Cars kept a firm hold on the top spot for most consumer complaints in 2011, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators. Also staying at the top of the list were credit/debit and home repair/construction complaints.
Across the country, 38 agencies provided information about the most common, the fastest-growing and the worst complaints in 2011. Only 37 agencies provided complaint numbers, reporting that they had received a total of 289,732 complaints last year.
The total amount of money 35 agencies reported recovering and saving for consumers last year — including amounts from informally resolving individual complaints and, in many cases, from bringing legal actions — was $146,714,069.
“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.”
10. (Tie) Household Goods
Last year: 7
Complaints: Misrepresentations; failure to deliver; and faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances.
Last year: 10
Complaints: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations; and do-not-call violations.
9. Real Estate
Last year: Not in top 10 in 2010
Complaints: Timeshare sales and resales; retirement communities and assisted living facilities; and real estate fraud. Mortgage issues are reflected in the credit/debit category.
Last year’s rank: 9
Complaints: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries; work-at-home schemes; grant offers; fake check scams; the grandparent scam; and other common frauds.
7. (Tie) Internet Sales
Last year’s rank: 6
Complaints: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice; and failure to deliver online purchases.
Last year’s rank: 8
Complaints: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions; failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities; deposit and rent disputes; and illegal eviction tactics.
Last year’s rank: 5
Complaints: Misrepresentations; shoddy work; failure to have required licenses; and failure to perform.
Last year’s rank: 4
Complaints: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service.
4. Retail Sales
Last year’s rank: 3
Complaints: False advertising and other deceptive practices; defective merchandise; problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates; and failure to deliver
3. Home Improvement/Construction
Last year’s rank: 3
Complaints: Shoddy work; and failure to start or complete the job
Last year’s rank: 2
Complaints: Billing and fee disputes; mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud; credit repair; debt relief services; predatory lending; and illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.
Last year’s rank: 1
Complaints: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars; lemons; faulty repairs; and leasing and towing disputes.