Instructions on How to Complain to Federal Agencies, Banks, and other Institutions and where and how to file complaints against creditors, lenders, and corporations.

1. Complaining to Federal Enforcement Agencies

First, try to resolve the issue with the creditor or merchant directly.

If that fails. Then file a formal complaint with the Federal agency responsible for consumer credit protection laws.

2. Complaining About Banks.

The Federal Reserve provides help and advice to anyone who believes their business received unfair or deceptive treatment from a bank.  

Your complaint does not have to be covered by Federal law, and you do not have to be a customer of the bank to file a complaint. Submit your complaint in writing to:

Division of Consumer and Community Affairs,
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,
Washington, D.C.20551

or a Reserve Bank nearest you

Be sure to describe the bank practice you are complaining about and give the name and address of the bank involved.

The Federal Reserve will either respond within 15 days with an answer or an explanation of why they need more time to handle your complaint. Additional time is usually required when complex issues are involved or when a Federal Reserve Bank investigates complaints. The Federal Reserve makes every attempt to keep you informed about progress regarding your complaint.

The Federal Reserve Board supervises only state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve Board forwards complaints about other institutions to the appropriate Federal regulatory agency and informs you about the process.

3. Complaints about Other Institutions.

There are many regulatory agencies for other financial institutions and businesses other than banks.  Many of these agencies do not handle individual complaints; however, they will use information about your credit experiences to help enforce the credit laws.

4. Penalties under the Laws

If any creditor fails to disclose information required under the Truth in Lending and Consumer Leasing Acts or gives inaccurate information or does not comply with the rules about credit cards or the right to cancel certain home-secured loans, you as an individual may sue.

In addition to actual damages, you can also sue for twice the finance charge in the case of certain credit disclosures, or, if a lease is concerned, 25 percent of total monthly payments.

In either case, if you win, the court can award anywhere from $100 up to $1,000. In any lawsuit that you win, you may be reimbursed for court costs and attorney’s fees.

Class action suits are also permitted. A class-action suit is one filed on behalf of a group of people with similar claims.

5. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

If you think you can prove that a creditor has discriminated against you for any reason prohibited by this Act, you as an individual may sue for actual damages plus punitive damages.

Punitive damages for violating this law range up to $10,000. In a successful lawsuit, the court will award you court costs and a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees.  Class action suits are also permitted.

6. Fair Credit Billing Act.

A creditor who breaks the rules for the correction of billing errors will automatically lose the amount owed on the item in question and any finance charges on it, up to a combined total of $50, even if the bill was correct.

You as an individual may also sue for actual damages plus twice the amount of any finance charges but in any case not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.

You are also entitled to court costs and attorney’s fees in a successful lawsuit. Class action suits are also permitted.

7. air Credit Reporting Act.

You may file a lawsuit against any credit reporting agency or creditor for breaking the rules about who they let see your credit records or for not correcting errors in your file.

You are entitled to actual damages, plus punitive damages that the court may allow if the violation proves to have been intentional. In any successful lawsuit, the court also awards you court costs and attorney’s fees.

A person who obtains a credit report without proper authorization, or an employee of a credit reporting agency who gives a credit report to unauthorized persons, may be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned for one year, or both. Class action suits are also permitted.

8. Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFT).

If a financial institution does not follow the provisions of the EFT Act, you may sue for actual damages (or in certain cases when the institution fails to correct an error or re-credit an account, for three times actual damages) plus punitive damages of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.

If an institution fails to make an electronic fund transfer or to stop payment of a preauthorized transfer when properly instructed by you to do so, you may sue for all damages that result from the failure.

You are also entitled to court costs and attorney’s fees in a successful lawsuit. Class action suits are also permitted.