Top consumer complaints of 2017…and how to get yours resolved in 2018!

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If Equifax really got your goat in 2017, you certainly weren’t alone!

The credit bureau irked consumers from coast to coast with its catastrophic security breach that affected nearly 150 million U.S. consumers.

No wonder then it wins a most dubious distinction…

RELATED: The best way to file a complaint against your bank

CFPB: These were the biggest consumer complaints of 2017

LendEDU combed through 235,094 complaints that consumers aired with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last year and found Equifax was by far the most complained about financial institution in 2017.

The maligned credit bureau was the subject of 30,576 complaints across all states.

Other top problems areas last year included oldies but baddies like credit reporting and repair (87,908 complaints) and debt collection (46,648 complaints).

This chart details the main trouble areas consumers faced in 2017:

Nature of complaint Number of complaints received
Credit reporting and repair 87,908
Debt collection 46,648
Mortgage 29,445
Credit card or prepaid card 22,123
Bank, checking or savings account 18,634
Student loan 16,791
Personal loan or payday loan 6,809
Money transfer or virtual currency 3,074

Taking consumer complaints into your own hands

We’re entering a period of deregulation as a country that could see a drastic overhaul of the CFPB.

So while consumers have been able to rely on the organization in the past, it’s in your best interest going forward to know how to advocate for yourself when you have a problem with a company.

That often means complaining online to get the resolution you want when you’ve been wronged. But you’ve got to know how to do it the right way…

Follow this advice when you want complain online

  • Know your state’s law regarding SLAPP suits. Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are designed to threaten you with expensive and time-intensive litigation to deter you from posting a negative review. Know your state’s laws to understand what you legally can and can’t say in your review.
  • Avoid signing confidentiality agreements. While not common, some doctors do stipulate patients sign such an agreement before treatment. RateMDs.com has a Wall of Shame of doctors who have adopted this practice. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Stick strictly to the facts with your complaint. Keep it short, simple and factual; nothing more and nothing less.
  • Cool off. Write your complaint out and then take 24 hours to reflect on it before you post. Make sure your vitriol isn’t crowding out the facts in what you’ve written.
  • Realize that your veil of privacy can be pierced. You may think you’re writing a fairly anonymous review, but it is possible that information about your identity, IP address, and location could be subpoenaed at the request of an offended business. The privacy policy of the website where you post your comments isn’t likely to protect you either.
  • Know what to do if you are sued. In the worst case if you are sued, you may be covered by your homeowner’s policy for defamatory statements. Check with your insurer to see.
  • Remember, it all comes back to sticking strictly to the facts. Never post libelous comments that disparage anyone’s character. That’s the best way to stay out of trouble.

RELATED: Sample consumer complaint letter

Don’t let your debt go past due

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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