Deputy Attorney General Jim DePriest sits down with THV's Liz Massey to talk about National Consumer Protection Week and the top 10 most common consumer complaints.
Attorney general identifies top consumer complaints
List released during National Consumer Protection Week
In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today the 10 most common complaints fielded by his office's Consumer Protection Division last year.
McDaniel's Consumer Protection Division handled more than 10,000 total complaints from concerned Arkansas consumers in 2010. Atop the list were grievances about automobile transactions, followed by complaints regarding debt collection agencies.
"Our office deals every day with a wide variety of calls and complaints about disputes involving business practices, or sometimes, just out-and-out scams," McDaniel said. "It's important to me that consumers know we are here to help them navigate through any potential pitfalls in their consumer transactions. We will also investigate any improper activity."
The Top 10 most common consumer complaints last year, by category, were:
Debt collection services
Check-cashing and payday-lending services
Cable TV and satellite services
Home and business telephone services
Home improvement, repair and construction
Cellular phone services
Credit and credit repair services
Internet services and Internet auction sites
McDaniel said the majority of automobile dealers are reputable, but automobile-transaction complaints are perennially the most common reported to the Consumer Protection Division. Such complaints often involve "yo-yo" sales practices, where a consumer drives home a car to find out at a later date the actual details of the sale - usually the tactic involves a higher financing cost for the car than the cost originally quoted.
Other automobile complaints involve pressure to buy high-priced add-on services like gap insurance, credit-life and extended warranties; and misrepresentations about the condition of the automobile, such as its salvage history.
Debt collectors often raise the ire of consumers through harassing tactics, attempts to collect old, time-barred debt, or by seeking add-on fees. Sometimes, the debt collectors misidentify the party from whom they are seeking money.
"These types of complaints are the same issues we've seen for years and will continue to see across the country," McDaniel said. "The best way to avoid these common problems is for consumers to be well-informed and know their rights."
To that end, Arkansans may call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (501) 682-2341 or (800) 482-8982; or visit the Attorney General's website, www.arkansasag.gov
National Consumer Protection Week is observed each year in an effort to promote awareness of consumer rights and help consumers make better-informed decisions. For more information about the observance, visit www.ncpw.gov