Top 10 Consumer Complaints of 2015

Published Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Last year, 19,088 consumers filed complaints with Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division. To file a complaint or get tips on avoiding problems, visit ncdoj.gov or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.  Here are the top consumer complaints of 2015:

  1. Telemarketing Fraud: We received 5,819 complaints about telemarketing fraud last year. Scammers usually located outside the U.S. try to lure consumers into giving up their money and their personal information. Some of the most popular telemarketing schemes include phony IRS/Treasury calls, threats to shut off your electricity, grandparent and sweetheart scams, lotteries and sweepstakes.
  1. Do Not Call: A total of 3,492 North Carolina consumers filed complaints about unwanted calls from telemarketers last year. The majority of complaints came from consumers who had listed their telephone number on the Do Not Call Registry but still got unwanted calls. Many of the complaints are about illegal robocalls, which begin with a recorded message that asks consumers to press a number to speak with a representative. Common robocalls include pitches for medical alert systems, home alarm systems and lower credit card interest rates.
  1. Lending: 2,526 people complained to us about lenders last year, including problems with high interest rates, charges for late or missed payments, adjustable rate mortgages, and loan fees. Many consumers need help dealing with foreclosure, or have fallen for a foreclosure assistance or loan modification scam. Expensive online loans are also a problem for many consumers, and Cooper has used complaints from consumers to win an order to stop online fast cash lender Western Sky/CashCall from making or collecting on loans in North Carolina.
  1. Motor Vehicles: 1,640 consumers who had problems with car repair and purchases filed complaints with our office in 2015. People complain about mechanical problems with used cars, failure to honor auto warranties, and unfair car loans. For example, in 2015 Cooper joined the US Department of Justice to win refunds and reforms from two Charlotte used car dealerships that targeted consumers with overpriced vehicles and predatory car loans based on race. Consumers also complain about car repairs, especially pricing, improper diagnosis, unauthorized repairs, and slow repair jobs.
  1. Home Repair: We received 1,179 complaints about home construction and repair work.  Consumers complain about shoddy work as well as contractors who miss deadlines or go over budget. We also hear from consumers about home repair scammers who go door-to-door promising to fix your roof or pave your driveway for an upfront fee, then take off without doing the job. Cooper’s office uses complaints from consumers to crack down on home repair scams, getting money back for victims when possible such as more than $700,000 in refunds and penalties ordered paid by two companies in 2015.
  1. Credit: 1,136 North Carolinians filed complaints about credit repair scams, incorrect credit reports, debt collectors and identity theft. Under North Carolina law, it’s illegal to charge an upfront fee for credit repair or debt settlement help. Consumers also complain about threatening calls from debt collectors as well as calls about debts that aren’t really theirs.  Identity thieves continue to steal personal financial information and use it to run up debts and commit fraud in someone else’s name.
  1. Health Care: In 2015, a total of 888 people filed complaints about health care. Common complaints include problems with charges for weight loss products, hearing aids, and other medical equipment. Consumers also have problems with medical billing or collection practices and overcharges for medical services.
  1. Internet/Computers: 883 consumers complained about Internet service providers, unsolicited e-mails, computers, computer software, and Internet auctions as well as merchandise they ordered online that was never delivered.
  1. Furniture: We fielded 608 complaints from consumers about home furnishings last year. Consumers often contact us when an item they’ve paid for never arrives, or when their piece of furniture arrives damaged or defective.
  1. Telecommunications: Our Consumer Protection Division handled 519 complaints from consumers about cell phones and telephones. Consumers complained about cell phone service contracts and service and extra fees added to cell phone bills for unauthorized services, like apps and ringtones.

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