Last month, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) released its annual Top Ten List of Consumer Complaints. In some ways, the list lived up to expectations. The top three complaints from last year, debt collections, auto sales and home repair/construction, remained at the top again this year. However, in a reflection of the current economic crisis, credit cards and predatory lending/mortgages made it into the top ten this year. Debt collection held the number one slot. PissedConsumer
The list is based on an annual survey conducted by NAGG of Attorneys General. Surveys are completed by the offices of the Attorney General and tallied by the NAAG Consumer Protection Project.
The National Top Ten Consumer Complaints for 2008 are:
1. Debt Collection
2. Auto Sales
3. Home Repair/Construction
4. Credit Cards (tie)
5. Internet Goods and Services (tie)
6. Predatory Lending/Mortgages
8. Auto Repair
9. Auto Warranties (tie)
10. Telecom/Slamming/Cramming (tie)
It is the responsibility of the State Attorneys General to lead enforcement for their state’s consumer protection laws, making them a leader in the consumer protection force in the nation. Every state in the US has consumer protection statues prohibiting deceptive practices and acts, even if those acts occur on-line. The Attorneys General may take action against individuals or businesses who commit fraud, including areas like debt collection, telemarketing, auto sales, and misleading advertising.
According to Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, “Attorneys general throughout our nation vigorously enforce the laws designed to protect consumers. When consumers have been deceived or treated unfairly by a business, they should contact the attorney general’s office in their state. By filing a complaint with our offices, our staff can work with both consumers and businesses to try to rectify the problem.”
If you believe you have been the victim of a fraud or scam, you should plan to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office in your state (click here for a list of offices in your state.) Consumers who report unauthorized charges on their credit cards, fraudulent debt reduction services or other financial schemes may not see an immediate resolution to their individual complaint, but may help the Attorney General build a case against scam artists or long running bad practices by businesses. For advice on how to recoup your lost money, you might consider consulting with a consumer law attorney.
Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said, “With the recession and increased foreclosure rates, consumers need to be on high alert. Too many people are being swindled out of their hard-earned money by scam artists.” Attorney General Bennett co-chairs the NAAG Consumer Protection Committee with Attorney General Bullock.