These are America’s biggest consumer complaintsAugust 1, 2020
From car problems to credit card debt, American consumer complaints range far and wide.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) conducts an annual survey of the biggest and most recurring complaints from cities, counties, and state consumer agencies across the U.S. from the previous year.
In all, 31 agencies from 20 states responded with consumers’ biggest annoyances, registering 193,810 complaints in 2019. And 30 agencies managed to recover or save about $300 million for consumers in 2019.
“Many complaints can be resolved through mediation, and some consumer agencies can also take formal legal action when that is warranted,” Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America, said in statement. “The public education that state and local consumer agencies provide is crucial for preventing fraud and abuse.”
Despite the report only covering 2019, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ Lorelai Salas noted that there has been a massive increase in calls in the last six months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It places the burden on us to be very proactive… to be out there on the street to give this information in person,” Salas said.
The top complaints were in auto sales and repairs, home improvement and construction work, and retail.
Since these items “involve significant financial losses and great inconvenience, consumers are more likely to seek help with them than for more minor issues,” the report noted.
#1 complaint: Auto-related problems
These complaints address “[m]isrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, deceptive financing practices, defective vehicles, faulty repairs, car leasing and rentals, towing disputes,” the report stated.
For instance, in Maryland, a consumer buying a used car was told by the car dealer that the vehicle was accident-free.
But after the sale, the buyer started to have problems with the vehicle and “brought it back several times for repairs, which failed to resolve them.” He eventually learned through another dealership that the vehicle had been in a big accident and the damage wasn’t properly repaired.
The seller initially was unwilling to do anything, but after the Maryland Attorney General’s office got involved, the dealer agreed to buy back the vehicle at the original price.
#2 complaint: Home improvement and construction issues
Complaints in this category generally refer to “[s]hoddy work, failure to start or complete the job, failure to have required licensing or registration,” the report stated.
This category is an especially big one, since the financial loss incurred…