Ticked off at your credit card? Tell Uncle Sam

Assorted credit cards

Got a beef with your credit card? The new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is open for business and wants to hear your credit card-related gripes, complaints and tales of woe.

It’s not hard to nark on your card, either. The bureau’s website offers a surprisingly easy-to-navigate option to file your complaints (www.consumerfinance.gov).

To file a complaint, you have to provide your name and contact information, and the amount of money you lost, if applicable.

You'll have to describe the problem using a combination of your own words and pull-down menus that help you pinpoint issues such as late fees, billing disputes and interest rates. You'll also need to explain what -- if anything -- you’ve done to resolve the issue prior to filing the claim.

You can also detail what you’d like to see happen -- have the late fee waived or your interest rate lowered, for example.

The bureau says your complaint will be forwarded to the credit card company.

However, I wondered how the credit card company would know I’m the one complaining without providing my credit card number.

An online chat with a cyber-customer service representative (who didn’t give a name, only a representative number) uncovered that consumers don’t have to divulge their credit card number. But if you don’t, there’s actually very little investigative legwork that can be done on your behalf.

In fact, if you don’t give your card number, you’ll probably receive a letter in the mail explaining that the complaint can’t be processed without that information.

The site is secure, so there’s no need to worry cyber thieves can make off with your personal information or credit card account number.

Once you’ve provided the details of your complaint, you’re given a tracking number so you can log on and track the progress of the complaint.

One last word: You might be able to solve minor disputes on your own faster, so before filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, give your credit card issuer one more chance to resolve the issue.

Call customer service and calmly ask to speak to a manager to outline your case and state your expected resolution.

And while you’re on the phone, make sure to mention that if the issue is not resolved, you won’t hesitate reporting the card issuer to the CFPB.

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