Top 10 Consumer Complaints in Colorado
It is that time of year again where the various state and federal consumer protection agencies review their 2016 statistics and report on consumer complaints and trends. The Colorado Attorney General reports the following top ten consumer complaints for 2016:
1. Debt Collection Companies
I am not surprised at all by debt collection companies making the top of the list this year. There are a lot of people that fall behind on their debts, and the debt collection companies are trying to force those people to pay up. Many companies cross the line when they are attempting to collect debts.
2. Utility Complaints (cable, telecom and satellite)
I am not surprised to see utility companies on the list, but I am surprised to see that they beat out unwanted telephone calls and automobile dealers. I suspect that this category includes the type of complaints I used to see about Dish, DirecTV, Comcast, Charter, ATT, CenturyLink, etc. They seem to all have a problem with customer service, clear and conspicuous disclosures and termination issues.
3. Fraudulent or Unwanted Telephone Calls
Unwanted telephone calls are probably underreported to the Colorado Attorney General's Office. I suspect that most people receive unwanted calls, but simply don't feel the need or don't have the time to report the calls. That makes sense since it is exceedingly difficult to track some of these callers down and prosecute them.
4. Automobile Dealers, New and Used
As I mentioned above, I am surprised that this category of complaints got beat out by utility companies. I receive dozens of calls every month from consumers about automobile dealers in Denver, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. Everything from outright fraud to simply buyer's remorse. (And no, there is no three day right to cancel an automobile purchase.)
5. Mortgage Lenders
After the 2008 meltdown and fiscal crisis, many areas of the country were hit hard with foreclosures and defaults. This led to several major settlements with banks to improve the mortgage lending environment for consumers. So, I am surprised to this category make the top ten list. I realize that many people still have difficulties with the lenders, but I did not realize it was this problematic.
6. Schools – Academic College & Universities
In my view, some private colleges and universities, especially those geared towards non-traditional students take advantage of students. Many students do not understand the full extent of how much debt they can accumulate while in college. The ease of obtaining federal student loans facilitates the ability of many schools to recruit students and convince students that they are entitled to a higher education, when in fact the students are used for their ability to bring in tuition money to the school.
7. Fraudulent or Unwanted/Spam Email
This is another surprise to me. I did not expect it to make the list. Probably because I refuse to give any thought or energy to spam emails. I just delete them without thinking.
8. Timeshare Resellers
Timeshare resellers should of course make the list. There is no real market for selling a timeshare. The FTC once reported that only 3% of timeshares are ever resold. Probably most of those are sold to family or friends and not on the open market. Every timeshare reseller I ran across when I was running the consumer protection unit of the Wyoming Attorney General's Office was a scam.
9. Telephone (cell phones and equipment)
Smart phones are such an integral part of our lives these days that it makes sense that this category generates consumer complaints.
10. Publishers – Books & Magazines
In this digital age it is hard to believe, but there are actually young people who go around house to house trying to sell magazine subscriptions. Sometimes they even sell you magazine subscriptions that you do not really want. Worse, they sometimes prey on old people and try to confuse them into signing up for years and years of subscriptions to various unwanted magazines.
These are my comments about the top 10 list this year. Feel free to contact Harmony Law, LLC if you have any questions.