Data Set President Obama with CFPB Director Richard Cordray and former CFPB advisor Elizabeth Warren

Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Travis Korte


Tracking Complaints Against Debt Collectors

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its first dataset on complaints against debt collectors this week. The data, which was made publicly available on the Bureau’s Consumer Complaint Database, contains the 5,329 complaints that have been collected since collection began on July 10, 2013.

Although this is only the first in what will be an ongoing series of releases, some insights have already arisen. The most common complaint, which accounts for 40% of all submissions, is “Continued attempts to collect debt not owed.” The second most common, accounting for nearly 20%, is “Communication tactics.”¬†Although the complaints specify 663 separate companies, only 21 companies have had 50 or more complaints filed against them.¬†The data covers type of loan, complaint issue, sub-issue, zip code, company and company response, among other variables.

Get the data.

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About the Author

Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.

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