Who do I complain to about credit card companies?

Everybody answers to somebody, ultimately, and credit card companies are no exception. Since the middle of 2011, credit card companies have answered to the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That is not, however, the only option for filing a complaint about a credit card company.

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You can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in your state, with the Federal Trade Commission or with the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau can sometimes help you to resolve a specific complaint, but the other agencies listed above usually do not. The idea is that if the other agencies get enough complaints against a given credit card company, they will investigate it and take appropriate action.

Before filing a credit card complaint with an outside agency, you should always try to resolve the issue directly with the credit card company first. If you need to file a complaint with an outside agency about a credit card company, it is important to have documentation. Credit card statements and any correspondence between you and the credit card company should be copied and submitted to the agency that you’re complaining to.

What sort of complaints can you make about bank credit cards?

You can make any complaints that you want to about bank credit cards, but it doesn’t mean the agencies you report to will care. The reports that the agencies tend to care about the most include credit card fraud, interest rates that are misrepresented or illegally high, discriminatory lending, identity theft and billing issues.

In the first three months that they were open in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau handled over 5,000 complaints about credit cards. Of those complaints, the most were over billing issues, followed by high interest rates, someone opening a credit card in your name, and fraud.

How can you avoid problems with bank credit card companies or other credit card companies?

The majority of complaints against credit card companies are the result of misunderstandings. The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is to carefully read the terms of your cardholder agreement. Make sure that you understand the billing policies and interest rates, in particular.

It is also important to pay close attention to your credit card account, either by periodically checking your account online or by just carefully reviewing the billing statements. If you see any suspicious activity  or if something looks incorrect on your bill, you need to notify your credit card issuer. It is always much easier to resolve an issue when it occurs than it is to go back weeks or even months after the fact.

Why make a complaint about a bank credit card company or other credit card company?

Some people may wonder why to bother with making a complaint against a credit card company to anybody. Complaining to the company itself is usually the best bet from a personal standpoint because it gives you your best chance of getting the actual problem resolved. Complaints to other agencies rarely result in personal satisfaction, but they can have other effects.

When you make a complaint to one of the appropriate state or federal agencies about a credit card company, in some cases, like in the case of the Better Business Bureau, the complaint is visible to anyone who wants to see it. This puts the credit card company in a position where they need to either fix the problem or face bad publicity in the form of people seeing your complaint online. This can be very effective.

The other thing that happens when you make a complaint to an appropriate federal or state agency about a credit card is that they compare it to other complaints about the same company. Enough complaints about the same credit card company will result in an investigation that can lead to fines or other punitive action against the company.

If you do not wish to go through the process of making a formal complaint against a credit card company and you cannot resolve your issue directly with them, another approach that some people take is to use social media. They may describe their issue on a Facebook page or in a “tweet” in the hopes that more people will be warned about negative behavior by the company. You need to be careful if you do this, though, and not post anything that could be considered slanderous.

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or any other credit card company or issuer. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any credit card company or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any credit card company or issuer. Credit Card Chaser may be compensated through various affiliate programs with advertisers. As always, Credit Card Chaser is an independent website commmitted to helping people research credit card offers and find the best credit card!