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. They were also asked about new types of consumer problems, what their biggest achievements and challenges were last year, and what new laws are needed to better protect consumers.
“State and local agencies are essential components of the consumer protection system in the United States,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at CFA. “Their services save consumers and businesses money, relieve the burden on courts, foster confidence in government, keep the public safe, and help ensure fairness in the marketplace.”
Top Ten Complaints
1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes
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. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job
4. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver
5. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service
6. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform
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. Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, the grandparent scam and other common frauds
9. Real Estate: Timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, real estate fraud
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
The full report can be found on the CFA’s website.