Consumer protection for UX

2016-07-09 2 min read

    I haven’t seen much written about how consumer protection relates to a product’s user experience but it’s a topic that’s worth exploring. I was reminded of this when my mortgage loan was sold to a new servicer. I came home to find a letter in the mail notifying me that my loan has been sold and that going forward I’d have to use a different payment portal and system. It was simple enough to register but the payment process became less efficient and there was no support for a Mint integration.

    This is clearly a first world problem and there are a lot of benefits that come with being able to buy and sell loans. It’s the foundation of our financial system and allows companies to specialize across the entire loan business - some are designed for loan origination while others focus on servicing. This also encourages companies to improve their loan valuation models since if they’re able to identify an arbitrage opportunity they can trade on it and profit.

    At the same time it’s frustrating that as a consumer I have no say in what happens and it’s a commitment made on my behalf for multiple decades. I don’t know what the right answer is here. User experience is highly subjective and what works for me may not work for someone else and products should hopefully improve over time yet I think there is something here. As an engineer the simple answer would be to force every consumer facing company to expose all functionality and data via an open API which would allow any experience to be crafted around it but I can’t imagine that actually happening. And maybe none of this will actually matter since AI will get to the point where we won’t need to interact with any of these services directly.