Nation’s Top Ten Consumer Complaints: Credit/Debt Issues Rank High

July 31, 2012

By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager

Cars, credit, and home repair and construction once again topped the list of complaints made to state and local consumer protection agencies, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). Thirty-eight agencies from across the United States provided information about the most common, fastest-growing, and worst complaints they received in 2011.

“The information compiled in the survey helps us as consumer protection agencies follow trends in consumer fraud, educate the public, and share information with each other, which will ultimately assist us in our investigations against fraud,” said Tonya Hetzler, Interim President of NACPI.

 

Top Ten Complaints

  1. 1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes
  2. 2. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics
  3. 3. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job
  4. 4. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver
  5. 5. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service
  6. 6. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform
  7. 7. (Tie) Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice, failure to deliver online purchases; Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics
  8. 8. Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, the grandparent scam and other common frauds
  9. 9. Real Estate: Timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, real estate fraud
  10. 10. (Tie) Household Goods: Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances; Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, do-not-call violations

Other Key Survey Findings

  • The top five fastest-growing complaints were about fraud, debt collection abuses, Do Not Call
  • New types of consumer problems that agencies dealt with last year covered a wide spectrum of subjects, from bedbugs in apartments to penny auctions on the Internet, from gold buying companies to telemarketing and mail solicitations for home repairs disguised as “free” energy audits. Some agencies also noted that scammers are exploiting a new form of payment, prepaid card products, to get cash from consumers.

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