you by incessantly calling your home or work
- Speak to you in profane or verbally abusive language
File a complaint to the financial institution or bank the collectors are associated with, or better yet to the FCPB, if you have experienced any of the above.