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Credit, debt among top complaints

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, August 23, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Complaints about credit and debt-related financial products once again made the list of the most common consumer complaints in the U.S. last year.

The Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit association of nearly 300 consumer groups, and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators, an association of civil and criminal government consumer protection investigators, teamed up to produce the report based on their annual survey of state and local consumer protection agencies.

Forty agencies from 20 states responded to questions about the most common, fastest-growing and worst complaints they received in 2012.

Complaints in the credit and debt category involved billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt-relief services, predatory lending, and illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.

Also on the top 10 list were:

  • Misrepresentations and disputes involving auto sales, leasing, repairs and towing services.
  • Shoddy work and failure to start or finish home improvement or construction work.
  • Service problems or billing disputes involving phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and natural-gas companies.
  • False advertising and defective merchandise at retail stores, and problems involving rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates.
  • Misrepresentations, shoddy work, missing licenses and failure to perform at other service companies.
  • Misrepresentations or failure to deliver products or services in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, and do-not-call violations.
  • Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, and illegal eviction tactics in rental housing.
  • Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices involving online purchases.
  • Misrepresentations, failure to deliver and faulty repairs in connection with furniture or home appliances.

In a statement, Susan Grant, CFA, director of consumer protection, said foreclosure rescue scams, dirty debt collection tactics, sudden store closings, and landlords skimping on heat and repairs were just some of the issues that consumers had to deal with.

Whatever the offer, consumers need to be careful out there.

What is your biggest complaint as a consumer?

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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