The 2009 Consumer Complaint Survey Report is out, and it says that among the 18 states that participated in the survey, complaints about auto dealers topped the list for the second year in a row. However, the fastest-growing category of complaints were about fake foreclosure relief offers.
The study, which is put together by three consumer advocacy groups (see below), says that more than half of the agencies that responded said that complaints have gone up since 2008, to about 300,000. At the same time, they’re having to deal with the increased complaints with fewer resources: 71% of those agencies said they experienced budget cuts last year.
From the report:
Top Ten Complaints in 2009
Following are the top complaint categories that most frequently appeared in the agencies’ top ten lists. Their ranking in the top ten in 2008 is noted in parenthesis.
1. Auto: (1) Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars; lemons; faulty repairs; leasing and towing disputes
2. Credit/Debt: (3) Billing and fee disputes; mortgage-related fraud; credit repair; debt relief services; predatory lending; illegal or abusive debt collection tactics
3. Home Improvement/Construction: (2) Shoddy work; failure to start or complete the job
4. Utilities: (4) Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas services
5. Retail Sales: (5) False advertising and other deceptive practices; defective merchandise; problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates; failure to deliver
6. Services: (6) Misrepresentations; shoddy work; failure to have required licenses; failure to perform
7. Internet Sales: (9) Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice; failure to deliver online purchases
8. Household Goods: (7) misrepresentations; failure to deliver; faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances
9. (tie) Landlord/Tenant: (8) Unhealthy or unsafe conditions; failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities; deposit and rent disputes; illegal eviction tactics; Home Solicitations: (9) Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations; do-not-call violations
10. Health Products/Services: (10) misleading claims; unlicensed practitioners; failure to deliver
If you have time, download the report for real world examples of the complaints, along with advice on what you should do if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Here are the groups responsible for the report: