Yesterday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released part of the database of consumer complaints about banks. Right now this is a limited data set--it only covers credit card complaints, and it only goes back to the beginning of June 2012. But the promise is to extend it to all complaints going back to mid-2011, and update it daily.
Many government agencies collect consumer complaints, but to my knowledge the CFPB is the only one which releases the raw data (personally identifying information has been removed).
As a data hound, to me this is a really big deal. With the raw data, anyone can do their own analysis. Without the raw data, you're limited to what the agency thinks you might want to see. So while it's easy to find certain statistics (i.e. baggage complaints by airline), other numbers are harder or impossible to come by (i.e. baggage complaints by airport).
For example, here are some reports I'd like to run on the bank data:
- LaLaLa I'm Not Listening Report: Which banks don't respond to customer complaints in a timely fashion.
- It Pays to Complain Report: Which banks are most likely to resolve a complaint with a monetary payment.
- Nu-Uh! Uh-Huh! Report: Which banks are most likely to resolve a complaint with an explanation which the customer disputes.
- Oops Report: Which banks are most likely to resolve a billing dispute with a monetary payment.
- I Can't Live Without You Report: Which banks see the highest percentages of complaints about closing an account.
The big question in my mind is, why can't we get this same raw data from other government agencies?