Top 10 biggest consumer complaints

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) — From homeowner feuds to shoddy repair work, 11 News takes a look at some of the biggest consumer complaints of the past year.

The list is compiled by the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that studies consumer issues.

11 News reporter Katie Pelton spoke with the organization’s director of consumer protection, Erin Witte, to discuss the nature of these complaints and how consumers can protect themselves.

KATIE PELTON: FIRST, EXPLAIN WHAT THE CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA DOES.

Erin Witte: “We are a non-profit consumer advocacy organization, we promote the interests of consumers through research, information and advocacy. “

LET’S DIVE INTO THE TOP CONSUMER COMPLAINTS – WHICH COMPLETE THE TOP TEN?

“So for the sixth year in a row, the number one complaint was about auto sales and repairs, the second was about complaints from landlords and renters, and the third was about repairs and home improvement contractors.”

I HAVE HEARD A LOT OF CONSUMERS WHO HAVE COMPLAINTS ABOUT CONTRACTORS — WHAT WAS MOST COMMON AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OWNERS LOOKING FOR WORK?

“One of the most common complaints we saw was consumers who put a large deposit or sometimes full payment for a certain contracted repair on their home up front and then the contractor didn’t show up. Sometimes they do shoddy work and consumers have a really hard time getting that money back from the contractor. »

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CONSUMERS?

“I think there are two things that can really help consumers in this space. One is consumer education: to really do your part and your homework, research the person you’re hiring or the company you’re hiring. If you are in an area where the state or locality requires a home improvement contractor or general contractor to have a license, definitely look for that license. See if you can find out if any complaints have been filed against this person or business.

“Not all states or localities require a license. So in this case, you can do some things on your own, like making sure the contractor actually has a business location, instead of a PO box, that’s a red flag.

“You can try to contact references, people the contractor has worked with before, and you can also whether or not they’re licensed, or don’t have to be licensed. ‘a license, you can carefully review the contract.

“A big red flag is when a contractor includes blank spaces, which are unclear, which you may not understand, feel free to really push the contractor away, don’t sign an empty contract, ask questions and make sure you really understand what you are signing up for.

KATIE: THAT’S GREAT ADVICE. HERE IN COLORADO, WE MUST HAVE A CONTRACT BEFORE WORK STARTS. WE ALSO HEAR A LOT OF OWNER-TENANT COMPLAINTS. YOU’VE HEARD MORE – WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS?

“Complaints from landlord-tenants have definitely increased from 2020 to 2021, and we highlight in the highlights that in 2021 the federal moratorium on evictions ended and each state and locality was then tasked with determining whether it whether or not it was going to extend the protection of tenants. Thus, more consumers may have been forced to rent; there have been a lot of rent increases. As to why these complaints increased, I think more people were renting due to rising house prices.

HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY BIG CHANGES DURING THE PANDEMIC? ARE THERE ANY COMPLAINTS THAT HAVE INCREASED?

“So we noticed that the type of complaint really started to change, in 2020 the biggest complaint we saw was about price hikes for things directly related to COVID, like sanitizers, masks, things like that. In 2021, I think COVID-related complaints kind of turned into something that populated in 2021, like fraudulent vaccine cards, fraudulent testing sites, and things like that.

If you want more information about these complaints, Click here.

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