The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s fourth annual Servicemembers report for 2015 showed 19,200 complaints from members of the military community, which is 13% more than what was reported in 2014, according to the report. The total number of complaints in 2015 by all consumers totalled 271,600.
Debt collection, mortgages and credit reporting topped the list as the most complained-about issues.
According to an article in the CFPB Monitor, the most common mortgage complaint related to the inability to make payments, including problems with loan modifications, collections and foreclosures. "In particular, service members complained about loss mitigation options when receiving a permanent change of station order, requiring them to relocate," the article stated.
A total of 46% of military complaints concerned debt collection. The military complaints were double those of the general consumer population where debt collection is concerned.
A deeper look into the issues shows that 44% of the debt collection complaints were from debts that service members believed they did not owe, according to the report. Another 17% of complaints involved the ways debt collectors tried to contact them, including contacting a third party such as a commanding officer. Some of the complaints, about 13%, involved the collection of medical bills that service members believed was covered by VA health insurance.
Lastly, about 2,200 complaints concerned credit reporting. About 72% of credit reporting complaints involved claims of incorrect information on credit reports.
"The mission of the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs is to work on consumer financial challenges affecting military personnel, veterans, and their families. Those who serve, or have served, our country should not have to worry about falling victim to unfair, deceptive, or abusive financial practices," the report's author, Hollister Petraeus, said.