The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) recently released their “top ten” list of consumer complaints. They surveyed 38 consumer agencies and asked them about the kinds of complaints they received in 2011. These agencies received approximately 290.000 complaints, and recovered or saved consumers nearly $147 million.
The top three complaint categories were auto, credit and debt, and home improvement. The fastest growing complaints were fraud, debt collection abuses, do-not-call violations, mortgage-related problems, and home improvement problems.
Top ten complaints
1. Auto – The main complaints in this category included being sold lemons, leasing and towing disputes, and shown false advertising. Some were duped by online sellers and never took receipt of the car.
2. Credit/debt – The complaints included credit card billing and fees, mortgage-related fraud, predatory lending, and abusive debt collection tactics. This is the third year consumers have complained about this category. Some of the complaints even included threats about imprisonment.
3. Home improvement/construction – The complaints were that home improvement and construction companies wouldn’t even finish jobs they started; and when they did finish, the work was bad.
4. Retail Sales – Consumers complained about false advertising and stores that sell defective merchandise. According to the Consumer Federation of America, one of the biggest problems people complained about was businesses refusing to take promotional gift certificates, or that the terms were unclear.
5. Utilities – Consumers complained about billing disputes and service problems with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas services. Some were charged for services they didn’t request.
6. Services – Complaints involved services not provided, the company did a bad job, or the company didn’t have the necessary licenses to do the job.
7. Internet Sales and Landlord/Tenant – These two categories tied for seventh place. Internet complaints were that online retailers didn’t deliver the merchandise, and they misrepresented the merchandise.
Landlord and tenant disputes included unhealthy and unsafe conditions, landlords not making repairs, using illegal eviction tactics, failure to return security deposits, and bedbugs.
8. Fraud – Many scams were listed such as fake checks, fake sweepstakes and lotteries, and grant offers.
9. Real Estate – This is new to the list. The complaints included real estate fraud, retirement and assisted living facilities, and timeshare sales.
10. Household Goods and Home Solicitations – These two categories tied for tenth place. Household goods complaints were about faulty furniture or appliance repairs and sellers’ failure to deliver. Home solicitation complaints were that telemarketers and mail solicitations misrepresented or failed to deliver services. Consumers also complained about violations of do-not-call rules.
Consumer complaints; a great way to get heard.