The Consumer Federation of America recently released its Top Ten Consumer Complaints for 2013 report, and the results revealed issues that remain prevalent from year to year. The study, which gathered responses from consumers from 40 states across the U.S., found many of the top complaints remain the same as last year, which the report noted was not uncommon.
“This is not surprising, since these situations often involve large consumer expenditures and some of the most egregious practices,” the study said.
Here are the top 10 problems consumers faced in 2013:
1. Car industry
The top issue ranked by the survey included reports of misleading advertising, leasing and towing problems, wrongful sales of underperforming vehicles and poor repair jobs.
2. Home repairs
Consumers’ main complaints in regard to home repairs included failure to start or finish jobs as assigned, as well as poor craftsmanship.
3. Credit and debt collectors
Consumers found themselves arguing with credit and debt companies over billing and fees, as well as debt relief and credit repair. The report also noted issues with housing fraud, mortgage adjustments, predatory lending and other aggressive and illegal debt collection practices.
4. False advertising in retail
U.S. customers found reason to complain about false advertising in retail and experienced problems with coupons, gift cards and certificates. Consumers also took issue with shoddily constructed merchandise, product defects and overall deceptive practices.
5. Misrepresentation of services
Consumers were plagued by misrepresentation of work and services, including failure to have appropriate licensing, underperforming and shoddy craftsmanship.
6. Utility disputes
Consumers complained that they often had to challenge utility companies including phone, Internet, electric, gas, cable and satellite providers over billing disputes and service troubles.
7. Landlord/tenant relationships
Tenants and landlords got into plenty of disagreements in 2013 over unsafe living conditions, deposits and rent payments, amenities, failure to deliver on repairs as promised and abusive and illegal eviction practices.
8. Internet sales and unwanted home solicitations
Internet sales issues and home solicitations tied for No. 8 this year. Consumers took issue with deceptive online sales tactics and negligence to deliver items purchased online. Meanwhile, consumers also complained about door to door salespeople, unsolicited telemarketing calls and violations of do not call stipulations.
9. Health services and products
Customers across the country battled against failures to deliver health services and products, as well as misleading promises and health officials practicing without a license.
10. Overarching fraud
Fraud rounded out the list of the most common consumer complaints in the U.S. last year, as consumers found themselves dealing with unmet promises, online schemes, false sweepstakes and lotteries, falsified check deals, work from home schemes, imposters making false promises and other forms of fraud.
The survey also found that companies are struggling to keep pace with evolving markets, including protecting themselves and others from imposters and individuals carrying out fraud. Companies that operate in any of these industries need to regain consumer trust. They can carry this out by only making claims they can adhere to, following through with efficient and effective services and focusing on customer service.
As such, companies need to focus on employing best practices and the latest in technology to best serve their customers. This may come in the form of investing in new information technology, taking on more staff to appropriately handle consumer complaints or purchasing the right business equipment so employees can complete an assigned job in full. Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about small business loans and other financial options to help in their endeavors should contact National Funding today.