10 Things That Are Driving Consumers Absolutely Nuts
An interesting article from The Business Insider…
The top consumer complaints among Americans last year stay relatively the same, with car, credit and debt complaints topping the list.
An annual report released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI) shows that while the top complaints remained similar year over year, there are several fast-growing complaint categories. The five fastest-growing complaints are about fraud, debt collection abuses, Do Not Call violations, mortgage-related problems, and home improvement.
Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at CFA, said that the most noteworthy new consumer complaint is tied to prepaid card products.
“Scammers are always looking for new ways of getting consumers’ money,” Grant said on a call Tuesday. “Perps can abuse prepaid card products to get money from consumers quickly and in cash.”
Prepaid cards are being used like money orders. Scammers are asking consumers to send them money on a prepaid card either to repay a non-existent debt or to cover the costs of a larger money transfer that never comes.
10. Home Solicitation (tie)
This type of consumer complaint doesn’t only involve door-to-door salespeople, the most obvious thought that comes to mind for home solicitations. It also includes telemarketers, mail solicitations and do-not-call violations.
CFA and NACPI also listed some of the worst consumer complaints received last year and do-not-call violations were some of the worst offenders. One ploy cited in the report (and one we’ve reported on before) involved scammers calling consumers with offers to lower their interest rates for a fee.
“These callers are allegedly ignoring state and federal law by calling consumers who are on the Do Not Call Registry and implying that they have a relationship with the consumers’ credit card issuers when they don’t,” the report said. “Some of the people they call don’t even have credit cards.”
Lowering your interest rate can be done if you increase your credit score. Check out your credit strengths and weaknesses with a Credit Report Card.
9. Real Estate
The only category to crack the top 10 in 2011, but not 2010, real estate consumer complaints were rife with timeshare troubles. Sales tactics like offering large prizes just to sit through a timeshare pitch were mentioned, as well as resale scams. These types of scams involve companies that reach out to current timeshare owners and offer to help them sell their timeshare for a fee. The service is then never rendered.