The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is out with the top consumer complaints filed with that agency last year. Topping the list is....you guessed it...telemarketing.
Michelle Reinen is Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection....
"...we heard from over 4,000 consumers who filed complaints who received unwanted, unsolicited phone calls. That's an increase of over 12 percent from last year. We also know that the categories within telemarketing were about extended auto service contracts when a consumers warranty wasn't even due to expire....."
Landlord complaints were second overall, with telecommunications complaints, like TV and internet problems coming in third. She says the imposter phone calls were also a top complaint with scammers saying they were from the IRS, utilities and and using other tactics like fake tech support to try to free you from your money....
"....but then identity theft was in at #4. In that category, normally it's a lot of tax identity theft which certainly was still a third of the complaints, but consumers complained about those data breeches and what was happening as a result of the Equifax breach from 2017....."
Home improvement scams, fuel quality complaints, gas pumps, motor vehicle sales round out the list. She says new to the list this year was medical services. Consumers there filed complaints about unauthorized charges on a medical bill or a misunderstanding about charges.
Reinen says the consumer and the business are contacted by the state and at times referred to another state agency. She says they will look at every complaint to see if state laws apply. She says they're also tracking trends among the complaints. She says if they see enough complaints in a given area, they will initiate investigations.