Auto sales, mortgage-related fraud top list of 2011 consumer complaints

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Internet sales, auto, utilities and real estate were some of 2011’s top consumer complaints in the U.S., according to a new survey released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). The list is based on information gathered from 38 state, county, and city agencies in 22 states, including the New York State Department of State Division of Consumer Protection, and consisted of 289,732 complaints.

Again, auto and credit/debt were the top two complaints, but real estate complaints, such as problems with timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities and real estate fraud were new to the list. Mortgage-related problems, home improvement, bed bugs, mold and other landlord/tenant problems were on both the top five worst and five top fastest-growing complaints of 2011.


Top 10 U.S. consumer complaints

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