Top Consumer Complaints and Rip Offs

by Gerri Detweiler

Susan Grant

Susan Grant

Don’t get ripped off! Susan Grant, director of consumer protection with Consumer Federation of America shares the top ten categories of consumer complaints for the year. Guess what's near the top of the list? Credit schemes and scams! It shouldn’t be a surprise that the top 5 fastest-growing complaints were about debt collectors, Do Not Call violations, fraud, mortgage-related problems, and home improvement.

Top Ten Consumer Complaints 2012

1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes

2. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics

3. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job

4. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver

5. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service

6. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform

7. (Tie) Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice, failure to deliver online purchases; Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics

8. Fraud: Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, the grandparent scam and other common frauds

9. Real Estate: Timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, real estate fraud

10. (Tie) Household Goods: Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances; Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, do-not-call violations.

In this interview you’ll learn what more about these types of complaints. Also, most importantly, you’ll learn how and where you can complain if you think you have been a victim. This episode aired live August 4, 2012

Listen Here:



About My Guest


Susan Grant is Director of Consumer Protection at the Consumer Federation of America. She works specifically in the areas of privacy, identity theft, online safety and security, telemarketing, electronic and mobile commerce, deceptive marketing, fraud, and general consumer protection issues.

Ms. Grant heads CFA’s Consumer Protection Institute, conducts CFA’s annual Consumer Complaint Survey, and is a recognized authority on combating consumer fraud and deception.

She began her career in 1976 in the Consumer Protection Division of the Northwestern Massachusetts District Attorney's Office and subsequently held positions at the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators and the National Consumers League before joining the CFA staff in 2008.

You can read the full report on the Consumer Federation of America website.

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