On January 11, 2021, we published a post providing a topline look at the 2020 consumer complaints to the CFPB. The post was based on Recovery Decision Science’s interactive CFPB Complaints Dashboard in Tableau Public. CLICK HERE to read that post.

In today’s post, we’ll summarize the CFPB’s formal 2020 complaints report, which was published on March 24. In particular, the report focused heavily on the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on the U.S. economy, especially with regard to the increased level of consumer complaints.


The CFPB received approximately 542,300 consumer complaints in 2020, a 54% increase in complaints compared to 2019’s 352,400. 

  • As of February 1, 2021, the CFPB sent 456,100 (84%) of the complaints to companies for review and response.  As we’ll cover in our 2021 update below, 98% of those complaints were responded to in a timely manner.
  • Companies confirmed a commercial relationship with the named consumer and provided a substantive response to the consumer and CFPB (i.e. “closed with monetary relief,” “closed with non-monetary relief,” “closed with explanation”) to approximately 436,400 complaints in 2020.
  • In terms of complaints by product in services, you’ll see from the table below that the three categories with the most complaints were credit and consumer reporting, debt collection and credit cards:
  • From a geographic perspective, Florida generated the most complaints, with the fewest complaints reported in South Dakota. The chart below provides details by state:


On March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFPB immediately began to track pandemic-related problems reported by consumers.

Beginning in April, 2020, consumers submitted more than 3,000 complaints per month limited to[SA1] pandemic-related keywords. By the end of the year, the Bureau had received approximately 32,100 pandemic-related complaints, with the monthly breakout below.


Consumers provided their age in approximately 26% of all 2020 complaint submissions. For those consumers indicating they were 62 years of age or older at the time of submission, complaints were more frequently made about credit cards, mortgages and checking/savings accounts, as seen below:


The CFPB sent 456,100 complaints to approximately 3,350 companies for review and response in 2020. As the chart below illustrates, there are five response categories, the three most notable being:

  • Closed with monetary relief: The consumer received objective, measurable and verifiable financial relief.
  • Closed with non-monetary relief: These were cases resolved by actions such as stopping unwanted collections calls or fixing incorrect account information.
  • Closed with explanation: Indicates that there were steps taken by the company in response to the complaint, and included a response that was tailored to the individual consumer’s complaint.

The balance of CFPB’s 2020 complaints report breaks down each complaint category in detail with regard to how complaints were resolved.  To view the full report, CLICK HERE.


As we look at the current 2021 CFPB Complaints Dashboard (updated in real time), we see that there has been a dramatic decline in complaints in the early part of this year. There were 33,545 complaints filed in March, 2021, a 31% reduction from the all-time high of 48,368 complaints filed in December, 2020. Generally, March’s complaint total is in line with monthly totals seen prior to the start of the pandemic. 

As you can see, and was noted earlier in this post, 98% of all CFPB complaints were responded to on a timely basis. 

To check out the RDS Interactive CFPB Complaints Dashboard, CLICK HERE

And, again, CLICK HERE to see the complete CFPB report on 2020 consumer complaints.

To learn more about Recovery Decision Science contact:

Kacey Rask : Vice-President, Portfolio Servicing

[email protected] / 513.489.8877, ext. 261